Anthony Sedlak has spent many summers sweating it out in the kitchen. The 27-year-old Vancouverite joined the ranks of celebrity chefs in 2007 when he became host of the Food Network's The Main, later authoring a best-selling companion cookbook. But the love of food and frantic pace that fed his career also took a major toll on his health, he tells The Globe and Mail. So these days, when temperatures climb, he swaps his apron for a spandex cycling kit and heads for the hills.
What kind of bike do you ride?
I ride an Argon 18, a top of the line, carbon frame bike. It's about 15, 16 pounds - a bike right off the Tour de France. I got it at the John Henry Bikes. They sponsor me, provide all my gear. At first I was like, "Oh no, spandex." Now I'll roll up to any coffee shop in my spandex. One of my buddies might stuff a sock down his.
Do you race or just pedal for pleasure?
I was huge into racing when I was about 14. My shift back into sports was driven by the fact that I felt very unhealthy and had become overweight by 40 to 50 pounds. Now that I've rediscovered this love of cycling, it's about the experience of having my feet in the pedals.
Before you head out do you think, "If I go 25 kilometres. I can have a piece of cheese; if I go 100, I can have brie fried in duck fat"?
When I started this mission to get healthy I was incredibly regimented. I worked out with a corporal from the Canadian Forces - a real boot camp. I went from 235 to 185 pounds in nine weeks. Now if I cycle I can feel good about having something decadent on occasion.
How ritualized are your cycling workouts?
I do three big rides every week. It's very much a team sport. I ride with my core group, usually my catering partner Bryan Kelly or my friend Mike Simpson, who's a world class triathlete, or all three of us. That might be 100 kilometres. The other four days we're on our vintage cruisers. We go to the beach, listen to music, talk to girls.
You became a Food Network host after winning the Super Star Chef Challenge competition. Are you a competitive person?
Yeah, I'm definitely competitive in the sense that, when I decide to move forward with a project, I'm driven to make it perfect. I never want to fail. The guys I ride with are top Canadian cyclists, so a goal might be, "Can I keep him in visual range?" My cycling goals are always right in front of me - literally.
Have you ever had a bike accident?
Once when I was crossing the Lions Gate Bridge, my tire blew out and sent me into the oncoming lane of traffic. The cars stopped, luckily, so I was okay, but it was only my fourth day on a brand new bike. The frame alone was worth $2,500 to $3,000. They're built for speed, not durability.
What do you eat on the road?
A lot of water and a lot of candy. We eat healthy things pre-ride, like salads, but I always have candy in my back pocket. Sometimes your body wants some sugar to get through the ride.
You must get a ton of invitations to summer potlucks.
I get invited to a lot of barbeques, but there isn't pressure to cook, actually. People can be reserved about asking. Except my university buddies. They'll sit on the couch and say, "Aw, go make us some food."
Special to The Globe and Mail