Hi my name is Chanelle Saks, and I am this year’s MasterChef Canada Top 5 finalist! Here is a little bit about me: born and raised in Calgary, I started out my professional career (where most Calgarians start their careers) - in the oil patch. Possibly one of the most male-dominated industries out there, I fought tooth and nail to be recognized as a Sales and Marketing professional and was eventually promoted to an executive role at the third-largest oilfield service company globally. Reaching this goal was monumental, however, there was still something missing - creatively unfulfilled and driven by my entrepreneurial spirit - I left this company to become to my own boss.
Photos by. Emelia Kim Creative
I am the founder and owner of CHEZ CHANELLE; which specializes in planning and executing events and private dinners, brand partnerships, food styling and photography, recipe development and I am currently in the midst of writing my first ever cookbook and producing an online cooking channel (among other exciting projects). MasterChef Canada was the catalyst to help kickstart my culinary endeavours however without the community of Calgary behind me, I wouldn't have gone far.
I grew up engrossed in the restaurant industry mostly because of my mom who owned and operated numerous large-scale eateries in Calgary. Though my family left the business, I caught the “culinary bug” and consider myself so fortunate to come from a place where community and supporting local has become such a fundamental part of our culture. Using local ingredients and working with as many local and Canadian owned businesses has been instrumental in growing my business.
My experience on MasterChef Canada opened my eyes to the importance of using local ingredients because it’s really the way the best way to share a culinary story; Canada has so many unique ingredients that we (myself included) often take for granted. Since my experience on the show, I look at food in a whole different way and now I very much use it as a means to tell a story, evoke emotion and make connections. The culinary story I create is only enriched when I can share with whoever is eating my food exactly where that food came from and trace its history to the point it reaches the table. Even long before my MasterChef Canada days, my Saturday morning tradition has been to head to the Calgary Farmer’s Market and pick out fresh local ingredients for our Saturday night dinner. The sense of connectedness from using local ingredients and shopping local is something I treasure and it is integral to all my culinary stories. Since food is all about bringing people together, using local ingredients gives me this incredible feeling of bringing a community together.
I would very much like to thank the community of Calgary for their support for my MasterChef Canada run; it is really something to feel like you have the city where you grew up behind you.
CHEZ CHANELLE areas of focus include (but not limited to):
A special thank you to the amazing Local Laundry for this shoot shot by Emilia Kim Creative! Thank you to the Calgary Farmer’s Market, Blush Lane, Yum Bakery and True Buch Kombucha for this collaboration and for Hair & Makeup by Jessica Mercury!