She says her time on the popular culinary competition series taught her to believe in herself and to be fearless, which led to several successful ventures in catering and private chef jobs, food judging, as well as becoming an executive chef at a popular restaurant in downtown Calgary. These days, April Lee shares her culinary expertise by way of teaching cooking classes to home cooks.
With plenty of Albertans rooting for the talented chef to beat out the rest of the competition on MasterChef Canada: Back To Win, we thought it would be timely to ask April Lee to share her top spots for food and drink in her homebase of Calgary. From morning pastries to stiff cocktails in the Beltline neighbourhood, here are the MasterChef Canada alum's favourite haunts.
Patisserie du Soleil Café and Bakery is a 10 minute drive from my house, and a quick walk away from a friend's house. We love to meet up for breakfast and coffee talk.
I usually get the mushroom and Brie omelette, but a close second would be the duck confit benny. I love the French pastries, you can tell they are made from scratch...mmm, butter.
Like many restaurants, they've had to adapt during the pandemic. They had a marvellous selection of take-and-bake items for the holidays; I picked up a classic French Canadian tourtiere.
Kinjo Sushi & Grill- Millrise has been an institution in our family for years. Although we've never been to Japan I feel you get a real, authentic experience here. They have a market filled with your favourite Japanese snacks and drinks. I've taken my two sons here over the years for mom-and-son dates.
Kinjo has only gotten better over the years. They offer a great inexpensive lunch menu with ramen and dumplings. The black ramen is definitely a favourite. I also lunch here often with friends as it's a short walk from my house. It's lively, has amazing service, [and there's always] fun tunes playing.
The Lakehouse has a beautiful view of Lake Bonavista and a feeling of being in a rustic, yet elegant lodge. [Those two things make this place] perfect for a romantic date night. My husband and I were able to enjoy outside dining for our anniversary this past year.
I always start with one of the charcuterie boards or the fish plank. I'm a huge fan of the sous vide bison striploin, there is never a drop of the red wine jus left on my plate.
I usually don't have room for dessert, but I'm [always suckered into] the sticky toffee pudding, even if I have to take half of it home.
I love love love the Oaxaca Old Fashioned at Milk Tiger Lounge. It reminds me of sitting at a bar in Coyoacan, Mexico City right here in downtown Calgary. This is a great late-night lounge, and really any cocktail you choose you'd be happy with.
MasterChef Canada: Back To Win airs on Sunday nights at 9 p.m. ET on CTV.