Ian Giebelhaus works as a rural veterinarian by day at the Rimbey Veterinary Clinic, but is also proving his cooking skills by competing in the second season on the reality TV series of MasterChef Canada, which premieres Sunday, Feb. 8 on CTV.
Giebelhaus, a Rimbey native, is one of the 49 finalist home cooks who is hoping to make it into the top 16 for the chance to win $100,000 cash prize and be named the next Canadian MasterChef. He does this by preparing signature dishes to impress three chef judges: Michael Bonacini, Alvin Leung, and Claudio Aprile.
Giebelhaus said that competing on the show has been a huge challenge, but something he is very proud of. He said the judges have some high expectations and everyone in the competition are good cooks.
“The judges are not going to sugar coat anything, if you don’t do a good job they will let you know. This isn’t cooking for my mom,” Giebelhaus said. “The cooking competition is pretty intense, but I’m not easily stressed. I find the competition fun and not stressful. At the end of the day the judges either enjoy it or they don’t and that’s what I love.”
Giebelhaus said he was not surprised to be chosen for the competition adding he wanted to participate because he really enjoys cooking and can function well within a high-pressured atmosphere and gets along with other people.
“Being a part of the MasterChef is a huge challenge. It’s an opportunity to pursue a dream and challenge yourself,” Giebelhaus said. “The challenge and the process are both incredible and difficult. Most people in reality TV shows say ‘that was a lot harder than what I thought it would be’.”
Giebelhaus said he isn’t fazed by being on camera and doesn’t notice when he is being filmed, as he is too focused on cooking. What he finds most challenging is cooking meals for the judges in one hour, while working with very sharp knives in the kitchen. Never the less, he focuses on cooking.
“Most of us don’t cook on a clock, but it’s a challenge and an incredible experience,” Giebelhaus said. “When you’re focused on cooking it’s your happy place; it’s a thrill to be able to cook.”
Giebelhaus said he cooks a little bit of everything but he especially loves cooking Italian food and simple Italian dishes such as prosciutto and piselli which he describes as a special old Italian peasant dishes.
When in the kitchen and cooking up a storm, while listening to music, Giebelhaus said he doesn’t follow recipes or measure out ingredients as he doesn’t always have all the ingredients called for.
“We have good grocery stores in town but we don’t have all the ingredients at our finger tips,” Giebelhaus said.
Trying new things and adding new ingredients when making a dish is something he can do when cooking, but trying something new on an animal isn’t something he can do as a veterinarian, and this is one of the reasons Giebelhaus loves cooking.
“Being a vet you can’t just try new drugs on animals, but in cooking you can try new ingredients all the time. I have had spectacular failures and if it’s bad enough it goes in the garbage, but I’m too stubborn to admit that it didn’t work out so I try to eat it anyway,” Giebelhaus said. “You can experiment with cooking, but not on animals.”
Giebelhaus said he thinks people can have more than one grand desire in life as he said he enjoys being a veterinarian, but he loves cooking because it takes his mind off work and gives him a mental break.
“When I have a day off I will be cooking up a storm with the radio turned on and I love that and that’s how I relax,” Giebelhaus said. “I am very happy being a veterinarian. There are always people that don’t know things about you. I love being a veterinarian at work, but when I go home I love to get my chef on.”