Strength and perseverance on the path to the Viking chef’s success.
Chef Marc Swiednicki’s path to becoming a restaurateur has not been without its challenges.
After graduating from one of the world’s most renowned culinary schools, Le Cordon Bleu, he had moved to Vancouver to pursue his culinary career. Unfortunately, he was sidetracked when challenges with substance abuse led to a life-threatening accident that nearly took his leg, and left him unable to practice cooking.
While he recovered, Chef Swiednicki joined his father’s business, becoming a broadcaster systems specialist and installer. For years, he travelled across Canada, setting up and updating television and recording studios for the CBC – and cooking for friends along the way. But his brush with death left him with the desire to make the most of every moment.
A chance backstage encounter with Anthony Bourdain during a television taping over a decade ago rekindled his love of food. The pair hit it off, spending a night in a nearby pub chatting about the food industry. “Suddenly, I had the feeling that everything I needed to ground myself was in the kitchen,” Chef Swiednicki says.
Three years after, Chef Swiednicki packed up everything he owned to pursue his culinary dreams. He moved to Montreal – the city which first fueled his passion for food – prepared to put his full focus into his cooking.
Two years later Swiednicki won Food Network’s Wall of Chefs. Since then, he’s been whipping up signature dishes and spices, creating cookbooks and making a name for himself as the “Viking Chef.”
He now works at The Auberge Willow Inn alongside Wall of Chefs judge and renowned Montreal chef Danny Smiles, and has collaborated with Airdrie, Alta.-based Township 27, to create his own spice line.
Looking forward, Chef Swiedniicki hopes to buy a small acreage, where he can practice sustainable farming, highlight local artisans and musicians, and give visitors a true farm-to-table experience – Viking style.