Brad Smoliak, Kitchen

In the late nineteenth century, French novelist Marcel Proust participated in an exercise, which could be thought of as the Facebook of its era — he answered a questionnaire about himself in a friend’s Confession Album.

Proust’s answers have been published, in one form or another, for more than a century. Many have used the questionnaire for their own devices, the most notable being Vanity Fair’s Proust Questionnaire featuring celebrities. The Tomato now gives it a culinary twist.

Chef Brad Smoliak has worked in many kitchens: professional, research, home kitchens. His latest venture is Kitchen by Brad Smoliak, which will house his research and development business. It’s also a place to gather with other chefs, to do cooking classes, have wine and food nights. His approach is straightforward — it’s about the people. “The food is there to help the people enjoy themselves. I like to keep it simple.”



Years cooking?


Where would you like to live?


Your favourite food and drink?

Italian — spaghetti and meatballs, red wine.

What would you be doing if you weren’t cooking?

Hairdresser, or a tailor.

What do you most appreciate in your friends?

Honesty… no, that’s not true — that they are fun to hang out with.

Your favourite qualities in a dish?

Flavour and taste. A dish can look great, but if it doesn’t taste good, forget it.

A cook?

Someone willing to learn but who also understands the importance of fundamentals.

A wine?


Who would be at your dream dinner table (dead or alive)?

My dad, Fred Flinstone and Dean Martin.

Who would cook?


Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

‘How do you think that makes me feel?’ and ‘Are you out of your mind?’

Current culinary obsession/exploration?

Growing San Marzano tomatoes.

Meaningful/crazy cooking experience?

The kooky experience was the 2010 Olympics — no kitchen, no trained staff — it was crazy!

The most meaningful is cooking with my son Nicholas.

Best (cooking) thing that ever happened to you?

Opening the Hardware Grill.


My dad, and Jacques Pepin.

Favourite casual cheap and cheerful/afterwork food?

Ragazzi pizza.


Don’t get so wrapped up in the food. Enjoy food for pleasure and as a catalyst for enjoying the people.

What’s next?

Getting my research chef certification (CRC) at the end of March. This is the marriage of science and the culinary arts — less than 20 people in Canada have this certification. I’ve been working towards it for about four years. I’ll be happy to put it behind me.

And the development of Kitchen; the theme is having fun in the kitchen.