About two years ago, Lyndsay Wells of Ladysmith was watching the Food Network on television when she saw an advertisement asking home cooks to submit their favourite recipes.
And Wells, who is being featured on a Food Network television show next week, says that moment changed her life.
Wells is a finalist in the Food Network competitive reality series Recipe to Riches, and she will appear on the Oct. 24 episode “Savory Snacks.”
In the series, Canadian home cooks battle each week to have their original recipes become a President’s Choice product, win $25,000 and become eligible for a grand prize of $250,000. Recipes are judged based on taste, presentation, originality, the story behind the recipe and its suitability to become a mass produced grocery store product.
“I think it’s really exciting that a local person is doing the show, and I hope people will watch the show,” said Wells. “This is a real Canadian treasure. It’s really unique, and it gives home cooks a chance to shine.”
This is Wells’s second attempt at Recipe to Riches. When the first season of Recipe to Riches came on, Wells spotted an ad asking for home cooks to send in their recipes. She sent in a recipe and went to an audition in Vancouver. Wells’s journey stopped just short of making it onto television that season, but this season, Wells was chosen to be featured on one episode.
For the “Savory Snacks” episode, Wells came up with a recipe for Asian Snack Wraps.
“I work with a lot of different people, and I work with youth, and I’m always coming up with ideas for things people are going to like,” she said. “I kept thinking ‘what is missing for us on Vancouver Island?’ We have a great food culture, but one of the things we are missing is food trucks. I thought ‘why don’t I come up with something reminiscent of food trucks?'”
Wells describes her Asian Snack Wraps as a riff off a scallion pancake. The wraps are filled with a sweet, spicy pork filling.
“It’s almost like an Asian burrito,” said Wells. “I chose the recipe because it’s absolutely delicious, and it’s something I saw as being really unique. There’s nothing like that on store selves, and since the winning recipe can became a President’s Choice product, I thought, ‘boy that would be great and would give people anywhere the chance to experience that street food experience, and they could pop it in the microwave and enjoy it any time.'”
Wells is really looking forward to seeing herself on the Food Network.
“I’m super excited just because it was one of those bucket-list experiences,” she said. “I can’t wait to see how it plays out and all the great things we got to do. It’s just so exciting to think that here I am, and all of a sudden, I’m on the Food Network and I have a Food Network bio. It’s awesome.”
Wells is a former RCMP officer who now works with the Vancouver Island Crisis Society, specializing in suicide prevention work.
She writes The Kitchen Witch blog and has a cooking channel on Youtube.
“I’ve always loved to cook,” she said, “I’ve been cooking since I was a kid. I used to help my mom with the groceries — I loved all of it. I started as a blogger and discovered I have this knack for not just cooking, but also coming up with recipes. It is very exciting to come up with new recipes and have people like them. It is kind of like an art, like I’ve come up with a painting.”
Wells says her strength lies more in savoury foods. She loves making entrées and appetizers and feels she has a real taste for Asian cuisine.
The theme of Wells’s The Kitchen Witch blog is “changing everyday ingredients into something beautiful.”
“I like to teach people how to take everyday ingredients and create dishes that could be served in any restaurant,” she said. “It’s about creating magic in the kitchen.”
Wells has been blogging about food in one way or another since 2000.
“I started on MSN with a small group of women, and they’re still with me today,” she said. “One comes from Pakistan and one comes from Australia. It’s been such a wonderful, relaxing hobby, and it’s a nice counterpart to the work I do.”
Recipe to Riches airs Oct. 24 at 6 p.m. PST on the Food Network.