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This Guelph chef needs your help winning the big prize

The winner of Favourite Chef gets to be on the cover of Taste of Home, $25,000 and an exclusive cooking experience with celebrity chef Carla Hill

Guelph born and raised chef Adam Calzonetti is in the running to be the next Favourite Chef

The annual online competition is presented by celebrity chef Carla Hall and gives chefs and home cooks from all over the chance to win the title and a prize package valued at $122,000 through online voting. 

The grand prize winner will receive $25,000 and grace the cover of Taste of Home magazine. They will also get an exclusive cooking experience with Hall herself, and tickets to the James Beard Foundation Gala on Nov. 8. 

Second place, chosen by Hall herself, will receive a foodie trip to New York City valued at $7,500. 

Calzonetti is currently in second place of the top 15 of his group. 

“This is huge,” he said. “I’m pretty excited.” 

By Thursday, votes will determine who makes it to the top 10 semi-finals, and later the top five finalists in each group. After that, group finals begin, with a wildcard round, quarterfinals, semifinals and finals. The winner will be announced the first week of August. 

Votes can be cast daily for free. Donations can also be made to increase the number of votes you can cast, with funds raised going to the James Beard Foundation. 

The winner last year, Karen Jenkins, told him he has “no idea how much this is going to change (his) life.” 

“For the first six months after competition, you are doing appearances at events, you're doing radio shows, you're doing morning TV shows.”

That prospect is thrilling for Calzonetti, who thrives in the spotlight and loves being in front of people and talking about food. 

“I eat, sleep, breathe food, and I always have. There's nothing else that I want to do in my life.”


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Calzonetti has been cooking since he was 10, encouraged by his aunt to take it up as a profession. 

He went to chef school at George Brown in Toronto, after which he spent eight years in the Caribbean, opening and working in restaurants, where he was voted best chef three years in a row. 

He spent some time working in England for Gordon Ramsay before eventually landing back in Guelph working as a corporate chef. Over the years, he’s made appearances on shows like Chopped Canada and the Food Network. 

Though he lives in Guelph, he’s currently working as a corporate chef for a private island in the Caribbean and is designing menus for a company that owns 170 franchises. 

If he wins, he plans to use the money to take his kids to Italy and purchase equipment to start his own line of fresh pasta, which he would sell online. 

He had a trip planned to Italy with his kids for a family reunion, but it was cancelled when the pandemic happened. It would also give him a chance to learn from the “guru’s” of fresh pasta, he said, while sharing the experience with his kids. 

“Not everyone can be a chef. Either you have it in you or you don’t. I truly believe my destiny is to be a chef, to share my passion, to share my knowledge, my creativity with the rest of the world,” he said of why he should be the next Favourite Chef. 

“I think that winning this will just really help express further what I have to offer to the general public and the world about what I'm all about in the kitchen,” he said.

“I couldn’t do this without support from the local community,” he said. “(I’m) just excited to see what happens.” 

You can learn more about Calzonetti and vote here


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Taylor Pace

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