Toronto Sun – Jim Slotek – February 18, 2014

He may have been eliminated from MasterChef Canada. But Danny Raposo promises to be the first contestant whose food people pay to eat.

The Brampton, Ont., construction worker – who was accused of “playing it safe” and sticking to Portuguese-based flavours and styles – made that pledge in a conference call the day after serving a pork stew in the challenge round that left the judges cold.

“I’m leaving construction and starting Big D’s House of Munch,” he said. “It’s going to be a restaurant, but that’s in the future. I’m going to go for a food truck first.

“Honest I want to be the first one to produce food after the show’s over. The show’s over April 29 or something, so by May 10, I want to have the food truck on the road.

“A restaurant, you’re stuck in one place. If it’s not a good location, you either shut down or move. A truck, you start the damn thing and move on to the next location. Plus you can do parties, catering, right out of the truck.”

So, if you’re a fan of Piri-Piri chicken sandwiches…

It’s been a rough ride for Raposo, who came down with the flu in last week’s episode, and missed out on catering a practice meal for the Toronto Maple Leafs.

“For me, that was one of the worst shows ever,” he recalls. “I’m a big Leaf fan. I would have cooked in a hazmat (hazardous material) suit for those guys.”

A demon with a knife, and probably the fastest chef in the contest, Danny saw another competitor, Eric, sit down after severely cutting himself this week. “I actually thought Eric took his finger off. There was blood squirting everywhere, so yeah, it looked pretty bad.

“My knife skills are impeccable. But once, during the first audition, I kind of nicked myself really quick. The actual challenge where I went home, I kind of nicked myself there. There are really sharp knives, great knives too. Everybody was cutting themselves.”

The feuds are starting to form, and Danny admits Eric had it in for Danny after Danny was given immunity by Dale in last week’s challenge. “I had a target on my back after Dale chose me. Eric had something against me, and against Kayla. There was a bunch of conflict between people, people trying to throw people under the bus. Why not? I’d have done the same if I’d stayed longer.

“I didn’t come to make friends – although you do make some crazy friends.”

In the end, though, he admits his homestyle cooking may not have been meant for MasterChef’s Michelin star world. “Portuguese cooking – it’s pretty much peasant, y’know what I mean? I guess there’s some rich (Portuguese) out there,” he says with a laugh. “But I didn’t have much growing up. Whatever we had, we had to make a dish out of it. So it’s got to be hot, spicy, flavours, smoked paprika, garlic, salt and white pepper. Those are staple ingredients.”

“This was a journey of a lifetime,” he says. “I proved to myself I belong in a kitchen.” And he hopes it brings attention to some of his causes – including the Circle of Hope Foundation for Thyroid Cancer, and the annual Sick Kids Hospital motorcycle ride.

Twitter: @jimslotek

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