“Hi. My name is Pierre. I am an illustrator and a chef. That makes me a kitchen drawer.”
That’s Pierre Lamielle’s (Culinary 2008) charming introduction to his website. This easygoing wit, along with healthy servings of talent and tenacity, has brought the Calgary-native two international cookbook awards, a season on Top Chef Canada, a win on Chopped Canada and a successful culinary T-shirt business. Not bad for a guy who says he spent “zero time on the line.”
An illustrator by trade, Pierre worked as feature designer for print media before his passion for food landed him a column with illustrated recipes. Eager to dive deeper into the food world, he decided “to go legit” and get a culinary degree. After an unsatisfying tour of CIA, he stumbled on ICC’s Fundamentals of Classic Techniques cookbook and never looked back. “I read between the lines and could see it was great. Going to cooking school at ICC in NYC was perfect.”
With a designer’s eye and a chef’s palate (not to mention work ethic), Pierre landed a contract for a book of illustrated recipes while still at ICC. Kitchen Scraps, a quirky take on comfort food, went on to win the Best in the World for Illustrated Cookbooks from Gourmand International. His subsequent venture, Alice Eats: A Wonderland Cookbook, written in collaboration with popular Canadian food blogger Julie Van Rosendaal, took the same prize earlier this year. Along with partner Candace Bergman, he owns an inventive T-shirt company, Food on Your Shirt. He also teaches and competes on food shows on TV.
His cheerful persistence drives his success. He didn’t get a spot on Top Chef until his third audition and he attributes his Chopped win to an intense practice regimen that involved dozens of mystery boxes in strange kitchens and lightning ingredient-association rounds. And every Thursday, he creates a new design for Food on Your Shirt which he describes as restaurant that serves the world. “All 100+ designs are available, made to order, wrapped in butcher paper and shipped to your door. Food is the new rock ‘n roll and these T-shirts are the ‘merch.’”
His one piece of advice to students: “Don’t miss the demos. They are amazing and not just the master chefs. Go to all of them.”