Hundreds of people lined up in front of Langley Wal-Mart Monday afternoon to meet renowned chef Graham Elliot.
The former MasterChef judge and Chicago chef was in town for a two-and-a-half hour autographing session in front of the Langley store off 64th Avenue – attracting fans from far and wide.
Evan Lavoie, a 21-year-old from Kelowna, had his chef’s apron autographed by his role model.
Lavoie is chef who enrolled in culinary school right out of high school and just achieved his Red Seal certification.
He learned of Elliot’s visit to B.C. this morning at 6 a.m., jumped in his car, and was in line out front of Wal-Mart before the autographing session began.
“It was an honour to meet Graham in person,” he told the Langley Advance.
“I stand for everything he believes in, and he is my top inspiration for wanting to become a chef,” added Lavoie, who shared a video he’s made up and plans to submit to MasterChef Canada – in hopes of being a contestant.
“I have only worked in kitchens my whole life, my mother used to be a pastry chef, but my heart is cooking, not baking.”
Lavoie lost his father this past February to cancer, but also shared with Elliot that Dad lived long enough to know his son would “do great things in the culinary world.”
“His last dying wish for me was that I audition for [MasterChef Canada],” he told Elliot.
“It would be my dream… I’m going, guns ablazing.”
After having his picture taken with his idol, Lavoie said of Elliot: “I want to be where he is someday.”
Elliot is currently part of a national tour to promote the fresh food options available at the Wal-Mart Supercentre. It was also an opportunity for him to talk about his cookbook.
The 39-year-old celebrity chef was in Oakville, Ont. on the weekend and came to Langley – the only other stop on his Canadian tour.
During his stop over here, he was offering countless autographing, including personalized messages scrawled out on cutting boards, and aprons.
While Elliot has concluded his visit with the public, a group of Wal-Mart cooks and presenters, as well as some steel drum musicians, are expected to be in front of the store until about 5 p.m. today (Monday, July 18).
CAPTION: Celebrity chef Graham Elliot has long been an inspiration for Evan Lavoie, who travelled down from Kelowna just to meet him Monday.