Menus & Entertaining

Living large with Chef Michael Smith

Author: Canadian Living

Menus & Entertaining

Living large with Chef Michael Smith

With three successful shows on Food Network Canada – The Inn Chef, Chef at Large and Chef at Home – culinary awards from the likes of the James Beard Foundation and a new show, Chef Abroad starting in Fall 2008, it’s easy to see why Chef Michael Smith is a Canadian culinary icon.

In addition, he's heading up this year's much-anticipated Fall Flavours festival in P.E.I. - 136 culinary events across the island in 6 days.

But maybe it’s just his incredible six-foot-eight frame that keeps him heads above the competition . . .

CanadianLiving.com: You are currently filming a new show, can you tell us a little about it?
Chef Michael Smith: Chef Abroad is a Global Culinary Adventure show. I’m on a mission to visit 65 countries exploring food stories everywhere I go.

CL.com: Do you find that the different food cultures that you get exposed to in your travels influence your cooking at home?
MS: The food I find often does end up on our table at home.

CL.com: You just got back from Amsterdam for your new show, do you enjoy travelling?
MS: I love travelling, I love waking up in one city and going to sleep in another.

CL.com: Have you always wanted to be a chef?
MS: I originally wanted to be an artist and went to art school, fortunately I stumbled onto the only art form that challenges all five senses.

CL.com: What were some of your favourite childhood dishes?
MS: My mom’s spaghetti and meatballs and fresh baked Italian bread.

CL.com: Do you have a cooking trademark?
MS: Using the ingredients of the season and region, cooking with what's around me, Canadian Cuisine.

CL.com: What are some of your favourite cookware items, items you couldn’t be without in the kitchen?
MS: My microplane grater for grating frozen ginger into a powder and my roll up garlic peeler.

CL.com: Do you have any foodie pet peeves?
MS: Pretentious restaurant menus that sound better than they are.

CL.com: In your program Chef at Large you did quite a bit of travelling and working in new environments, was there any experience that was more memorable than the rest?
MS: I’m an outdoor guy so my favourite Chef at Large episodes tend to be the wilderness adventures.  One of my favourites was the time we helicoptered onto a glacier in Alaska, followed the melt water until it became a stream, then eventually tossed rafts in and headed for the pacific cooking the whole way.

CL.com: What is your favourite dish to cook at home?
MS: Fresh bread.

CL.com: Is there any chef that you would love to work with?
MS: Alice Waters (Chef of Chez Panisse in Berkley California)

CL.com: Is your son a picky eater, and any ideas on how to sneak in the vegetables for picky kids?
MS: Although my son is only six years old he is an adventurous eater.  The key with him is to have carrot, celery and bell pepper sticks ready as soon as he comes in the door. I also often make a simple tomato sauce and simmer and puree carrots and zucchini into it as well.

CL.com: Would you ever do a show like Iron Chef?
MS: In a heartbeat.

Read more:
• Michael Smith's recipe for Slow-Baked Salmon with Carrot Cucumber Salad
• Michael Smith's menu for a Dad-pleasing meal
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Living large with Chef Michael Smith

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