Chef Michael Smith is one of the biggest stars on the Food Network and travels the world exploring the best that is out there. Smith is also a down-to-earth man with a wicked sense of humour.
On Saturday Michael Smith was in Toronto to star on the main stage at the CNE's Direct Energy Building's At Home Celebrity Stage. As the crowd packed into the area Smith explained that he was going to be making chocolate chip cookies and explained why.
Years ago Smith's first cookbook to hit the shelves. He was so excited when the book hit the shelves that armed with a pen he went to the local store. Signing his books without anyone knowing Smith was having a personal thrill until he felt the gaze of a pair of eyes. Smith was up against his harshest critic -- a kid.
Smith explained that he had written the book and was signing his name in the copies on the shelf. The kid wasn't that impressed.
"What do you do?"
Smith explained that he was a big time chef. The kid was stumped. In the end Smith told the boy he made good tasting food.
"Oh, just like my mom. Got a good chocolate chip cookie recipe?"
Smith had been beaten. For all the great recipes, the detailed instructions, the tender care of getting a great meal out there was not one chocolate chip cookie recipe. He had been defeated.
Since that time all of Smith's cookbooks have at least one chocolate chip cookie recipe. The process of getting those recipes have taken him all around the world.
Michael Smith smiled as he taught the audience the secret behind a good cookie. One is not to strive for perfection. The perfect measures at not needed when it comes to a cookie. It's more important that the cookie is made with love. So forget the $39 bottle of vanilla extract and use the cheap stuff, mix it up with what types of flour you use and just to sure to add lots of those chips into the batter.
Smith had some good tips for saving money in the kitchen. One was to double up on the cheap cookie sheets. By using two on top of each other you have the same pan that would cost you a day's wages.
Talking about his current show where he travels around the world, Smith showed his wicked sense of humour. He was in Peru with his Chef Aboard series filming. One of the vegetables that are common is a root used like potatoes in Peru's Amazon Rainforest. The root is used like potatoes and also makes a milk-like drink after a week of fermenting. That drink includes chewing and spitting the root into a bucket in the preparation. It was also the milk that Smith used for testing the cookies on Saturday.
Smith is as friendly as he appears on his TV show. His time on stage was comfortable and relaxed, much like listening to a well traveled friend telling tales from the road.
He stuck around to sign his cookbook for fans with a honest smile, letting those who stayed knowing that this is a man who is very real.