Shaw Conference Centre – Culinary Q & A

Standing beside Chef Sim Smotkowicz, I started to wonder if I would have ever been able to mimic this situation outside of his domain. With the duties that are required in his current position, I’m almost certain this hard working chef, coach, manager, and mentor has his time stretched so thin that it’s a premium. Born in Toulouse, France and moving to Canada in the ’70s, Chef Smotkowicz has seemingly conquered the food world.  From his City of Edmonton Civic Award to his Alberta Achievement Award to being named CCFCC National Chef of the Year in 1998, it’s clear this man takes the culinary world seriously. So with a recent adventure behind the curtains at the Shaw Conference Centre, I took every opportunity I could to learn a bit more about this internationally acclaimed chef.

Name
Chef Simon Smotkowicz

Occupation
Executive Chef, Shaw Conference Centre

How would you classify your cooking style?
Fusion

Who taught you how to cook?
My mother and grand mother

What are 5 kitchen ingredients/tools you can’t live without?
Silicone ball whisk, cast iron pot, garlic, onions, shallots

When did you realize that food was your passion? And do you have any passions outside of food?
At very early age, love to garden and build models (ships)

What is your biggest culinary guilty pleasure, something the foodies might frown upon?
None. I mostly like simple food prepared well

When feeling under the weather, what comfort food do you create?
Stews, cassoulet, lentils

Besides your own kitchen, where would you mostly like be sitting for a meal in Edmonton?
River valley

Is there anywhere you would like to live and work for additional culinary influence?
China, Vietnam

You have quite the international competition resume; do you have a fondest memory from the last 25 years?
1st gold medal in 1984 and world championship in 1992

I’ve heard you believe that ‘eating is discovery’, so with that said; are there any food trends on the horizon you would like to work with?
Yes. Assist to the best of my ability in developing local regional cuisine with locally grown and produced food products.

Finally, is there anything you want your customers to know, that they may never hear?
Yes. I think people should shop more at their local farmer markets and be more exigent of where and how the food is grown. Eat and shop locally, support your neighborhood restaurants…

Chef Simon Smotkowicz
Executive Chef, Shaw Conference Centre
9797 Jasper Avenue
Edmonton, AB
780.421.9797

Edmonton Economic Development Corporation
3rd Floor, World Trade Centre Edmonton
9990 Jasper Avenue
Edmonton, AB

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One thought on “Shaw Conference Centre – Culinary Q & A

  1. A man of little words, isn’t he. Interestingly, waaaaaaaaaay back in the mid 80’s I was teaching kindergarten at La Perle School and my class won a mother’s day contest for making the best mother’s day menus. The prize? A brunch cooked by the culinary team of Hanz Doerfler of the Four Season’s, at that time. He was the very first chef on our first Team Canada team that won our first gold medal then. I have been following them ever since. I met with Simon (he owns a Thermomix, but the way – Team Canada credits it as putting them over the top for their last major win)…for Slow Food trying to get us teamed up with his Junior Chefs and with the city chefs as he is in charge of their monthly meetings. He is just too busy to do it all… so, he never followed up. That was disappointing, but has not diminished my “awe” of him. I would LOVE to see your post of your behind the scenes tour, there.
    🙂
    Valerie

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