Miriam Streiman met with one of Slow Food Toronto’s gifted chefs, community leader and all around good guy, Scott Vivian, to discuss his rich culinary history, his relationship with food, and his approach to good, clean and fair cooking.
Get Scott’s delicious Cassoulet recipe in the SFT Recipe section.
MS: Scott, I don’t know much about your culinary history; can you share your journey on becoming the incredibly gifted chef that you are?
SV: I started cooking professionally in 1994; I will preface this with, I was born in Montreal, my parents moved to California when I was three years old and I lived the first part of my life there. My father worked for Coca-Cola, his job ended up moving us to Atlanta when Coca-Cola moved its headquarters. So Atlanta was basically where I started my professional cooking career. Although it was in high school that I started cooking in a professional kitchen – it was a pizza place called California Pizza kitchen. I learned how to make pizza doughs in wood-burning ovens and they also had a saute pasta side. So I briefly learned about that.
After high school, when everyone started going to college, I decided that was not for me, so I went out to Colorado. I couldn’t find a job waiting tables, and that was what I wanted to do because I heard that was where the money was. So I was forced to get a job in a kitchen. It was a small kitchen, an 11-table bistro restaurant. The chef took me under his wing. I started as a dishwasher and moved my way up learning how to cook. I signed up for a two-year apprenticeship with him. After that I moved back to Atlanta.