Do you ever get that fluttery feeling in your stomach? You know the one. Where your insides get all topsy turvy and you feel a wee bit nauseous? Well, that’s what I felt, when my phone rang and on the other line I hear “Hi Pina, this is Anthony Sedlak from Food Network’s The Main”. Eeeek! Now, while I did manage retain some sort of composure talking to Anthony (uh huh that’s right, we’re on a first name basis now), when I got off the phone it was a completely different scenario.

If you watch Food Network then you have seen this up and coming culinary star work his magic in the kitchen.

Anthony Sedlak - Food Network The Main
Anthony Sedlak - Food Network The Main

The Main has been airing on Food Network Canada since 2007 and has an edgy kind of rock and roll feel to it. It’s got a fresh, young, high energy vibe to it and the meals are never overly complicated. Host, Anthony Sedlak, takes one ingredient and makes it the centre of attention.

“It’s taking something complicated and making it easy,” explains Anthony. “The whole premise of the show is that we wanted to focus on one main ingredient, every day stuff. The goal is to give the viewer the tools to be creative with every day ingredients.”

The show is simply, as Anthony likes to say, “to cook dam good food”. You won’t see a lot of trends on The Main. So I asked Anthony what his thoughts were on the latest food trend for all things local.

“I’m all for local,” he explains. “It’s a luxury that I can go to the market and pick up passion fruit or Ahi tuna. Should we never use it? No. But the majority of our eating should be focused on local. Would I limit myself to eating only within 100 miles? No. I do believe in eating foods that are produced locally but there’s nothing wrong with accenting that with ingredients made around the world. It’s lovely to have variety.”

Born in Prince George, British Columbia, Anthony grew up in North Vancouver and at an early age was provided an opportunity he couldn’t refuse.

“When I turned 13 I told my mom I wanted a snowboard pass. My mom said get a job as a bus boy at Grouse Mountain.”

And so he did. Thus beginning his love affair with food, cooking, the kitchen and, of course, providing him with a free snowboard pass to the resort.  Soon enough, Anthony was working his way through the ranks gaining knowledge, skill and technique.

“It was the atmosphere in the kitchen that attracted me,” says Anthony. “At about 16 or 17 I started getting praise for the work I was doing and that felt good so I wanted to pursue it. The passion for the food grew. At 19, I decided to go to Europe and cooked in a prestigious restaurant in London, England.”

Sounds pretty ambitious? Well, he didn’t just stop there. By the time he was ready to jet for Europe, he had completed a culinary arts program and a four year apprenticeship.

“There was always a next job to aspire to” he says about his time at Grouse Mountain. “I loved the working environment because I was younger than most people, I was always the youngest person in the establishment. It was cool working with older people. Everyone looked out for me.”

In 2006, at the age of 22, he was selected to represent Canada at the Hans Bueschken World Junior Chef Challenge in New Zealand and came in second place. That same year, Anthony competed in Food Network’s Superstar Chef Challenge and won, earning him his very own food show, The Main.

“I was told very young if you want to succeed, work with people that have what you want and also associate yourself with people that are better than you,” says Anthony. “I know that’s not a good phrase, but I always put myself next to people that are succeeding, that had what I wanted. I was always putting myself with the best.”

Anthony Sedlak will be in Windsor on May 1st as part of the Critics Panel for the Big Brothers/Big Sisters annual Battle of Hors D’Oeuvres. And joining Anthony on the panel will be…ahem…me! On behalf of WindsorEats of course, and not some star struck admirer.

Battle of Hors D'Oeuvres
Battle of Hors D'Oeuvres

Tickets for the event this Friday are $100 each and are still available by calling 519-945-6232 extension 13. Aside from being a fantastic event, the proceeds go to a worthy organization. And, don’t forget, you can always check out Anthony’s show The Main on Food Network Canada or get a taste by picking up his new cookbook titled “The Main”.

WindsorEats will also be twittering live from the event and you’ll be able to twitter your question to Anthony and have it answered!  We’ll let you know more about this before Friday’s event, so stay tuned.