MasterChef Canada contestant Danielle Cardozo (left) will face off against Top Chef Canada’s Nicole Gomes and Iron Chef Japan’s Michael Noble in Battle Pancake during the Calgary Stampede this July.

MasterChef Canada contestant Danielle Cardozo (left) will face off against Top Chef Canada’s Nicole Gomes and Iron Chef Japan’s Michael Noble in Battle Pancake during the Calgary Stampede this July.

When pancakes and bikinis collide

Cranbrook’s Danielle Cardozo will raise money for Special Olympics at a Stampede celebrity cookoff

Cranbrook MasterChef Canada contestant Danielle Cardozo is back in the saddle, competing in a celebrity pancake cookoff during Calgary Stampede.

On July 5, Cardozo will face off against Nicole Gomes from Top Chef Canada, and Michael Noble from Iron Chef Japan in a pancake battle of epic proportions.

Battle Pancake will see each of the three reality television competitors prepare a signature pancake and handmade sausage, which will then be served to a crowd of 500 people during Stampede in Calgary.

It’s part of larger event called Bikini Espy, a fundraiser for Special Olympics Calgary.

A Calgary fashion boutique called the Espy Experience hosts the fundraiser during Stampede each year. Women of all ages and sizes are invited to line up outside the store in their bikinis and cowboy boots. With a donation to Special Olympics Calgary, they are each given a free outfit chosen by a fashion stylist. In 2013, the event raised more than $35,000.

“It is definitely a unique event, and it’s even a little controversial. But the bottom line is that it’s successful at raising funds for a great cause, and that it why I have gotten involved,” said Cardozo.

She became involved in the fundraiser when she first met Espy owner Megan Szanik in Calgary, soon after Cardozo was eliminated from MasterChef Canada’s top eight.

“We were dining at Michael Noble’s restaurant, who just happens to know Megan Szanik, owner of Espy Experience. A conversation arose about Bikini Espy; one of my friends suggested that I should get involved with it, and it all snowballed from there. Megan came up with the genius idea of Battle Pancake. It was really just a case of being in the right place at the right time, which lately seems to be a trend in my life.”

Cardozo’s two competitors each have their own reality TV experiences. Nicole Gomes placed third and was the last woman standing in Top Chef Canada’s third season.

“She is incredibly talented, having apprenticed all over Europe and has worked some high ranking positions at some of the best restaurants in Canada,” said Cardozo.

Michael Noble competed in Iron Chef Japan against Iron Chef Morimoto, losing out by barely two points.

“For anyone who watches the show, they know it’s a big deal to get that close,” said Cardozo.

For Battle Pancake, the competitors will prepare a pancake breakfast for the bikini-clad women and others gathered at the event, who will ultimately decide which dish wins the day.

“Megan told myself, Gomes and Noble that our involvement has brought even more media attention to the event. That feels great and I hope it results in more money being raised. I am extremely proud to be a part of this event, and it has even inspired me to start thinking about how we can bring a great event like this to Cranbrook,” said Cardozo.

The chefs won’t be wearing bikinis, though Cardozo said she’d do it anyway. The event is sponsored by Mavi Jeans, which will provide outfits and custom denim aprons for the chefs.

“I will be totally honest: if the event required us to sport a bikini, I’d still be game,” said Cardozo.

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