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About Chef Betty Vázquez:

Chef Betty Vázquez was born, raised and currently resides in the historic port town of San Blas in Riviera Nayarit, Mexico (located between Puerto Vallarta and Mazatlan), where she is executive chef at the El Delfin restaurant in the Hotel Garza Canela. Following her training at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, Vázquez went to Spain to work under Juan Mari Arzak of the Michelin three-star rated Restaurante Arzak. Through her schooling and extensive travels abroad, she learned the importance of blending fresh ingredients with simple techniques and new methods of preparation in order to elicit the best flavors from food. Vázquez's dishes reflect the love of her home in San Blas and appreciation for foods of other countries. Her cuisine is a fusion of traditional and contemporary – a pairing of ancestral Mexican recipes and products with modern techniques and styles.

In partnership with


About Chef Philip "Ippy" Aiona:

Philip "Ippy" Aiona, 24, is a veteran to the food and beverage industry. Ippy grew up in his father’s Hawaiian plate-lunch restaurant and held his first executive chef position at his mother’s Italian popular eatery, Solimene’s. Ippy’s mother is originally from New York, and his dad is a native Hawaiian, exposing him to different types of cuisine from an early age. Also a native to the Island of Hawaii, Ippy attended the Hawaii Preparatory Academy prior to leaving the island for his culinary pursuits at Le Cordon Bleu in San Francisco.

Ippy and his culinary talent have been recently brought to the limelight by joining the cast of the eighth season of Food Network Star as a finalist on Team Giada. Upon his return from New York City and the production of Food Network Star, Ippy went straight to work and opened a popular BBQ establishment, Ippy’s Hawaiian BBQ, located at Queen’s Marketplace in the Waikoloa Beach Resort. In January of 2013, Aiona was recognized and selected by Forbes magazine as one of the “Best 30 Under 30 in Food and Wine,” truly a milestone in his culinary career.

Currently, Ippy is set to make waves on the Big Island with The Three Fat Pigs, his new restaurant and gastropub, in the Waikoloa, Kohala Coast area. Chef Ippy creates whimsical plates, meant for sharing and utilizing fresh Pacific ingredients married into his style of New European cuisine. His menu and creative vision for this space is one that will invigorate and inspire the Hawaiian foodie culture and visitors to come.

About Chef Luis Barrazeuta:

Luis Berrazueta, Ecuadorian chef, completed his studies at San Francisco de Quito University and he started his career being sous chef of Restaurant Marcus Apicius, one of the top restaurants in Ecuador. Later he was the executive chef of the best restaurant in Galápagos Islands, The Angermeyer Point. He also plays the role of executive chef at two other universities in Ecuador and has been a professor at several universities. Luis has also given cooking master classes in different countries. He has participated in three official international contests; Bocuse d'or, two in Latin America and one in Ecuador. Luis is one of the youngest chefs members of the ACADEMIE CULINAIRE DE FRANCE. Currently he owns a restaurant in Quito-Ecuador based on cooking exclusively with firewood.

In partnership with Pro Ecuador Canada

About Chef Aaron Joseph Bear Robe:

Aaron Joseph Bear Robe originally hails from Siksika Nation, Alberta. Born of a Blackfoot father and a Scottish-Nova Scotian mother, his rich and varied cultural background informs his dynamic cooking style.

Working in various kitchens in Calgary during school from a young age, Aaron immersed himself in the life of a professional cook from 2003 onwards. He began working at River Café, in Calgary, where attention to hand-crafted food made from the finest local ingredients left an indelible mark in him. In the almost three years he worked there he worked every station on the kitchen line and became a chef de partie, apprenticing under Chef Scott Pohorelic. While at River Café, Aaron also completed the culinary apprenticeship program at Southern Alberta Institute of Technology as well as working at a modern Indian cuisine restaurant, Mango Shiva.

Working at River Café allowed Aaron the opportunity to spend time at Blue Mountain Biodynamic Farms just outside of Calgary learning a love for fresh ingredients with hands in the dirt. During this time Aaron accompanied chef Scott Pohorelic as acting sous chef to the first ever Canadian Chef's Congress in Singhampton, Ontario hosted by chef Michael Stadtlander at Eigensinn Farm. There at Eigensinn, during the Congress, Aaron saw the opportunity to learn more. Shortly after returning to Calgary chef Pohorelic arranged for an apprenticeship at Eigensinn farm and early 2009 he began his six-month apprenticeship under chef Michael Stadtlander. Arriving there Aaron immersed himself in all aspects of farm life, along with aiding chef Stadtlander in Eigensinn Farm dinner services. Being there at that time gave Aaron the unique privilege of helping to build and open HaiSai Restaurant and Bakery.

With the arrival of fall, Aaron was on the move again and he headed to Toronto. Aaron begun working at chef Victor Barry’s newly revamped Splendido where there was plenty to learn from a chef and kitchen exploring a rustic, elegant, locally sourced menu. Staying on for a year and learning was opportune as he worked alongside Dennis Tay where their mutual passion of food and honouring the ingredient has continued on with Keriwa Café.

About Kevin Brauch (Host):

Born and raised in Toronto, Kevin Brauch has been a fixture on televisions around the world since 1994. Today, armed with a backpack and a terrific thirst for adventure, Kevin holds title as having “the best damn job in the world,” travelling the planet drinking the world’s finest spirits, wines, beers and eating the best food imaginable as The Thirsty Traveler. When not jet-setting to the next brewery, distillery or vineyard, Kevin also manages significant time in NYC to be the floor reporter for Iron Chef America.

About Donna Dooher (Judge):

Chef Donna Dooher, celebrated cookbook author and restaurateur, is one of North America’s leading advocates of the return to the table. After graduating from the culinary arts programme at Ottawa’s Algonquin College and pursuing further studies at the University of Guelph’s hospitality manager’s development course, Chef Dooher established herself as a prominent figure in the Toronto hospitality community. With over 25 years of professional experience in the kitchen, Donna expanded her successful catering business Avant-Goût in 1990 to create an intimate restaurant called Mildred Pierce. Built in the west end of Toronto’s warehouse district, Mildred Pierce introduced its guests to a unique dining experience and established brunch as a culinary trend in the city. 

In 1998, Chef Dooher founded The Cookworks cooking studio, which offered entertaining and informative workshops focused on practical cooking. The popular concept of the kitchen table proved worthy for the boardroom table and evolved into corporate team building for the business community of Toronto. Her hit Food Network show, The Cookworks, grew out of this initiative and is currently aired in over 120 countries worldwide. In addition, Donna has served as food editor for WISH magazine, and authored the best-selling Market to Table cookbook, adding to her previous triumph with Cuisine Canada’s award-winning Out to Brunch with Mildred Pierce.

Chef Dooher’s newest venture is Mildred’s Temple Kitchen in the heart of Toronto’s Liberty Village and reflects her commitment to providing locally sourced, seasonal ingredients, simply and sumptuously prepared. Donna sits on the board of directors for the Canadian Food Services and Restaurant Association, is the co-chair of the Yes Chef! Campaign at George Brown College, is an active member of Slow Food, and a self-proclaimed "fork hugger" dedicated to supporting Ontario farmers and local agriculture.

About Elizabeth Baird (Judge):
Elizabeth Baird's life in food started when she took her first home economics class in Stratford Ontario. She had, like so many kids of that time, made the usual fudge and cookies. But it was actually making her first peach crisp that lured her forever to the food world. She learned that a recipe plus ingredients will turn out a successful dish... and people will love it. 

However, it was not home economics, but French that she studied at university. A year in France, cooking classes at George Brown College, with chef Neil Baxter of Rundles in Stratford and in many culinary schools in Canada and abroad have kept alive that passion for learning about food and how to cook it well. 

Over her career she has been the food editor at Canadian Living magazine, columnist for the Toronto Star, co-host of Canadian Living Cooks on Food Network Canada, author of about 30 cookbooks, from the first in 1974, Classic Canadian Cooking, to the most recent, Canadian Living, The Slow Cooker Collection

Although officially retired, she is an enthusiastic judge and supporter of Harbourfront Centre's Hot & Spicy Food Festival, volunteer historic cook at Fort York National Historic Site, weekly columnist for the Toronto Sun and SunMedia and co-author of the recently released best seller, Canada’s Favourite Recipes.

International Iron Chef Competition Semi-Finals



The 10th anniversary of Hot & Spicy’s Iron Chef Competition is guaranteed to be a sizzling showdown of culinary expertise as chefs go head-to-head against each other and the clock. Watch as they work their magic to turn the mysterious secret ingredient into a masterpiece creation, all for our panel of celebrity judges – including Elizabeth Baird and Donna Dooher. 

Semi-Final chefs include Betty Vázquez (Mexico), Philip "Ippy" Aiona (Hawaii), Luis Berrazueta (Ecuador) and Aaron Joseph Bear Robe (Canada):

1:30pm-2:30pm (Chef Luis vs Chef Ippy)
4:30pm-5:30pm (Chef Betty vs Chef Aaron)

Hosted by Iron Chef America’s Kevin Brauch.

Special thanks to our partner

Don't miss the Hot & Spicy’s Iron Chef Competition – Finale on Sept. 2nd at 2pm!

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