SERGE BELAIR Senior Sous Chef, Shaw Conference Centre Edmonton, Alberta
For Serge, memories of growing up in Gatineau, Quebec, include memories of food prepared and meals shared. A mom who made favourite dishes: “It was all about boudin, tête de fromage, veal liver — my dad and mom weren’t fancy eaters, but my interest, my curiosity, my plain love of food began at home.” A grandma who gave him a glimpse of what food and cooking was all about: “I was 11 or so years old and I had my first kitchen tour. I was amazed by all the shiny freezers and coolers, all the stainless steel doors, tools, pots and pans.”
The first job Serge ever had, when he finished high school, was as a kitchen helper — and he quickly knew that it was the chef’s life for him. He graduated in 1998 with his Culinary Diplome d’etude professionnelles from Commision scolaire La Vallee De La Lievre in Gatineau, Quebec. He continued his training with courses in 2002 and 2005, while developing and refining his culinary skills as sous chef at Hotel Clarion Gatineau’s Restaurant La Pergola from 1999 to 2005. During his time at the Italian-cuisine restaurant, he gained experience in delegating and supervising kitchen staff while continuing his personal and professional commitment to excellence. After leaving La Pergola, Serge was six months into a chef de partie position at Le Sans-Pareil restaurant in Hull, Quebec, when Alberta beckoned. He became chef de partie at the Shaw Conference Centre (SCC) in Edmonton in 2005, and then sous chef in 2007 and senior sous chef in 2011.
One responsibility of his current position that Serge especially enjoys is helping to create recipes for high-profile SCC events such as Gold Medal Plates, Rocky Mountain Wine & Food Festival, Festival of Trees and Snowflake Gala. His inspiration comes from wanting a better meal every day, striving to make the meal he serves today better than the one he served yesterday, andtomorrow’s better than today’s. “Cooking, for me, is like a never-ending journey that is full of flavor.