We first met Danny Smiles on season three of Top Chef Canada, where he made it all the way to the finale. Now, he’s co-starring in Chuck and Danny’s Road Trip, alongside friend and fellow Montreal chef, Chuck Hughes, airing Fridays at 9 E/P. When he’s not on the road, Smiles is the chef de cuisine at Le Bremner — a Montreal hot spot with a seafood-forward menu. Find out more about this culinary talent.
Started From The Bottom Now He's Here
His first job in the food industry was working in the dish pit of his family’s hotel when he was in high school. Since that humble beginning, he has staged under Michelin star chefs in Italy, made it to the finale of season three of Top Chef Canada and is now the chef de cuisine at Le Bremner, one of the hottest restaurants in Montreal, which is owned by Chuck Hughes.
He Doesn't Hate the Toronto Maple Leafs...Anymore
Danny has admitted several times in the past about his lack of “appreciation” for the Toronto Maple Leafs. (He’s a die-hard Habs fan — Duh!) What changed his mind? Maple Leafs Wunderkind Auston Matthews. Both of his sous chefs at Le Bremner are from Toronto, not to mention are hard core Leafs fans. “It’s nice to see them excited about Auston Matthews. I think they have good players. [They’re] a good team.” He still doesn’t want them to win the cup, though.
Danny's Drive-Thru Guilty Pleasure
“You’ll never beat an In-N-Out burger.”
He’s not the only chef to rave about this American burger chain. Anthony Bourdain calls In-N-Out his favourite restaurant in L.A. But it’s a bit of tease since the popular burger joint is only in the US. Danny snapped this photo of his animal style Double-Double burger while in the US last year. If you’re in Montreal, Danny recommends going to the amazing Uniburger for burgers, fries and shakes.
He's Trained in Milan Under a Michelin-Starred Chef
A stage is when a chef apprentices for another chef to gain valuable culinary experience. Danny was fortunate enough to stage in Milan for renowned Italian Chef Gualtiero Marchesi. Chef Marchesi is the first non-French chef to be awarded three Michelin stars.
If Not In The Kitchen, On The Soccer Field
When Danny first started working in a kitchen, he knew without a doubt he was going to be a chef. But before he heard the kitchen calling, his dream job was a soccer midfielder. He’s still in love with the beautiful game, spending two weeks this past winter in Italy, eating his way through the country’s northern regions and going to soccer games.
Parli Italiano? Si!
In addition to speaking French and English as a native Montrealer, Danny also speaks Italian (he’s of Italian descent and learned the language from his family). He honed his Italian language skills while staging in Italy and on his many trips to Rome. Here, Danny shows us the right way to imbibe an espresso on his trip to Rome last year. More on Rome in the next slide!
Mangia, Mangia, When in Rome
We’re sensing an Italian theme with Danny, so it comes as no surprise that Rome is his favourite city for food anywhere in the world. “Italians really know how to host,” he adds. And what to mangiare when in the Eternal City? Danny’s favourite Roman dish is cacio e pepe, a deceptively simple pasta with cracked black pepper and grated cheese, typically Pecorino Romano.
His Culinary Hero is Ferran Adria
Ferran Adria is a Catalan chef most famous for pioneering molecular gastronomy at El Bulli, named one of the best restaurants in the world before it closed in 2011.
“I’m not a molecular gastronomist but I enjoy reading about his thought process towards cooking.” Danny does have something in common with his culinary hero: They both started out as dishwashers in the industry. He also had the privilege of having Chef Adria eat at Le Bremner. No stress, Danny!
His Love For Music Began Before He Was Born
Besides food and soccer, Danny is really passionate about music. Before becoming a chef, he played in an indie band that toured across Canada.
His first concert ever was Michael Jackson, but there’s a slight technicality; he wasn’t born yet. His mom was nine months pregnant with him when she went to the MJ concert, but she knew Danny was having a good time because he wouldn’t stop kicking during the show. Maybe he was practicing his moon walk?
Led Zeppelin: Go-To Road Trip Soundtrack
In Chuck & Danny’s Road Trip, Danny hits the road across Canada with his best bud and fellow chef Chuck Hughes. Every road trip needs some good tunes and for Danny, his must-have road trip music is anything by Led Zeppelin.