Scottish immigrant set to be next big star 

TV show to feature Whistler-loving Squamish resident

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Liz Wilkinson is a relatively new Sea to Sky resident.

She loves food and skiing and her level of fame is about to skyrocket as she makes her television debut.

Her back-story is the classic Whistler tale. For 20 years she had been vacationing in Whistler from her home in Scotland.

"We'd always said we'd love to live in Whistler or the Whistler area," she says with a Scottish accent from her rented home in Squamish. "We got an opportunity to come out to Canada to work."

Her husband got an opportunity to work in Toronto. They figured they would spend a few years in Canada's centre of the universe.

"We came out, so we thought we would try it before we buy it," she says of her family's initial move across the Atlantic to Ontario. "It wasn't quite B.C. but it's Canada and we'd see what we think. We loved it so we applied for permanent residency. We packed up our jobs in Toronto and the two of us arrived on the first of April."

The back-story goes back even further.

"My parents actually weren't skiers and they went all over Canada over a period of years and they arrived in Whistler one day and they contacted us and said, 'we're in this terrific place, we think you would love it here.' So the following winter we booked a holiday to Whistler and have been coming back every year ever since," she says with a hearty Scottish laugh.

Wilkinson's son is getting set to spend the winter working as a ski instructor in Whistler and her parents are currently visiting her and her husband. The timing of the visit is perfect, as Wilkinson's parents will get to witness the transformation of their daughter into a television star.

On Monday, Sept. 17 Wilkinson will make her television debut on the W Network show called Come Dine With Me Canada.

"It is a big, big thing in the U.K. and it has been going for a number of years in the U.K. and I absolutely love the program," says Wilkinson. "I applied for the Canadian version of the program."

After going through a series of interviews and film tests, the show producers must have fallen in love with her Scottish ways as she was selected to be on the show.

For those who haven't seen the program, the premise is simple. Five strangers cook up their idea of a perfect evening. Over five consecutive nights each person hosts the other four and attempts to out-cook, out-host and out-entertain the others for the chance to win the title of ultimate dinner party host and $1,000 in cash.

"At the time when I applied for it I was living in Toronto and it was recorded at the very last week of March this year as we were packing up to leave," Wilkinson explains. "We were leaving on the Saturday to come out to B.C. to live and we were filming all Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday through to Saturday morning. We were getting loaded up on the Saturday and heading out here on the first flight Sunday morning."

On the Sept. 17 show, Wilkinson is one of the guests then the following night it is her night to shine as the host.

The title of her night is Taste of Scotland and the show producers have dubbed her Lady Liz.

"With an organized list and control freak personality, Liz is hoping to win it all," it reads on the show's website.

The show description goes on: "Liz has a plan to win the competition with Celtic cuisine and a bagpiper but will she win over all four of her guests with her appetizers; haggis with neeps and tatties as well as cullen skink? After a few looks of concern, the guests move on to her main course of venison stew with berries. To close the night off, Liz serves her decadent dessert; deep-fried chocolate bars."

A risky menu, for sure but that menu is a guaranteed lock for riveting television.

The program airs at 8 p.m. each night next week on the W Network. The final episode of the week on Friday will reveal the winner and we'll find out whether Liz takes home the prize money. A confidentiality agreement prevents Lady Liz from sharing in advance whether serving haggis to complete strangers pays off.

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