Canadian Chefs Profiled: Amanda Skidmore, Nelson BC

by Krlmagi

Chef Amanda Skidmore combines the Nelson region's abundance of local products with a respect for seasonality and a love of bold flavour at All Seasons Café in Nelson BC.

Chef Amanda Skidmore's interest in taking the culinary path was driven by her upbringing. Her family always had a garden and grew their own food so she got to see where it came from at an early age. Her interest in cooking started around the same time. Her family had a large spice cupboard so she'd take all of the spices out, cook with them and learn about all of their various flavours.

Chef Amanda Skidmore
Chef Amanda Skidmore
David Gluns

Along with her family’s passion for food, Skidmore was influenced by watching the Two Fat Ladies cooking on television and her studies at the Pacific Institute for Culinary Arts. The Two Fat Ladies taught her to love food and culinary school taught her how to treat that food well.

Skidmore takes a simple approach to food and cooking. Her approach starts off with the seasonal ingredients that she has available to her. After that, she looks at the flavours that complement the fish, berries and vegetables that are in season. She also considers what people love to eat and what she loves to cook. Love is something she relays on every plate that she sends out.

The chef's creative process is encapsulated by her line-caught yellowfin tuna dish. She crusted the tuna in sesame seeds and kalonji seeds before she seared it and accompanied it with a pineapple chutney, arugula, papadums and toasted cumin aioli. She was fascinated by the health benefits of combining fish and kalonji seeds and adds, "It was fun, it was fresh and the dish inspired me!”

Menu creation is a collaborative effort in Skidmore's kitchen. She sits down with her team for every menu change and they discuss all of the things that are fueling their creative inspiration. They collaborate on these ideas and decide what they want to do as a team.

Talking to local farmers is another important part of Skidmore's menu writing process. She explains, “There are so many great farms around here. I get excited and I can’t wait until new things come up.”

Braised Berkshire pork belly, seared Atlantic scallop, mango-red pepper relish, local daikon shoots
Braised Berkshire pork belly, seared Atlantic scallop, mango-red pepper relish, local daikon shoots
Prawns stuffed with Macedonian feta, fresh herbs,red pepper, roasted garlic, saffron aioli, roasted Roma tomato
Prawns stuffed with Macedonian feta, fresh herbs,red pepper, roasted garlic, saffron aioli, roasted Roma tomato

The chef's focus on seasonal, local products drives her to develop good relationships with farmers. She visits their farms to see what they're growing, connects with the farmers who visit her at the restaurant or networks with farmers while visiting farmers markets.

In terms of the farmers' products, she's looking for quality and consistency. She likes to know about where her products come from so she can tell her guests the story of the ingredients. She says, "Its a fluid motion from the farm to the table."

Respect is one of the biggest traits that Skidmore hopes to embody as a chef. She extends that respect to her team and the guests eating in the restaurant. Skidmore also strives for good communication between her team members while trying to have fun and maintain a positive attitude.

She says, “I want my team to be inspired and passionate about what they’re doing. I want them to give back the energy that I put out to them.”


Being a chef is its own reward for Skidmore. She says, “I love food and I love cooking. When I’m cooking, I’m in my happy place. I’m being paid to do what I love. Another big part that motivates me is that I want to teach younger people, even little kids about where their food comes from.”

Seared yellowfin tuna, sesame & kalonji seed crust, arugula, papadums,charred pineapple & tomato chutney, toasted cumin aioli
Seared yellowfin tuna, sesame & kalonji seed crust, arugula, papadums,charred pineapple & tomato chutney, toasted cumin aioli
Updated: 07/04/2015, Krlmagi
 
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ElaineH on 04/17/2016

The All Season's Cafe has been on my must hit list for the next time I'm in Nelson. Now I definitely won't pass up the opportunity! The food looks and sounds amazing. I love the attention to health and flavour combinations!

Wes Smith on 11/14/2015

My Daughter works with Amanda and her team. I hear a lot about the creative side of Amanda...I hear more about the way Amanda treats every one she meets with respect.....

dustytoes on 07/01/2015

I love that she works with local farmers to create her dishes. And the food looks splendid! I'm ready to eat.

Mira on 06/30/2015

I'd like to try that second dish :) Nice presentation!

Hippy on 06/02/2015

Respect! I know this lady is all about it as I have had the good luck to work with her. Of all the chefs I have worked with Amanda has always treated me with respect In my over ten years of cooking she is the best example of a good boss and chef I have ever worked for. Thanks Amanda you deserve all the respect any chef has ever earned.

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