Jan Trittenbach, executive chef Pack Rat Louie

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.

Jan Trittenbach, gold medal winner at Edmonton Gold Medal Plates, is the executive chef at Pack Rat Louie (10335 83 Avenue, 780-433-0123). He operates the kitchen with 10 cooking staff.

“Everyone gets along so well, both front and back of house, we are like a big family; and my boss gives me a free hand,” says Jan.

How did a young Swiss guy end up cooking in Edmonton? It was the lure of long days and the aurora borealis of a northern Canadian summer.

“Our family loved the north,” says Jan. “To drive an hour and be in no man’s land, we loved that — so different from Europe.

“We had a vacation home in Lac la Biche. In 1990, my mother met Peter Johner (popular Edmonton chef/restaurateur). Peter said ‘when you want to come to Canada to learn English, I’ll help you.’ I cooked with Peter for four years at Pack Rat.”


Zug, Switzerland.

Years cooking?

15 years.

Where would you like to live?

I love Canada. If I was near to the mountains with a lake close by, I would love that.

Your favourite food and drink?

Steak and good red wine.

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

I’ve always been interested in the police force. I was in the army for two years. It’s mandatory in Switzerland.

What do you most appreciate in your friends?

Honesty, and I’m always happy to have a laugh with my friends.

Your favourite qualities in a dish?

I love flavours, love colours.

A cook?

Somebody who is interested and enthusiastic.

A wine?

Not too sweet, and probably a shiraz or cabernet.

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

Tennis player Roger Federer and Jennifer Love Hewitt.

Who would cook?

Gordon Ramsay.

Current culinary obsession/exploration?

Knife skills — especially anything you can do with a paring knife.

Meaningful/crazy cooking experience?

I was working in the kitchen for the Millennium New Years dinner at Hotel Suvretta House in St. Moritz. It was $1999 per person and that didn’t include the wine — 16 courses of dishes like caviar, lobster, chateaubriand.


My Dad, the way he lives and, of course, Peter Johner.

Favourite casual cheap and cheerful/afterwork food?



Positive thinking, treat people well, be open and interested.

What’s next?

The Canadian Culinary Championships in Kelowna. Eventually, I would like to open a little restaurant, because that’s where you can cook just what you want.