On Food Network Canada’s Star Plates, celebrity guests experience life inside the real, working kitchens of some of the world’s best chefs. But what if it was us working the line instead of celebs? Here are the 15 chefs we daydream about working for, from the pitmaster of Patagonia to the culinary historian of London and the food scientist of Toronto.
Susur Lee is arguably Canada’s most famous chef, and the education we’d get from working with this culinary savant would be truly incredible. So believe us when we say that the chance to eat Singapore slaw every day, and hang with his celebrity pals – Bobby Flay, Drake and Rihanna, to name a few – are mere bonuses.
Working with Heston Blumenthal at his restaurant, Dinner, means more than a trip to London; it means a trip through time, and the chance to learn at the table of a master culinary historian and recreationist. Imagine reveling in the tastes and sensations of King Henry VIII’s Hampton Court, minus the fuss about losing one’s head?
Not every brilliant chef is also warm, kind and generous, but Lynn Crawford is. You’ve seen her on Chopped Canada, where even her toughest criticisms are delivered gently, and we can honestly say she’s as nice in real life as she is on the screen. Plus she makes a mean beef bourguignon. Chef Crawford, can we please work with you?
What’s better than travelling the world in search of novel flavours and ingredients? Doing it with Anthony Bourdain. From his witty banter, to his zest for his adventure to his willingness to try everything, we know he’d be the perfect culinary companion for a foodie’s tour of the world and everything there is to eat in it.
Chef Michael is a pretty popular guy, but we know for a fact that he’s especially popular with moms. So if we work with him, we’ll get to fly to his fabulous Prince Edward Island inn, and convince our mom that this whole running away with chefs gig was a solid career plan.
Eden’s a born-and-bred Toronto gal, so cultivating a working friendship with her would mean we’d always have an adventurous pal to bring along while touring the culinary delights of her hometown, as well as other Canadian cities. Plus, she’s known to dance to Drake in the kitchen, meaning cooking with the Le Cordon Bleu-trained chef is sure to be a blast!
Chicago wunderchef Grant Achatz is one of the leaders of molecular gastronomy, and the talent behind Chicago’s famous Alinea restaurant. His pioneering methods may not be as popular on the culinary scene as they once were, but if we could learn to pull off green apple taffy helium balloons at home, we’re pretty sure our guests would be impressed.
Giada De Laurentiis
Learning to make perfect pasta is one of the most useful life skills we can image, and famed Italian-born chef and Food Network personality Giada de Laurentiis is just the person to teach us – ideally on set in Florence while filming Giada in Italy.
Beyond his culinary skills, which David Chang has got in spades, his season of Mind of a Chef also taught us that he’s always up for a bowl of noodles and a shot of bourbon. Bring it!
If we could learn to bring even a fraction of Anna Olson’s baking talent into our own kitchen, we’d be set for birthdays, parties and special events for the rest of our lives. Plus, Chef Olson is so consistently sweet, we’re pretty sure we’d gain a bestie for life, too.
Bobby Flay is known for his culinary wizardry as well as his intensity, but if the latter ever got too much, we know what we’d do: take a break and spend some cuddle time with his Instagram-famous cat, Nacho Flay. Also: eat all the chicken he always seems to be grilling!
Chef’s Table taught us exactly where we want to conduct our internship, with Argentine chef and BBQ-savant Frances Mallmann: on his private island in Patagonia, surrounded by snow-capped mountains, where we’ll help prep fire-roasted five-star dinners. Who’s in?
Irwin Adam Eydelnant
Edible clouds? Chewing gum that helps you focus? There’s a reason people often reference Willy Wonka when describing Toronto’s Future Food Studio founder. And no, he’s not a chef per se, but a food scientist and industry guru who could not only help us identify the future of food trends, but also score us tickets to his upcoming ice cream museum in LA.
The host of MasterChef India is a Michelin starred chef with a wealth of knowledge to share, including lessons he’s picked up working with talents like Gordon Ramsay and Bobby Flay. His elevated Indian dishes celebrate the vast traditions of that country, and we can’t wait to eat them, er, learn how to cook them.
Devon Scoble is a Toronto writer and food lover who specializes in approachable home cooking. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter at @devonscoble.