By Theresa Rogers
Chef Michael Smith, one of Canada’s best-known chefs, is a passionate advocate for simple, sustainable home cooking and his list of accomplishments is lengthy. He’s the host of four television shows seen on Food Network Canada and in more than 100 other countries. His sixth cookbook, Fast Flavours, is a smash hit across Canada. His food media production company is breaking new ground online and his Twitter feed is a top choice for foodie fun.
Smith is Prince Edward Island’s food ambassador and an award-winning cookbook author and newspaper columnist. He led the team of chefs that cooked for the world’s Olympians in the Whistler Athletes Village in 2010 and although Smith is a true chef-at-large, his favourite role is Dad, home on PEI with his partner Chastity and their three children. Smith is an avid map collector, windsurfer and kite sailor.
Where do you find inspiration?
In my own home kitchen, cooking for my family.
How do you stay modern/fresh?
I don’t care one bit whether I’m modern or fresh. What I care about is being relevant to average Canadian cooks.
Favourite chef’s tool?
If you weren’t a chef, what would you be doing?
The hardest thing I ever did was…
Lead the team of chefs that cooked 13,000 meals for the Olympians of the world in Whistler. We rocked it and scored the highest-ever food ratings in the history of the games.
You can’t be in the food business…
If all you care about is a fat paycheck.
How can we attract young people into the food business?
The question isn’t how we attract them; it’s how we keep them. With the onslaught of today’s food media has come unprecedented growth of cooking schools and interest in becoming chef. We must ensure that the working conditions they encounter once they enter the industry are empowering and respectful. There’s no shame in asking someone to work hard but we as managers and industry leaders must be sure that we are providing genuine opportunities for learning and advancement.