Chef Tre Sanderson’s culinary journey started in his kitchen at home where he learned to cook with his Jamaican mother and grandmother.
Now he’s been named Canada’s top chef, the first Black chef to earn the title.
“For me, to be a Black chef and for people of my colour to look up to me feels special,” said Sanderson
The Durham College alumni competed alongside eleven other chefs in Season 10. His mindset from the start was to win, and he knew he was going to have to work hard for it.
“It got kind of lonely at some points, but I knew that whenever I was going to leave,” he says, “I’m going to come out as a champ ’cause, like, I wasn’t leaving without winning.”
Sanderson, who is now chef de partie at Vela in Toronto, started cooking when he realized there was more to food than just taste and presentation. He could see how food made people feel.
He was inspired by his mother and grandmother because of how their cooking made him feel.
“They always use to cook us classic Jamaican dishes and they’re so memorable,” he said. “So every time they made a dish, I got excited and that excitement felt special.”
Sanderson graduated in 2015 from Durham College’s Culinary Management program. It was at Durham College that he was able to explore and learn in the culinary world. Support came from one of his teachers, Chef Richard Chin.
Chin said he helps his students to be inspired and confront their own questions head on. He was surprised and happy to see Sanderson on television.
“I was flipping through the channels one day and saw that he was on there and just texted him and said, hey, congratulations. I see that you’re on a show,” he said.
What didn’t come as a surprise for Chin was Sanderson winning Season 10.
“Once the second course was presented on the show I knew. I just said to myself, he’s got this,” he said.
Sanderson made a red snapper escovitch with caramelized shallots and roasted red pepper puree as his final competition dish.
He has many plans for the future and hopes to do an event at Bistro ’67 on the Whitby campus.
For his win, he earned $100,000, a 2022 Lexus NX Hybrid Electric vehicle and deals from DoorDash and KitchenAid.