Food Seattle Select Guide: Food Network celebrity chef Anthony Sedlak
In this edition, the Food Seattle Select Guide features an interview with Anthony Sedlak, the host of the Food Network series The Main. Young and innovative, Anthony Sedlak is well on his way to becoming the next up-and-coming chef superstar. Born and raised in British Columbia and still in his early 20’s, Anthony’s professional career may seem relatively short compared to that of other celebrity chefs. However, this rising young star is running circles around many local and international chefs, proving that age is no issue when it comes to knowing your food.
At only 22, Anthony was selected as Canada's representative for the 2006 Hans Bueschken World Junior Chef Challenge in Auckland where he took home a silver medal for Canada. A few months later Anthony won Food Network Canada’s Superstar Chef Challenge II.
He is currently promoting the second season of his hit TV show The Main, on the Food Network where Anthony prepares delicious rustic dishes featuring one main ingredient. He has also just released a new cookbook based on his hit TV show and titled The Main – Recipes.
Click here To view Anthony's Warm Apple Compote with Calvados and Golden Raisins and Arugula Salad with Balsamic Vinegar recipes.
FS (Food Seattle) - Christmas Dinner Spread – what will this look like?
AS (Anthony Sedlak) – I’d prepare a slow roasted pork loin, crusted in mustard and thyme. I also love Gratin Dauphinois, along with a nice rustic bread stuffing made with pine nuts and dried fruits. I’d make a beautiful wine sauce to finish it all off and end the meal with traditional pumpkin pie and whipped cream.
FS - What are some of your secrets for throwing a great holiday cocktail party?
AS - I recommend setting up little food stations throughout the house. It creates a great sense of movement in the room and helps get the guests socializing. You can create unique stations themed around a particular food; one station can be cheese, another can be fondue. Oysters on ice are always nice as it allows guests to dress them themselves. Drinks and cocktails are easily set up in the kitchen.
Try to keep it simple and do all your prep ahead of time. I highly recommend getting all your ingredients together but wait to assemble your appies (sic) once your guests arrive. This prevents the food from getting soggy or oxidized. It keeps things fresh!
FS - Where do you do most of your shopping?
AS - Primarily Granville Island and the Trout Lake Farmers market during the summer.
FS - How would you best describe your culinary style?
AS - It’s rustic with a focus on great flavors. Simplistic, Mediterranean, British pub influences. Very simple, hearty comfort foods.
FS - Biggest misconception people have regarding preparing delicious holiday meals at home?
AS - Definitely, it has to be over complication. Good food doesn’t mean it’s hard to make. People generally over complicate things. The best dishes come from great ingredients that are paired with other ingredients that compliment each other.
FS - So how does a person know what ingredients work well together and which ones don’t?
AS - You buy the book! – What I am trying to teach people is that a great meal should start from one feature ingredient and to build around it. It makes shopping for and preparing meals so much easier.
My girlfriend is notorious for buying three or four great items from the market, but nothing really goes together. When I go to the market I have one key ingredient in mind. I’ll look for seasonal ingredients like beautiful organic vine ripened tomatoes as a starting place, and then build the meal from there.
FS - What advice can you offer people who are hesitant to convert to organic ingredients (costs, availability etc)?
AS - I believe organic ingredients have their place – the organic industry is so accessible to everyone these days, it’s easy to incorporate organic ingredients into any meal.
My suggestion is to spend the money on organic ingredients that are showcased in your meal. Items that are up front and center like green beans, tomatoes, carrots etc. are great choices. I also highly recommend using organic chicken as the quality and taste is far superior to its conventional counterpart.
I don’t think there’s a need to spend money on things like organic sugar, flour or vegetables that are being used in stocks, etc. I’m also not a big fan of organic bulk products or organic beef and pork as these products can be inconsistent and the standards are not as developed.
FS - What are your top three favourite ingredients that you can’t live without?
AS - Chorizo sausage, Xeres vinegar, a good quality olive oil.
FS - From whom have you learned the most over the years?
AS - Chef Ollie Couillaud – A chef I worked with in London for two years.
FS - Biggest lesson in your career thus far?
AS - Cooking is not rocket science; we’re not saving lives here. (KISS) Keep it simple stupid – is my motto.
FS - When you are not working, how do you spend your time?
AS - I’m a big movie buff. I enjoy walking my dog, running, motorcycles, snowboarding, hanging out with my girlfriend, cooking, that kind of stuff.
FS - Personal indulgence – what would it be?
AS - Twix bars are my weakness!
By Leslie Horne
Images supplied by Anthony Sedlak
Edited by: Sheila G. LoGuisto
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