Take Five with…Cody Karey: Five Things I’ve Learned in the Kitchen

Fans of MasterChef Canada (Sundays, CTV) know that things heat up with each new challenge. Singer Cody Karey knows this all too well. After making the top 10, the Vancouver-based performer and David Foster protégé – who was previously named one of Canada’s Most Beautiful by Hello! – was sent home in a double elimination.

Now, Cody, 23, tells us that he’s leaving neither his sophomore album nor his culinary career on the back burner. “I’m as passionate as ever about food, cooking and the culinary world,” he tells Hello! Canada. “The future is bright and exciting.” Here, he shares a few of the lessons he learned from his time on the small screen.

I was in Los Angeles with a friend of mine, Jaymes Foster, who also worked on my first record. We wanted to get together for dinner but she couldn’t find a babysitter for her young son. I offered to buy some groceries and cook for her. She’s a vegetarian, a super-picky eater and a big fan of cooking shows like MasterChef. I made her one of my favourite dishes, mushroom risotto. When I cooked for her she was adamant that I look into MasterChef Canada. It was only a few weeks later that they were holding auditions, so I took a leap of faith and went for it.

My dad’s spaghetti sauce always had green peppers in it and I hated green peppers as a child, so one day I just decided I was going to make my own. It wasn’t particularly good but that was the first time that I cooked anything, so I guess I learned what I didn’t like from my dad. I have a really big family, so at any point in time there’d potentially be eight to 10 people in the house. I wasn’t necessarily making the most beautiful, refined food for them, but I was soon relied upon as the ‘Grillmaster’ and the one who made the best mashed potatoes.

I grew up in a really remote community and I didn’t really have access to a lot of great food, or know what great food really was. When I met my mentor, David Foster, I started traveling a lot to work on my music and was blessed with the opportunity to try a lot of wonderful food. Once, I was in L.A. performing at a gala event for David and he invited us for dinner. I had no idea where we were going but when we got into the restaurant and sat down, there was Wolfgang Puck. It was a pretty surreal moment for me! Being able to eat in his restaurant was really a formative experience. I realized that feeding his friends was like a performance, and that food and music are not so different. I’ve also been able to see that through my experience on MasterChef Canada. It’s helped me channel my creativity with food rather than songs. In both cases, you just have to let your inspiration guide you.

My inspiration for both food and music come from the same place, and that’s a love of romance. Knowing your way around the kitchen definitely makes you more eligible in the dating world. Plus, being a singer and a great cook is a winning combination. If I want to impress someone I’d make something that I was going to light on fire, I’d flambé something for sure. I also like to listen to jazz music or modern singer-songwriters like Ed Sheeran.

I have a real tendency to try and make crazy things work together. That has worked to my advantage at times, but it also just about cost me my spot in the MasterChef Canada kitchen. Keeping it simple is always a good idea. I think it just comes down to finding one glorious combination of ingredients, or letting one single ingredient shine on a plate.

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