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

Environment Canada has issued a wind warning for Greater Victoria, with winds expected to get up to 70 km/h Friday morning. (Don Denton/Black Press Media)
Wind warning promises blustery Friday for Greater Victoria

Winds up to 70 km/h expected Friday morning

Low interest rates have acted as a catalyst for the pandemic real estate market. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy)
Real estate sales surging across Greater Victoria but risks lie ahead

Single family home prices jump nine per cent over past year while condo values remain stable

Sidney staff have cleaned up unknown number of screws dumped along Resthaven Drive. (Black Press Media File)
Crews deal with a rock slide on the Malahat section of Highway 1 in 2017. (Black Press Media file photo)
Rock work closes Highway 1 in Langford for spurts

Friday closures could delay drivers up to 20 minutes

A recently finished $4.3-million taxiway extension at the Victoria International Airport (not pictured) is unusable because of a blind spot. (Black Press Media file photo)
Blind spot leaves Victoria airport’s new $4.3-million taxiway extension unusable

Solution has been put on hold by COVID-19 pandemic, says airport authority

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry head for the B.C. legislature press theatre to give a daily update on the COVID-19 pandemic, April 6, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. nears 300,000 COVID-19 vaccinations, essential workers next

564 new cases, four deaths, no new outbreaks Thursday

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of March 2

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

(Black Press Media file photo)
POLL: How’s your butter?

Recent reports have some Canadians giving a second look to one of… Continue reading

The intersection of Melrose Street and Third Avenue. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Suspect in custody after two pedestrians struck in Port Alberni hit and run

RCMP asking for video footage, credit witnesses for quick arrest

(National Emergency Management Agency)
No tsunami risk to B.C. from powerful New Zealand earthquake: officials

An 8.1 magnitude earthquake shook the north of New Zealand Thursday morning

Comox Valley RCMP had access to 20 Street blocked off between Cousins and Choquette avenues as they conducted a raid of a house on the block. Photo by Terry Farrell
Comox Valley RCMP raid Courtenay problem house, several arrests made

Comox Valley RCMP conducted a raid of a problem house on 20th… Continue reading

(AP Photo/Richard Vogel, File)
Pandemic stress, isolation key factors as to why Canadians turned to cannabis, alcohol

Study found that isolation played key role in Canadians’ substance use

A Cowichan Valley mom is wondering why masks haven’t been mandated for elementary schools. (Metro Creative photo)
B.C. mom frustrated by lack of mask mandate for elementary students

“Do we want to wait until we end up like Fraser Health?”

Grand Forks’ Gary Smith stands in front of his Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster float. Photo: Submitted
Grand Forks’ Flying Spaghetti Monster leader still boiling over driver’s licence photo

Gary Smith, head of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster of B.C., said he has since spoken to lawyers

Most Read