Alumni Feature | Trent Loewen | Class of 2004 - Stratford Chefs School

Alumni Feature | Trent Loewen | Class of 2004

Owner - Operator, Scratch Provisions, Saskatoon

Trent Loewen (Class of 2004) grew up in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan and finished his grade 12 year with a bilingual certificate in his pocket. As a kid, he was always interested in food, and thought he’d be a great chef one day (this was well before the food network inspired young chefs). He remembers a family road trip across the country when he was 12, and a stay in Montreal, where he was determined to find a ‘nice’ restaurant with white table cloths. He insisted on ordering each family member’s meal, in French. He was always so classy… Later on, he moved to Montreal and survived on ramen noodles and boiled hot dogs. Trent didn’t thrive in a conventional education system, often challenging authority and expectations. In 2002 while working at a summer camp in Ontario, his mother sent him a post from the Stratford Chefs School calling for applications. Without any hesitation he completed the paperwork and interview, and swiftly moved into town.

With this drastic change of life, he found meaning and purpose in the art of food. After completing the culinary program, Trent worked at Rundles, then The Old Prune, in Stratford, and continued working as an apprentice instructor at the School. For a multitude of reasons, Trent moved back to the prairies in 2008.

Finding little comfort in the restaurant industry in Saskatoon, Trent began baking bread in his parents’ kitchen (thanks for the inspiration James MacGuire!) and selling at the Saskatoon Farmers’ Market. There he met his future wife Tracey Muzzolini, and challenged his 24 year old self to build and open an organic artisan shoppe Earth Bound Bakery. The business of bread is time demanding and socially sucky, but it thrived. Trent’s passion for quality food and bread brought many joys over the ten years he owned and operated, but all good things do come to an end, and he chose to sell the business in 2018 longing for a new adventure. He travelled to New Zealand shortly after the sale, and was inspired by the local savoury pie options famous in N.Z. and Australia. He travelled for 4 months, but within 4 days he was devising his plan to open a savoury pie shoppe in Saskatoon when he returned. And hey, that’s where you can find him now, slinging pies at Scratch Provisions, The 405, #405 33rd Street, Saskatoon.

 

What is your favourite restaurant?

That’s a tough one… I have certain meals I will always call favourites, and they come from certain restaurants. The best (and most expensive) meal I ever ate was at Arzak in Spain. I’ll say my favourite restaurant in Saskatoon is Christie’s Il Secondo (my wife’s napolitan pizzeria), but I’d murder a dosa from Dosa in San Francisco any day of the week.

What is your favourite cookbook?

The most used cookbook in my repertoire used to be by far Bread, by Jeffrey Hamelman, I do tend to crack the Rebar cookbook often. I guess I don’t even own that many cookbooks. Do my Stratford Chefs School manuals count? [ed: YES!]

What is your guilty pleasure food?

Nachos and chicken wings.

What food did you think was over-rated until you tried it?

Honestly, a little embarrassed to say I had no appreciation for cilantro when I got to school. I was one of those people that said “it tastes like soap”. Now I make meals around the herb.

Favourite knife or kitchen tool?

As a baker, I went from sharp knives to razor blade lames, so I mostly used a sh*t kicking knife to bust through any veg prep. Now as a savoury pie maker, I wouldn’t get along without a fine mesh strainer for my stocks.

What restaurant dish seemed the most intimidating, but is actually really easy to make?

The school actually taught me not to be intimidated by creating or recreating anything… at home or at work… I guess the timing of dishes can be more intimidating, especially if serving a large crowd.

Favourite ingredient you can’t get enough of right now?

Frozen bags of pearl onions. Changed my life. Any of you alumni reading this, probably remember a few hours peeling pearl onions for a lab or practical, and remember how small they could get if rushed to peel quickly? Anyway, they go really well with a nice beef stew pie!

What is a new technique / flavour you are experimenting with currently?

I’m using a lot more brown butter to sear off meats for my pies. I’m enjoying the rich and earthy flavour it adds. Pretty much brown buttering everything. Last week I had a braised rabbit with brown butter fennel pie… this week I don’t. Sold out Saskatoon, thanks!

Are there any recipes from SCS you still use?

It’s more method than recipe, and yes, all of them! I did look up the ratio for court bouillon last week. I was surprised I forgot it, as I we used to make it every second day at Rundles for the poached skate.

What is your best SCS memory?

So many to choose from! I think I’d have to choose my first day of practical. I met so many like-minded people, and felt the chef community in my arms. I still feel so close to so many of you, even though I’m far away. I was also ‘that guy’ who cut his finger on his sharp new Henckels day one. Unforgettably embarrassing.

 

Since the School’s beginning in 1983, our intensive, entrepreneurial program has provided grads like Trent a solid foundation to pursue employment opportunities in diverse areas of the Hospitality, Food and Beverage industry, and beyond!

 

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