MENU Magazine is thrilled to shine a light on RC Show’s 2022 Garland Canada Culinary Competition 2nd Place Winner: Chef Michael Roszell, Chef de Cuisine at Quaaout Lodge and Spa, in Chase, British Columbia.
Spending his entire childhood in Whitehorse, Yukon, Chef Michael Roszell discovered his joy of cooking as a teenager when struggles with his self-image compelled him to become more mindful of what he ate. That’s when food clicked for him. He was also lucky enough to be surrounded by many great influences, such as his mother who grew her own food and prepared everything by scratch, to his food and nutrition teacher in high school. “They all encouraged me to pursue my passion for cooking and gave me opportunities to grow,” he says. “It’s why I’m here 12 years later.”
For Chef Roszell making connections in and outside of the kitchen is one of the main reasons he entered the restaurant and hospitality industry. It’s also what motivated him to enter the 2022 Restaurant CanadaShow’s Garland Culinary Competition. “I love competitions because they build connections with our fellow competitors and all the many wonderful individuals who are involved. I use competitions as an opportunity to grow my skills and push my abilities,” he says. The opportunity to build his reputation within the industry is another reason he got involved. “I’ve met some people who I’ve heard very highly of and it’s such an honor to be part of the process.”The annual competition which cumulates in a live competition at the RestaurantCanada Show–Canada’s largest hospitality trade show and conference-supportsCanada’s thriving and passionate culinary competition by showcasing top emerging talent. This year’s event included both a virtual and live component, with each round challenging chefs to craft a dish reflecting the theme of“Revival”, striking a balance between profitability, quality and sustainability.
“Revival to me is what practices we should do today to make sure we are here for the long run,” he says. “Whether that’s being mindful of where we get our ingredients from so we’re not increasing the carbon levels in the atmosphere to how we treat our employees to ensure we actually have employees, to making sure we’re taking care of our own selves so we can continue to do what we love.”
Chef Roszell’s strategy for the live competition was to focus on highlighting the ingredients, preparing a roast chicken with a coriander and mustard green stuffing, with lightly curried and braised sun choke, finished with yogurt and lightly pickled cauliflower. Working in restaurants as a dishwasher and prep cook since he was a teenager, Chef Roszell moved to Vancouver and obtained his Pastry and Culinary Arts Diploma from the Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts while also working at the Four Seasons Hotel with renowned Canadian culinary talent, Chef Ned. After graduating, he worked at Forage Restaurant in the Listel Hotel, further cultivating and refining his skills in the pastry craft. After a few years and seeking a new adventure, Chef Roszell moved to Edinburgh Scotland, spending two years working under the tutelage of Chef Tom Kitchin in his many Michelin star rated restaurants.
Eventually getting a bit homesick, he made his way back to Canada, landing a spot at Pear Tree in Vancouver where he remained for three years and where his love of cooking competitions was ignited. He represented Canada in the 2017 Chaindes Rôtisseurs Young Chefs Rôtisseurs Competition, placing fourth overall and placing third overall in the 2018 Hawksworth Young Chef Scholarship Competition, winning the award for best dessert. Currently, he is the Chef de Cuisine at Quaaout Lodge and Resort in Chase, British Columbia, where he works with local suppliers to “show off the bounty of this wonderful area, while mentoring local cooks to help level up the culinary scene here, one with such untapped potential.”
Chef Roszell tries to maintain a balance in his life by keeping his hands in a few different activities. He loves to hunt and forage, practicing his knowledge of plants and mushrooms. “This helps keep me connected to the land and nurture my appreciation of where we get our food,” he says. Not many know he also plays a mean bagpipe, recently joining the Kamloops Pipe Band Society where he enjoys entering -not surprisingly- band competitions. Finally spending quality time with his partner and stepson, perhaps playing paintball, a family favourite, helps him to focus on his mental health and forget about the stresses from the hectic nature of his day-to-day life.
“Revival to me is what practices we should do today to make sure we are here for the long run,”
Currently, tomatoes and onions are in high rotation in Chef Roswell’s kitchen: “Tomatoes are simply the best, from salads, to sauces and preserves. Not to mention the hundreds of varieties! I always have various forms of tomato preserves in our house. Our personal favorite is my fermented horseradish and tomato jam.” He’s also into slow cooking tougher cuts of meat such as cheeks, short ribs or shoulder due to the amazing flavour and texture they render.
He shares with us a Beef Short Rib recipe, slow cooked for 48 hours, seasoned with an Onion and Pine Mushroom Powder and Balsamic Vinegar Glaze with Parmesan Crusted Onion Rings and Green Beans prepared“Caesar Salad Style. “I love the patience it takes to produce something that takes hours and hours to prepare and cook, ”he says.“This industry means everything to me, as hard as it can be I couldn’t imagine being in any other industry. It’s made me who I am, and I am proud of that.”
Click here for Chef Michael Roszell’s delicious Braised Short-Rib with Malt Vinegar Glaze, Parmesan Crusted Walla Walla Onion Rings with Green Bean “Caesar Salad Style” recipe! ________
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