Image Credit: Saskatchewan Polytechnic
Image Credit: Saskatchewan Polytechnic

Alumnus brings international experience and expertise to Sask Polytech’s Culinary Arts program

After working in one of the world’s cuisine capitals and cooking for celebrities and world leaders, Chef Todd Clark calls Saskatoon home.

 

March 12, 2020 - Although he didn’t always envision himself pursuing culinary arts, Todd Clark found his way into the kitchen at a young age. Growing up, he spent time in his family’s café and his first job, at age 15, was as a dishwasher. After working in kitchens throughout high school, a family friend encouraged him to apply for culinary arts apprenticeship training through the Saskatchewan Apprenticeship and Trade Certification Commission (SATCC) at Saskatchewan Polytechnic.

As a part of his training, Clark apprenticed in Regina at Earl’s, the Mediterranean Bistro and the Hotel Saskatchewan. “I learned a lot and it gave me more confidence and exposure in restaurants,” he says. Upon completing the training at the top of his class, Clark obtained his Red Seal, the national standard in cooking.

His love for cooking and desire to keep improving took him on a journey that defined his career. At age 23, armed with basic French, Clark left Canada to study at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, France. What was supposed to be a nine-month stay turned into seven years honing his skills and living his passion overseas.

After completing the nine-month cuisine program at Le Cordon Bleu, Clark took a pastry course followed by two three-month apprenticeships arranged by the institution. He worked at Le Jules Verne at the Tour Eiffel as a pastry chef and as a line cook at L’Atelier.

During his time in Paris, Clark worked with some of the world’s most influential and renowned chefs. At L’Atelier, he spent three years learning from Chef Joel Robuchon, the highest ranked chef in the world with over 30 Michelin stars and one of the chefs that trained Gordon Ramsay. He also worked with Chef Bernard Pacaud at his three Michelin star restaurant, L’Ambroisie. Clark was the first North American to work in the upscale, classic French restaurant where they often served politicians and celebrities.

Clark spent time travelling Europe and working in Singapore and Vancouver before returning home.

Since moving to Saskatoon, Clark has been involved in the culinary community as a member of the Saskatoon Chef’s Association and participant in events including Taste of Saskatchewan, Chef’s Gala and Gold Medal Plates. He spent many years as the evening and event chef at Boffins Public House where he discovered his passion for teaching. “I really like explaining why. If you can understand the why, you can do anything with it;” explains Clark, “I don’t teach the recipe, I teach the technique.” Clark is currently a casual instructor at Sask Polytech where he teaches classes, fills in when necessary and assists with special events and dinners.

As for what’s next, Clark says he would like to instruct full time at Sask Polytech and continue “to challenge myself so I can keep giving back to the students.” He plans to pursue the Certified Chef de Cuisine designation and maybe one day, become a Certified Master Chef, the highest attainable culinary designation in Canada.

He has a few pieces of advice for anyone pursing a culinary career: taste everything, write recipes down, expose yourself to different things and don’t be afraid to experiment. He also notes, “I worked hard, had really good mentors, met the right people and listened at the right time.”

 Chef Todd at work in the Sask Polytech kitchen