Top Chef Canada’s Infamous ‘Beaver Balls’

Home version of Nicole Gomes 'Beaver Balls' from Top Chef CanadaWondering what ‘beaver balls’ are? Great question! A few weeks ago on Top Chef Canada, the remaining cheftestants were challenged to create ‘Canada’s new dish’. While the majority of the pack went with some sort of variation on a slider, Calgary-based competitor Nicole Gomes opted to meld humour with deliciousness and and her ‘Beaver Balls’ were born.

Basically, these tasty little critters are a Asian-inspired pork meatball, rolled in rice, then steamed or baked and served with a maple-soy dipping sauce. Sounds pretty good, right? Well, I can verify that they are indeed delicious, as I made a batch at home just a few weeks ago.

Beaver Balls T-Shirt

This unique take on a pork meatball has gotten a lot of attention from Food Network Canada viewers and even spawned a humorous t-shirt (shown above, photo credit: Avenue Magazine) designed by Canadian food-centric clothing company, Food On Your Shirt. Do you like beaver balls? Well, now you can wear them too!

Looking for a Nicole-approved ‘Beaver Balls’ recipe to try in your own home? Then head over to and try this one out this week. Guaranteed to be a hit with the family!

Chatting all things pork with Food Network Canada personality, Andrea Nicholson!

Chef Andrea Nicholson is one busy lady. Since she appeared on the inaugural season of Top Chef Canada in 2011, Andrea has been working hard, both with her artisan condiment line, Killer Condiments (available in specialty stores across Canada and online), and joining the cast of Restaurant Takeover.

On Restaurant Takeover, which airs weekly on Food Network Canada, you can watch Andrea impart her culinary wisdom to struggling restauranteurs and chefs.

When she’s not working, Nicholson can be found at home spending time with her family and, of course, whipping up some amazing pork dishes. I borrowed a few minutes of Andrea’s time this week to talk about the deliciousness that is pork.

What’s your go-to cut of pork when you’re cooking at home? I cook tons of pork at home, all sorts of cuts, but ribs are probably cooked the most. I have a huge cast iron smoker in my back yard and slow smoke them for hours. They are so deadly!

Everyone is crazy about bacon, what’s one bacon-accented dish that you can’t live without? I love hearty salads especially with bacon. My fav is a big wedge of iceberg, red onions, apple, lots of crispy bacon and home made blue cheese dressing. This salad has such great texture and lots of flavour.

What are some great side dish suggestions that compliment a simple pork roast? Well, pork and the flavors of cabbage work so great together. My two favourite side dishes are always: Roasted Brussels sprouts with hazelnuts and brown butter and Roasted Parsnip mashed potatoes with chives and butter.

What’s the craziest pork dish you’ve ever had? In New York at WD-50 I had Wylie Dufresne’s Root Beer Pork. It was such a well composed and visually appealing dish. The ribs were so tender with a balanced sweet and smokey flavor with a intense root beer sauce and rye spetzle balls. This was a dish completely out of the box.

Follow Andrea on twitter at @Andrea_N to stay up to date with all of her culinary adventures!

Check back here next week for an amazing pork chop recipe straight from Andrea’s kitchen featuring one of her favourite Killer Condiments!