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Photo of Christopher Siu.
Christopher Siu. Photo courtesy of CTV

Sweet Success

Pharmacy's Christopher Siu wins over MasterChef Canada audience

A tasty morsel only lasts until it’s eaten – but pharmacy student Christopher Siu has reaped a permanent benefit from showcasing his culinary skills on CTV’s MasterChef Canada. Siu, who is finishing his degree this summer, is in talks to open a dessert café and bakeshop – a venture he hopes to combine with part-time pharmacy work. “I learned so much on the show,” says Siu. “It’s really opened up the culinary world for me.”

Siu beat out many experienced cooks to come fifth in the series. “I got into baking due to my dad’s cheesecake,” explains Siu. “He used to make cheesecake for me and my brother, on our birthdays when we were younger. Remembering how special that was made me want to recreate those recipes.”

Christopher Siu’s No-Crust Cheesecake with Pickled Strawberries

Photo: Christopher Siu
Pickled Strawberries. Photo: Christopher Siu

“Pat Chun Sweetened Vinegar is a Chinese vinegar made from a rice base, and it has a lot of herbs put into it. We don’t think of pickling fruit, but using sweet vinegar to pickle fruit allows that fruit to take on a completely different characteristic than when fresh. It helps to concentrate the flavour.”

Pickled Strawberries
1 lb fresh strawberries, washed and hulled
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup red vinegar
1/3 cup cider vinegar
2 tbsp Pat Chun Sweetened Vinegar
1 tbsp salt
5 star anise
Small handful pink peppercorns

1. Place strawberries in a large glass jar.
2. Combine all remaining ingredients in a saucepan; bring to a boil.
3. Remove from heat; let liquid cool slightly. Pour over strawberries in jar.
4. Put lid on jar and let pickle, in refrigerator, for at least 48 hours before using. Store in the refrigerator.

No-Crust Cheesecake
1 lb (454g) cream cheese, softened
2 eggs
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup whipping cream (35%)
1/3 cup yogurt
1 tsp vanilla extract
Pickled Strawberries
Fresh strawberries, sliced

1. Half fill a large roasting pan with water.
2. Line bottom of a springform pan with parchment paper.
3. Combine all ingredients until smooth, then pour into springform pan. Cover with foil, then place covered springform pan in roasting pan.
4. Bake in centre of 350⁰F oven for 45 minutes.
5. Remove foil. Increase oven temperature to 425⁰F and bake for 10 minutes, until a nice brown crust develops on top.
6. Cover and chill overnight. Serve with Pickled Strawberries and sliced fresh strawberries.

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