Eden Grinshpan On Working With Sir Kensington's, Summer Recipes, And Top Chef Canada – Exclusive Interview

If you identify as a condiment lover, then read on. Summer is upon us, which means it's the perfect time for a sandwich with some extra barbecue sauce, mayonnaise, or whatever suits your fancy. Eden Grinshpan, known as the host of "Top Chef Canada" and "Eden Eats" on the Cooking Channel, just happens to be a massive condiment fan herself. The food mentor partnered up with Sir Kensington's to create a delicious summer box that includes avocado oil mayo, classic mayo, sriracha mayo, and chipotle mayo.

In an exclusive interview, Eden let Mashed know which condiment is her favorite and gave us her best seasonal recipes. The chef specializes in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean food, as showcased in her 2020 cookbook, "Eating Out Loud." Baba Ganoush has just been added to our upcoming grilling party. Grinshpan also touched upon what viewers can expect from Top Chef Canada's 10th season. How about a grilling party while watching "Top Chef Canada"? It can't get much better than that.

Eden dishes on her favorite condiments from Sir Kensington's

Can you give me an overview [of] your new collaboration with Sir Kensington's?

I've been a fan of Sir Kensington's for a really long time. I absolutely love their mayo and all of their different mayo flavors. I wanted to take this opportunity this summer to turn up the taste with them and elevate barbecue season. Barbecue season is a season that I look forward to all year long. Sir Kensington's is, hands down, my favorite mayo to grab when I put together a barbecue for my friends and family.

Is there a certain criterion that goes through your head when partnering with brands like Sir Kensington's?

I find that the quality of their ingredients is at the level that I love serving my friends and family. The flavor of their product is supreme. It's high quality. They have avocado oil, and avocado oil just so happens to be one of my favorite oils to cook with. I absolutely love the ingredients they use in their product. For me, it's a no-brainer to grab Sir Kensington's as my mayo of choice.

Also, I played around with their chili lime crema this summer, and I absolutely love it. I give it to my kids and my husband, but now my husband is throwing that chili lime crema on everything.

Remind me, what is in the summer condiment box? [It's] avocado oil mayo, sriracha mayo, chipotle mayo, and classic mayo, right?

Yeah. The recipes that I've come up with from Sir Kensington's are the summer squash crisps. I also came up with my version of a BLT: bacon, eggplant, basil, and tomato sandwich with the chili lime crema. They're the dishes that I've been whipping up this summer. I created a garden this summer. I'm so proud of it. A lot of the recipes that I've been cooking up are inspired by what's growing in my garden. It goes hand in hand. I have summer squash, and I am so beyond excited to serve that summer squash to my friends. The avocado oil mayo, Sir Kensington's, I actually used as my base. I made a harissa mayo with that to serve summer squash crisps. It's really good.

The recipes Eden can't get enough of right now

Say you were making a quick summer meal for your family. What are three ingredients that you would choose first?

It's so tough because obviously summertime is all about produce, all this beautiful summer produce — incredibly inspiring. I would always gravitate towards a tomato. This isn't just a complete meal; these are just basic ingredients. I would say tomato, some sort of fresh herb, like basil or mint, and I am through and through a dedicated condiment lover, so definitely the chili lime crema from Sir Kensington's. All three of those together can create so many different, amazing dishes.

Between the avocado oil that you mentioned and the other condiment that you just mentioned, the chili lime crema, what is the one condiment that you can't live without?

The avocado oil mayo. Sir Kensington's avocado oil mayo. The actual quality of the mayo is just superior. The taste is amazing. High-quality ingredients. Simply the perfect base to play around with. I made the harissa mayo with Sir Kensington's avocado oil mayo, but you could put so many different things in there. You could put in fresh herbs. You can make it really lemony with garlic and dill, or add mint. You can add in different chilies. It really is the perfect base to play up and add to any dish, especially during barbecue season. I find that finding your condiments, especially quality mayo that can hit your table at every barbecue, is key to making this.

Eden names the most underrated foods you need to try

You're known for your Middle Eastern and Mediterranean [recipes], as shown in your cookbook, "Eating Out Loud," which was published two years ago now. What recipe from that book, or in general, do you find yourself making the most?

That's tough. "Eating Out Loud," definitely, I would say, she's my book baby. I feel very connected to every recipe. You spend so much time testing and deciding on what's going to make the final book. It's such a big deal. Baba ghanoush is a recipe that I come back to over and over again. It is actually a perfect summer grilling recipe because you take the entire eggplant and you throw it right onto the hot grill and you char it. You char it so aggressively that it almost is unrecognizable. The point is to burn the skin. What that does is it infuses that smokey flavor into the meat on the inside. Because the skin's still on, it steams the meat so the meat gets really soft.

What you do is you remove the meat and you mix it with different ingredients. You can have a zucchini baba ganoush. You can have a yogurt baba ganoush. You can even have a mayo baba ganoush, which is very popular. I've actually made my baba ganoush recipe with Sir Kensington's avocado oil mayo. It is so delicious and a perfect condiment to double up on and then store in your fridge. You could smear it on sandwiches. You can use it as a plain dip with crudité or pita. It's fantastic.

Are there any underrated Middle Eastern or Mediterranean foods that you think people should try?

So many. Tahini paste is a really beautiful condiment that I think a lot of people could play around with and such a fantastic ingredient. It's also about so many of the spices and the spice combinations. I find that a lot of food that I cook is really approachable, not complicated. It's incredible how a different spice combination or a different marinade can take an ingredient that you know how to cook, like chicken thighs or branzino, and just by applying these harissa or baharat or za'atar, you can completely change the style and the vibe. So a lot of it has to do with the spices as well.

Eden talks the new season of Top Chef Canada

I would love to switch gears to talk about "Top Chef Canada," which [is] now renewed for a 10th season. Congratulations.

Thank you. It's exciting. Shooting that show, we have the best time. ... We did just shoot the 10th season, which is a huge deal. It is such an honor for me to be part of that franchise.

I don't know if you're able to yet, but would you be able to give fans a hint on what to expect from the new season now that you said that you shot it?

I can't give anything away. I don't want to spoil it. It's a really exciting season and [has] so much incredible talent from across the country that I can't wait for everyone to see.

From all of your time judging dishes on the show, what do you feel makes a winning contestant's dish stand out amongst the rest?

One thing that I would say to the contestants on the show every season is it's so important to trust your instinct and to not second-guess yourself. It's hard to not do that when you have so much that you want to prove and you have all these incredible chefs that you're cooking for and judges. It's really easy to second-guess. What has been a helpful tip that we give the chefs that compete is truly decide on your dish and stick to it. Try not to veer off, because that confidence will also come through in your final plate.

I always say to any of the chefs that make it on, "You guys won," because it is so hard to, A, get on this show. Then what a lot of people don't really talk about is, not only are they cooking for some of the biggest chefs and people that have always inspired them from the beginning, which is already some pressure, but [also] they're against time. All the challenges we give them are exactly what they're doing. They don't have a lot of time to prep and cook, and they have all these cameras on them. [With] cameras and lights and the pressure, it's not like you're cooking in a regular kitchen. You're cooking in a studio in a huge kitchen, and it's a new kitchen, so there's so many challenges. All these chefs that compete, they're rock stars.

Eden reveals her favorite travel food and biggest inspiration

I'm going to switch gears off of "Top Chef Canada" for a second. I saw, from your Instagram, that you recently got back from Italy. What was your favorite dish that you ate on your travels and why? 

I am a huge seafood pasta lover. Forever and always, spaghetti alle vongole will be my go-to pasta of choice. If it's on the menu, it's happening. I find that the seafood is so fresh, and [with] that gorgeous seafood flavor, everything comes through. To eat spaghetti alle vongole, especially looking out at the Mediterranean, it does not get better than that.

Who is the one chef you'd want to cook you dinner and why?

Yotam Ottolenghi. Done. He's one of my biggest culinary inspirations. I absolutely love his food. I love his approach to veg-forward cooking and all of his culinary inspirations [and] how his food is so colorful and gorgeous. I would love to meet him. I would love to eat with him and cook with him. I just want to be with him.

Well, your goal after this meeting is to set up lunch with him.

That's my goal forever. He's truly a huge inspiration. I would love to meet him one day and pick his brain or talk to him and hear all about his life. I think it would be amazing.

The 10th season of "Top Chef Canada" premieres on September 26. Head to Sir Kensington's website to learn more about its condiment offerings, and follow Eden Grinshpan on Instagram to keep up with her latest projects and appearances. 

This interview has been edited for clarity.