Kira Smith finds inspiration in her work at Kraft Foodservice. As a KFS corporate chef, her work involves recipe development, menu analysis and product testing. Chef Smith enjoys the challenge of channeling her creativity through the prism of a business structure.
Developing successful and inspired recipes for her clients—while factoring in labor, cost and ingredient capabilities—is her passion. Her creativity is not limited to formulating recipes, but extends into workable business solutions.
Home: Brampton, Ontario
Education: B.A. in Sociology from University of Western Ontario, London, Ont.; Culinary Certificate from George Brown College in Toronto.
Employment: I'm a corporate chef for Kraft Canada. Previously, I was the test-kitchen coordinator for Sobeys, and I also worked in pastry kitchens in some of the best hotels in Toronto.
1st job in foodservice: When I was 14, I worked at the front counter in a bakery. I loved my first glimpse of the industry!
Greatest accomplishments: It's so strange how life works, because I had wanted to work for Kraft since I was really young. I had an elderly neighbor who did food styling in the Kraft Kitchens for live commercials, and I thought that sounded great. Another accomplishment that I'm really proud of is having two beautiful children and a wonderful husband.
Favorite dish to cook at home: I love making Moroccan chicken stew.
Favorite cookbook: Nuts about Chocolate (Sterling Pub Co Inc, 1986). I've had it since the eighties. Every recipe is great, so all the pages are sticky now.
Most rewarding part of my job: Hearing both internal and external customers say that the Kraft Culinary Centre has been able to provide exactly what they needed. I really enjoy thrilling our customers with workable, delicious recipes.
The two or three people from history (living or dead) with whom I would most like to have dinner: My maternal grandmother, because I never got a chance to meet her, Sigmund Freud and Gloria Steinem. I'd love to watch the sparks fly between those strong personalities.
Sound byte: "It's wonderful to bake and feed people, but it's even better to offer people business solutions."
Favorite recipe recently developed for Kraft Foodservice:
With menu labeling taking hold in the U.S. and likely on the horizon for Canada, I was really interested in taking the "meal in a bowl" concept and putting a more balanced spin on it. I wanted to play with Philly Neufchatel Cheese and see how I could use its wonderful, creamy texture and mild tang to bring life to a blend of brown rice and lean chicken. By blending it with sodium-reduced chicken broth, Kraft Original Barbecue Sauce, lime and chipotle, I was able to develop a really flavorful sauce that paired wonderfully with the vegetables and herbs, creating the base for the Fajita Chicken and Brown Rice Bowl with Creamy Chipotle Lime Sauce recipe.