Thea VanHerwaarden, who hails from the Comox Valley, returns to MasterChef Canada, which kicks off another season Feb. 14. Photo supplied

Thea VanHerwaarden, who hails from the Comox Valley, returns to MasterChef Canada, which kicks off another season Feb. 14. Photo supplied

Vancouver Island cook returns to MasterChef Canada

Comox Valley’s Thea VanHerwaarden out for the title that just eluded her in 2017

Thea VanHerwaarden of the Comox Valley is among 12 returning cooks vying for the title of MasterChef Canada, which kicks off another season on Valentine’s Day.

The seventh season of the reality television series offers a second chance to win $100,000.

“It’s super exciting,” said VanHerwaarden, now a Vancouver resident, who finished in the runner-up position in MasterChef 2017. “I’m really eager to win this time.”

READ: Comox cook into MasterChef Canada semifinals

READ: MasterChef runner-up an award-winning broker

Since 2017, the ‘Queen of Flavour’ has appeared on Canadian and American television shows, and launched a personal brand called Théasty, under which she develops recipes for companies, creates video content and conducts private dinners.

She also spoke at an Emerging Leaders conference in Miami in 2019.

“I’m very fortunate as I’m able to speak at a number of conferences, about pursuing your passions, especially if you’re in the corporate world. Just how you can hone in on that, and pursue your dreams and make something of it.”

VanHerwaarden gained an appreciation of food at an early age, sampling cuisine from various cultures as she and her family travelled the world.

“I was nine when I had my first cow tongue in Costa Rica,” she said. “We used to spend our summers in Italy, so Italian food has a special place in my heart.”

As does Mexican — likely inherited from her father who grew up in Arizona, close to the Mexican border.

“When he came to Comox, he brought his ’Tex-Mex’ style of food to Comox. We ate that way every week.”

But pasta is her go-to, specialty dish.

“I think I make fresh pastas two or three times a week. It’s like my de-stressor at the end of the day.”

VanHerwaarden developed her cooking skills after sustaining a broken back in 2006. Homebound, she spent a great deal of time in the kitchen. Then she met Season 2 winner David Jorge, who encouraged her to apply for MasterChef. Her N’duja ricotta tortellini proved to be a hit in Season 4.

Tune in Sunday to find out what VanHerwaarden and the other cooks are tasked to create in the kitchen.

“You never know what you’re going to get,” she said.

MasterChef Canada: Back to Win airs Sunday, Feb. 14 on CTV. There are 12 episodes.

For more news from Vancouver Island and beyond delivered daily into your inbox, please click here.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Ucluelet locals Rachael, Caroline and Tom enjoy refreshments on a sunny Monday afternoon at a picnic table dining area set up by the District of Ucluelet to help residents and visitors support local businesses while staying outside. (Andrew Bailey photo)
Ucluelet chamber launches bingo contest to support local restaurants

Four Ucluelet Co-op shopping sprees are up for grabs in #Ukee2go competition.

The entrance to the Lodge Property on Reef Point Road. (Nora O’Malley photo)
Virtual public hearing held for the Lodge Property in Ucluelet

Mayor and council to make a final decision during the April 14 regular council meeting

The Pacific Rim National Park Reserve’s Green Point Campground saw an unprecedented flurry of reservations last week. (Pacific Rim National Park Reserve photo)
Pacific Rim National Park Reserve’s campground sees ‘unprecedented’ interest as reservations open

Green Point Campground is scheduled to open from May 1 – Oct. 12 this year.

Kale is a classic in West Coast gardens.
COLUMN: Kale reigns supreme in West Coast gardens

In Tofino and Ucluelet, kale is a classic.

(B.C. Government photo)
POLL QUESTION: Are you in favour of B.C.’s three-week ban on in-restaurant dining?

Dr. Bonnie Henry called the three week stoppage a “circuit breaker”

Restaurant patrons enjoy the weather on a patio in Vancouver, B.C., Monday, April 5, 2021. The province has restricted indoor dining at all restaurants in B.C. due to a spike in COVID-19 numbers. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C.’s COVID-19 indoor dining, drinking ban extending into May

Restaurant association says patio rules to be clarified

Two men were seen removing red dresses alongside the Island Highway in Oyster Bay. (Submitted photo)
Two men filmed removing red dresses from trees on highway near Ladysmith

Activists hung the dresses to raise awareness for Vancouver Island’s Murdered/Missing Women & Girls

B.C. Premier John Horgan speaks at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
Tougher COVID-19 restrictions in B.C., including travel, still ‘on the table’: Horgan

John Horgan says travel restrictions will be discussed Wednesday by the provincial cabinet

RCMP on scene yesterday at the altercation at the trailer park. (Submitted photo)
Violent altercation at Port Hardy trailer park sends one to hospital

Police say man confronted another over airsoft shooting, then was attacked with a weapon

John Albert Buchanan was found guilty of manslaughter in the 2017 death of Richard Sitar. Pictured here, Buchanan walking to the court in Nanaimo last year. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)
Six years including time served for Nanaimo man in bludgeoning death

John Albert Buchanan sentenced in B.C. Supreme Court in Nanaimo for death of Richard Sitar

Protesters occupied a road leading to Fairy Creek Watershed near Port Renfrew. (Submitted photo)
B.C. First Nation says logging activist interference not welcome at Fairy Creek

Vancouver Island’s Pacheedaht concerned about increasing polarization over forestry activities

Flow Academy is not accepting membership applications from anybody who has received a dose of the vaccine, according to a password-protected membership application form. (Submitted image)
B.C. martial arts gym refusing patrons who have been vaccinated, wear masks

Interior Health has already issued a ticket to Flow Academy for non-compliance with public health orders

Guinevere, lovingly referred to by Jackee Sullivan and her family as Gwenny, is in need of a gynecological surgery. The family is raising money to help offset the cost of the procedure. (Jackee Sullivan/Special to Langley Advance Times)
Langley lizard’s owners raise funds for gynecological surgery

The young reptile is scheduled for operation on Tuesday

Facebook screenshot of the sea lion on Holberg Road. (Greg Clarke Facebook video)
VIDEO: Sea lion randomly spotted on remote B.C. logging road

Greg Clarke was driving home on the Holberg Road April 12, when he saw a large sea lion.

Most Read