In last night’s season finale of Top Chef Canada, Chef Terry Salmond (alongside Chef Rich Francis) said a sad goodbye to the competition. The Toronto-born, self-trained chef definitely ‘started from the bottom’ and quickly worked his way up the food chain, even working with famed Chef Susur Lee at Susur. Though he’s left Top Chef Canada, we can’t wait to see what’s next for Chef Terry Salmond. Let’s see what this well-rounded chef had to say about his experience on Top Chef Canada…
How was your experience on Top Chef Canada?
The experience was incredible. Cooking in such a high energy competition and learning to grow so rapidly made me energized in a way that I have not yet fully appreciated.
What were the biggest challenges and best rewards about being a part of the show?
It was tough going into this competition knowing that there was nothing to hide; most chefs have a chip on their shoulder and I am no different. Knowing that all my mistakes and shortcomings were going to be part of the show was a scary thought. The rewards are undeniably the coolest a chef could hope for: cooking with the best young chefs in the country, getting quality face time with culinary legends to critique my food and techniques, and a shot at a hundred grand doesn’t hurt either!
What are you most excited about for the future?
I am so happy with my career; there have been so many unique experiences that it is hard to nail down what I want to focus on. The hotel I work for is growing and the opportunities are many. I get a lot of pressure to move to Toronto and open a restaurant, but the truth is there are lots of killer places to eat in T.O. and I would just be another drop in the bucket. I like my lifestyle and I intend to keep it simple. There is certainly a restaurant in the future, but not before some serious R&D – I intend to be well prepared for an undertaking like that.
Tell us about your audition video – what was the inspiration?
I didn’t really have any particular message to get across, I just wanted to show them what I do for a living. I mean it’s assumed I am a chef but I wanted them to see me at work talking about the processes and working in the space.
Why do you think the team at Top Chef Canada picked your audition tape?
I still don’t know why they picked my tape out of a ton of possible candidates. I got a chance to ask one of the producers when he knew I was going to be on the show and without hesitation he said it was during my cooking interview. I have a big personality and I am aware that it probably had a lot to do with getting my foot in the door.
Can you give any tips to chefs who aspire to be on Top Chef Canada?
Getting on the show seems to be a good combination of personality and skill, but mostly skill. You have to be who you are, they are looking for real people with real passion and adaptability. You can’t fake that.
What is your favourite food/dish?
I always had a fascination with Asian cuisine in all of its scope. The ingredients always seemed so foreign; as a kid I guess I was drawn to that. I am a sucker for good ramen – I love noodles in all their forms and I never tire of them. But there is nothing more comforting to me than curry. A staple in our house as a kid served with roti and pepper sauce. Mmm…
Finish this sentence. I love Toronto because…
…there is always a greasy spoon serving eggs, bacon and coffee – anytime day or night. My brother Rob and I used to go hunting for the best in the city, and we always kept our favourite ones to ourselves and a few close friends. They became our “spots” for after-party hang-outs and late night philosophical conversations.
What are three things you can’t live without?
Family members aside? My bicycle, espresso, and books. Not just cookbooks, but all books: biography, fiction, technical anything and everything. I have even read my share of Nora Roberts and Tom Clancy.
What are some of your favourite restaurants and why?
Right now I go to Terroni whenever I am in Toronto; they have great food and great service. I like that I can spend a little or a lot and still feel like I got a good value for my meal. I just ate at Richmond Station last week. Carl Heinrich is a culinary legend and his food and space reflect his level of attention. His team has mastered simplicity and excellence, all around a great experience.
Let’s get social for a mo’. How can people stay up-to-date with all your globe-trotting?
I just launched a site, terrysalmond.com. It’s nothing crazy, more of a hub to tie together the action at the Kitchener Farmers Market, the Walper Hotel where I work, and any culinary events I might be attending. It ties into The Peoples Republic of Dinner, which is a group we started to help people get the best food experiences through sharing and community projects, as well as my work with Camp Omagh, a faith-based kids’ camp near Milton. It is run entirely on donations and volunteer work. And don’t be afraid to reach out to me on Twitter!
Check out Chef Terry Salmond’s audition tape below…
Who do you think should’ve taken home the big win? Let us know in the comments below or tweet us @ViewTheVibe.