Serge Belair

Senior Sous Chef, Shaw Conference Centre


November 2015

photo by Curtis Comeau

Age: 36

Why He’s Top 40: He’s establishing himself as one of Edmonton’s finest up-and-coming young chefs, blending creativity with practicality in managing a kitchen that can churn out thousands of meals a day.

If you could change one thing about Edmonton, what would it be? “The city is really nice but I just think it’s spread out too much. Why is it so big?”    

Serge Belair’s first attempts at cooking were awful. At 16, living with his dad after his parents’ divorce, he decided to take on the role of cook.

“I didn’t know a thing,” he says. “It was terrible food at the beginning.”

But he enjoyed making dishes from scratch and, soon, his dad was enjoying them, too. After high school, Belair enrolled in culinary school in his hometown of Gatineau, Que. It turned out that he was good at creating recipes people enjoyed, earning him great grades. 

In 2005, Belair moved to Edmonton to work at the Shaw Conference Centre, where he now manages the day-to-day operation of the busy kitchen that routinely produces meals for up to 5,000 people. Part of his job is to manage and mentor the Shaw’s stable of junior sous chefs, and he has become part of the go-to team for creating VIP meals.

In recent years, Belair’s skills and creativity have earned him a reputation that has spread well beyond the city limits.

In 2012, he won the Canadian Culinary Federation’s Chef-of-the-Year Challenge. In 2013, he earned silver at the World Association of Chefs Societies’ Global Chefs Challenge and gold and silver medals at the Culinary Olympics as a support team member for Team Canada

“The adrenalin you get in the kitchen, there’s nothing compared to that,” he says of cooking competitions.

“It’s just like a race-car driver going a hundred miles an hour.”

Over the years, Belair has also been a competition judge, made many TV appearances and volunteered for several local charities.

Always pushing his limits, Belair says cooking is a constant exploration of new flavours and techniques. He loves the wide variety of cultural flavours that exist in Edmonton — lemongrass and ginger are particular favourites — and loves creating with fresh, local ingredients. He enjoys the “anything goes” trend in modern cooking. 

At the same time, though, Belair remains firmly rooted in the skills he learned from his old-school French instructors, relying heavily on simple ingredients like butter, salt and pepper.

“At the end of the day, you’ve got to stick with the basics,” he says. 

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Archive »Related Content

Vivian Abboud

She’s helping guide the future of language education in Alberta and providing opportunities for immigrant women to succeed.

Kris Andreychuk

He’s on the ground floor of several community initiatives to reduce crime in the 118th Avenue area.

Carri Boulton

She’s working hard to make Edmonton — and Alberta as a whole — a safer, healthier place for kids.
Edit ModuleShow Tags


Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags


Edmonton Restaurants >

Search for restaurants by cuisine or area of the city.

Find Avenue Edmonton >

Our 500 store listings cover fashion, home decor, sports, food and drink, and more.

Find an Event >

Wondering what to do tonight, tomorrow or next week? This calendar of events will help.
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags