Internationally-renowned master chef, Prince Edward Island’s food ambassador, award-winning TV host and best-selling author… Amazing to think it all began with the need to pay for a new car. Chef Michael Smith, then an art student, realized he was taking the wrong major right after his big purchase. “The easiest job to get was in a restaurant and it just went from there. While I was simultaneously discovering I wasn’t into art school, I was discovering how much I loved the artistry and creative aspects of cooking.”
After graduating with honours from the prestigious Culinary Institute of America, Chef Michael worked in restaurants around the world—from London to South America to the Caribbean. He finally landed on Prince Edward Island at The Inn at Bay Fortune. Some 25 years later, after three internationally-broadcast hit cooking shows, eight chart-topping cookbooks (including his latest, Family Meals), travelling the globe for speaking engagements, teaching and production, this New York City native considers P.E.I. home.
“This place, to me, is the best place on the planet. To live and be a part of a community and raise my kids… My values are here in the sort of small town community feel, knowing the people around you and knowing them by name and knowing their families—being a part of something that matters.”
He’s growing his business on P.E.I too. Culinart Limited, his food media production company, is located in Fortune, and just this summer he opened Chef Michael’s Flavour Shack on the new Souris Beach boardwalk. Agreeing to be a part of that development was win-win. Smith knew he’d be providing a much requested spot for his fans to connect and he’d be supporting the community he loves so much plus developing some retail skills along the way.
“We are gearing up to do other things bricks and mortar wise in this community and we have learned tremendously this summer. Not only did we sell a whole bunch of cookbooks profitably, and anchor that development and bring tons and tons of cars to Eastern P.E.I., and not only did we make all those fans happy, but we also learned a lot about retailing and selling my stuff and how to engage and interact with our guests and customers.”
The ever-engaging Chef Michael Smith—always cooking up something successful!
A numbers game…
ONE best piece of life advice? Relax in the kitchen.
TWO for the road: cross country car trip–who’s your co-pilot? My wife Chazz.
THREE for the show: your choice triple bill–what’s playing? Ratatouille (2007), Chef (2014) and Barton Fink (1991).
FOUR seasons: which one is your favourite? Summer. As a proud Islander, it’s so nice to see the island come alive and welcome folks from all over the world.
FIVE-alarm fire: five things you would take? Assuming my family is out and safe, I’d grab my journal that’s been around the world and back with me, the little treasure box in my closet with a lifetime’s worth of knickknacks and stories, my iPhone stuffed with our family’s pictures, my mom’s copy of The Joy of Cooking that she gave me years ago and that bottle of 1983 Petrus in the cellar!