Interview with Chefs Anna and Michael Olson

by Richard Wolak on March 2, 2010

Chef’s Table is a series of Interviews with some of the top chefs in North America.

I had the pleasure of meeting this culinary duo Chef Anna & Michael Olson when they were in Vancouver on February 23rd for a food and wine pairing event at the Olympics. Celebrity chef Anna Olson is host of the Food Network television shows, ‘Sugar’ and ‘Fresh with Anna Olson’, seen in Canada as well as in 40 countries worldwide. Husband, Chef and Culinary Instructor Michael Olson has devoted his time to teaching and cooking.

Would You Say that you specialize in Canadian cooking?

Although we are European trained chefs, we use seasonal and local ingredients in our cooking and we believe that is how Canadian cooking is defined.

How would you describe Canadian cuisine?

No strong definition, as we are ethically diverse. There is nothing wrong with stereotypes.

What 5 Ingredients would we find in your Home pantry?

Well it is more like the 5 types of foods that we have at home, these include:

  • Half a dozen different types of mustards
  • Obscure condiments such as South Asian pickles, Cherry blossom salt
  • Selection of baking additives such as high end vanillas, fresh spices
  • Smoked Paprika
  • Ovaltine

How did you Anna and your husband Michael meet?

Michael went to school in 1984 studying cooking in Toronto, Ottawa and Niagara. I arrived in 1995, we were both colleagues who then become involved in a personal relationship. Since that time we both have worked together well, and we both have different interests and strengths. Michael specializes in meats, fish and sauces; and I specialize in pastry.

When eating out in restaurants what type of food do you both eat currently?

For us it changes by the season, currently we both love Korean BBQ.

Have you ever owned your own restaurant?

We used to own a restaurant and also a bakery/cafe which we sold recently. Now we can focus on our tv shows and writing cookbooks.

What’s Next on your Culinary Journey?

More travel with visits to Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines, and south America; and more television.

By: Richard Wolak

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