Michael P. Clive: 'Anthony Sedlak was Canada's Jamie Oliver'
Published Monday, July 9, 2012 10:01AM EDT
Last Updated Monday, July 9, 2012 9:44PM EDT
Celebrity chef Anthony Sedlak was a rising star on Canada’s culinary world. Sadly, his promising future was cut short on Friday, when Sedlak passed away at the age of 29.
Sedlak died on July 6 in Vancouver from an undiagnosed medical condition, according to a statement issued on Monday by the chef’s family.
“It is with a heavy heart that we share this news with our Food Network Canada community,” the network said on Monday in a blog posted on its website.
“We were first introduced to Anthony in 2005 on the set of ‘Superstar Chef Challenge’ where he wowed us all with his warm personality, passion for his craft and skill in the kitchen,” the network wrote.
Since that 2005 encounter, Sedlak became well known as the host of the Food Network Canada show, “The Main,” and as a judge on “Family Cook Off.”
Sedlak’s 2008 cookbook, “The Main,” also went on to become a national bestseller.
Sedlak’s passion for food began at the age of 13, when he started bussing at a cafeteria at the B.C. ski destination, Grouse Mountain.
That passion carried the B.C native through a Culinary Arts Program and a four-year apprenticeship at Vancouver Community College, which Sedlak completed by the tender age of 19.
“He was young, but he was seasoned,” said Canada AM decor expert Karl Lohnes.
In recent years, the two had appeared at home and garden shows. Though they did not share the same stage on these occasions, Lohnes got to know Sedlak and was impressed by the young chef’s skills and enthusiasm.
“Anthony was always extremely excited about what he did, in part because of his youth but also because it was his essence. He approached cooking with an exuberance and innocence that was so refreshing,” Lohnes told CTVNews.ca on Monday.
That charm was unmistakable on April 12, 2012, during Sedlak’s last appearance on CTV’s Canada AM. On that occasion, Sedlak delighted the show’s co-hosts and viewers as he whipped up a delicious wood smoked salmon on air.
Sedlak’s youthful energy and distinctive cooking style was also noted by his contemporaries, including Canadian chef Michael P. Clive.
“I saw Anthony as the Jamie Oliver of Canada,” Clive told CTVNews.ca on Monday.
“Anthony wanted to inspire people to getting into the kitchen and have fun,” Clive during a phone call from Collingwood, Ont.
Like Lohnes, Clive had interacted with Sedlak at various home shows across the country.
Their first encounter was at a home show in Alberta five years ago. Even then, Clive was impressed by Sedlak’s preparation skills.
“Whatever he did, Anthony’s preparation skills were spot on,” said Clive.
Clive was also taken by Sedlak’s love of simplicity in the kitchen.
“Anthony approached food without any pretension,” said Clive.
“He never bogged people down with endless steps in a recipe. He kept things fast and fun, but approachable,” he said.
A strong supporter of the local food movement, Sedlak was one of the first chefs in Canada to showcase local B.C. fare in his recipes.
“Anthony was really ahead of the curve with the use of local foods, and that helped make him a star in B.C.,” said Clive.
Sedlak’s body was discovered in his North Vancouver apartment at 7:00 p.m. PST, although the exact time of death has yet to be determined.
A private funeral for the family will be held in Vancouver.
Despite the tragedy, Sedlak’s legacy will live on, said Lohnes.
“Anthony wasn’t even 30 and yet built a successful career and attracted new foodies everywhere he went. Anthony had achieved a lot in life,” said Lohnes.
“It’s a tragedy to lose him at such a young age, but those achievements were an inspiration. They will be remembered,” he said.