Nova Scotia native cooks against the country’s best in Top Chef Canada

Geordon Omand for Metro Halifax
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MOUNT UNIACKE - A career in cooking has taken chef and travel enthusiast Lauren Marshall clear across the globe, from New England to the Rocky Mountains, Belize to Australia.

Twenty-seven-year-old Mount Uniacke native Lauren Marshall is one of 14 chefs set to compete against one another in Top Chef Canada.

But most recently, it has brought her right to the apex of Canadian cooking and into culinary combat with some of the country’s top kitchen masters.

The 27-year-old woman — originally from Mount Uniacke — is one of 14 chefs set to compete against one another in Top Chef Canada, a reality cooking show that kicks off its fourth season Monday on Food Network Canada.

“It’s going to definitely be one of the most exciting seasons that has aired yet,” said Marshall.

“There’s lots of fire and heat and yelling and stress and excitement and not a dull moment.”

A “huge fan” of the show herself, Marshall — who worked for two years as head chef at the gourmet pizzeria Morris East in Halifax — applied to Top Chef Canada last June.

“I threw a video together not thinking much,” she said.

“As much as I love keeping hidden in the kitchen I also love putting myself out there.”

The East Coaster — who had never been involved in a culinary competition before — was accepted and headed to Toronto soon afterwards for filming.

“It was a wild experience but it was also really eye-opening. … I gained so much confidence in myself,” she added.

“It’s priceless.”

Marshall first started cooking when she was 17 and attended the Canadian Culinary Institute on Prince Edward Island.

She credits her grandfather, a travel-friendly chief cook with the Canadian Navy, with inspiring her career path.

Besides working as chef de cuisine at EnVie, a vegan restaurant in Halifax’s north end, Marshall teaches cooking classes at Superstores across the city and is completing her training to become a registered holistic nutritional consultant.

As for how Marshall fared in the competition: “No comment,” she said, laughing.

The winner of the competition takes home $100,000, as well as a new kitchen valued at $30,000, $25,000 for its custom installation and the prestigious title of Canada’s Top Chef.

Top Chef Canada season four premieres Monday, March 10, at 10 p.m. AT on Food Network Canada.

Organizations: Canadian Culinary Institute on Prince Edward Island, Canadian Navy

Geographic location: Nova Scotia, Halifax, Mount Uniacke Toronto

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