Lynn was born into a Scottish family in Willowdale, Ontario and later moved during her high school years to nearby Richmond Hill. Her father was a butcher, and while they grew up on simple comfort foods he exposed his two children early to all the world has to offer in food and wine. While studying fine art at Ontario's University of Guelph, she realized she had missed her true calling and decided on changing paths to become a professional chef. While cooking for friends in her apartment after class, she was always looking to create challenging and complicated dishes. She loved to go to the farmer's markets and would buy secondhand cookbooks and back issues of Gourmet magazine from the fifties and sixties. I think she sounds like a lot of food bloggers!!!!
Therefore she quit university and moved to Toronto to enroll in George Brown College’s acclaimed culinary program. During her studies, she explored Toronto’s finest restaurants, honing her skills and receiving classical training from the city’s premier chefs. When she graduated she went to California to apprentice in restaurants with two of our best known icons... Alice Waters and the late Barbara Troop.
If you’re a fan of Food Network Canada, then Lynn Crawford is a familiar face to you. Lynn is best known from Restaurant Makeover. Pegged as Canada’s Top Female Chef, she has worked for the Four Seasons for 19 years in several of the hotel chain's prestigious properties, including Nevis, Montreal, Vancouver and Toronto. Lynn received tremendous media attention as the executive chef of Four Seasons Hotel in New York City, where she was the only female executive chef for a Four Seasons property in the world. She appeared on the Food Network's Iron Chef America (the third chef from Canada to do so), in a battle with Iron Chef Bobby Flay. Lynn is a tremendous culinary presence here in the North.
Lynn has very simple beliefs and philosophies on food. “I have always thought of food as an expression of art,” she says. “I feel so lucky to have the opportunity to fuel my passion every day. I express myself best by using beautiful products. I want to leave an impression, create a memory, and nothing matters more to me than a beautiful dish. I adore food!” The creation of a delicious meal does require passion and quality ingredients. To have one without the other would seem unnatural and would go against everything that Lynn Crawford stands for. Maintaining a philosophy that food needs to be celebrated and shared with family and friends, Lynn believes that food is not something that should be kept to oneself but shared with many as a means of providing a sense of enjoyment. I am sure this resonates with many of us as well.
So what is Lynn up to these days? After a 24 year career as a five-star, high profile chef, she is leaving her post as Executive Chef at the Four Seasons Hotel Manhattan for the ultimate gastronomic adventure!!! Her own show Pitchin’ In premiered January 4 on Food Network Canada . Here she's travels all over the map to try to reconnect with food and to meet the farmers, fishermen and others who produce the foods she makes into extraordinary meals each day. This is a drastic change from the fancy kitchens and expensive, luxurious ingredients she has been working with for so many years at the Four Seasons.
In each episode of Pitchin In Lynn Crawford makes a deal with her local hosts. They let her work hard with them for a few days to learn the ropes and in return she cooks them a spectacular dinner featuring their own products. Lynn takes on any challenge that comes her way, relying on local hunters, fishermen or farmers to show her how it’s done. From fighting off bugs in the muddy Louisiana crawfish ponds to cleaning up after pigs in Georgia and wrestling lobsters in Nova Scotia, there isn’t anything she won’t try in the name of fresh food. With each show we learn with Lunn to gain an understanding and appreciation for food that is not taught in culinary school. Lynn Crawford’s passion for food gets her through each new situation and her sense of humour and adventure make this series a sheer joy to watch.
When Lynn isn’t travelling to new fisheries and farms on Pitchin’ In she’s working on opening her first restaurant in Toronto, Ontario, currently set to open in March 2010. Understandably the restaurant will be about sharing the table and supporting local producers.
Lynn is an accomplished chef which made it more than difficult to decide on what to make for this months chefs series. With choices like:
Oven Braised Lamb Stew and Winter Squash Cobbler,
Pomegranate Sugar-Dusted White Chocolate Doughnuts,
Truffle Macaroni and Cheese,
Pan Seared Salmon with Pink Shrimp Hollandaise,
Honey Butter Roasted Scallops with Gingered Carrot Puree and Vegetable Bhaji Fritters ,
**Lemon Honey Pistachio Chicken with Turkish Apricot Rice Pilaf**
2 whole Lemons, juiced
1 cup pistachios, coarsely chopped
4 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons butter
1 small onion, finely diced
1 cup orzo
900 mL chicken stock or water