If there's a lesson to be learned from the first episode of CTV’s MASTERCHEF CANADA: BACK TO WIN, it's this: Don't get “sandwiched” between ambition and expectation!

If there’s a lesson to be learned from the first episode of CTV’s MASTERCHEF CANADA: BACK TO WIN, it’s this:

Don’t get “sandwiched” between ambition and expectation!

With a dozen competitors invited back for a second shot at glory, judges Claudio Aprile, Michael Bonacini, and Alvin Leung forced the participants to confront the failed dishes that haunt them from their previous appearances on the show. The challenge was to take the same basic ingredients, and make something better this time!

SPOILER ALERT: Details about who was eliminated are about to be discussed.

The “bottom three” were identified as April Lee Baker, a private chef and caterer from Calgary, who finished fifth in Season 3; Dora Cote, a former restaurateur/plumber from Wainwright, Alta., who finished 11th in Season 1; and Marissa Leon-John, a private chef from Montréal, who finished seventh in Season 5. Ultimately, Dora was sent packing, after her beef cheek Po’Boy sandwich, with blueberry barbecue sauce, and sour slaw, left the judges stale.

With another new episode of MASTERCHEF CANADA: BACK TO WIN coming up on Sunday, Feb. 21, at 9 p.m. ET on CTV, here’s what Dora had to say about her experience:

What was the driving force that brought you back to this show? Did you want to prove something to yourself, or prove something to others?

DORA: “The driving force to come back was the opportunity to showcase how far I’ve come, and how much I’ve learned, in the seven years since my debut on MASTERCHEF CANADA. Also, the possibility that I had a shot at getting away from slinging wrenches – I had to return to the plumbing trade over a year ago, and man, do I miss the kitchen!”

Was it traumatic to open up the mystery box and see something familiar staring back at you? Or as they put it, “The Dish That Haunts You?” Were you actually haunted by it?

DORA: “For the most part, I think I blocked out beef cheeks. As soon as I lifted the mystery box and saw that stew, the first thing I thought was, whoever made this plate did a really good job, because my plate from Season 1 did not look as good as that! Then I was terrified, because I have not given beef cheeks a thought since 2014 – now, beef cheeks will definitely haunt me.”

What could you have done differently to take advantage of your second chance? You say on the show that you made “the wrong decisions.” What different choices could you have made?

DORA: “Hindsight is always 20/20! In my panic to figure out what to do, I lost precious time. With beef cheeks, you’re instantly looking at a minimum of 45 minutes in the pressure cooker – quite a daunting fact, when you only have an hour to cook. So I decided to do a take on a Po’Boy sandwich. I was so sure that my flavours would pull me through, even though what I made was a ‘mere’ sandwich. If I had to do it over, I would have made a quick bread, like a focaccia, to sell that sandwich. Or, not make a sandwich at all, and give more thought to beef cheeks once I got the call to come back.”

If someone you know wants to try out for MASTERCHEF CANADA in the future, what is the No. 1 piece of advice you would give them?

DORA: “The best advice I could give is to believe in yourself and to not let yourself get in your own way. We truly can be our own worst enemies. Also, practice, practice, practice. And definitely do not make a sandwich on MASTERCHEF CANADA!”

By BILL HARRIS ~ Special to The Lede / Bell Media