Mediaplanet: What inspired you to become a chef?

Michael Smith: I first began cooking to make car payments in university, but kept cooking because I loved the creative challenge and the art of hospitality.

MP: Who are your culinary heroes?

MS: I’m inspired by all the family cooks out there that relentlessly forge on in their kitchens cooking healthy, tasty, and real food for their families.

MP: What advice would you give to families looking to start cooking together?

MS: Don’t confuse ‘unfamiliar’ with ‘difficult’, just carve out the time and do it. You may stumble here or there, but with a graceful spirit everything you do will be worthwhile.

"We are past the head-scratching wonderment of discovering our own culinary identity and well into celebrating it."

MP: What are some of your favourite dishes to eat when you’re visiting Ontario?

MS: I love seeing what Ontario chefs are doing with all of our famous Prince Edward Island seafood. I also love trying out all the amazing ethnic foods that lend so much to our culinary diversity.

SEE ALSO: The people of Simcoe county are Embracing Sustainable Agriculture.

MP: What makes Canada’s food culture so unique?

MS: Canada’s many cuisines add up to one great big shining national culinary identity that reflects our diverse agriculture, fishery, food artisans, chefs, and incredibly diverse ethnic food culture.

MP: What do you see for the future of culinary arts in Canada?

MS: Canada is getting more comfortable in its own skin. We are past the head-scratching wonderment of discovering our own culinary identity and well into celebrating it. We are embracing more ethnic flavours than ever before and we are gradually coming to terms with the ruinous effects of processed food.

MP: You have a book called Family Meals that just launched, tell us what its about.

MS: Family Meals shares all the lessons I’ve learned cooking every day for my family. It’s packed with real-world recipes and ideas to help you incorporate simple cooking into your family’s food lifestyle.