Here we will profile people in this province who have helped to shape the way we eat, cook and think about food.
As the Executive Chef of the Drake Hotel and a major supporter of this province’s organic farmers, Anthony has also built a kitchen garden that staff volunteer their time to tend every year. Each day his busy kitchen receives deliveries from local farmers. Sometimes it’s a bushel of vegetables from Mark Trealout of Kawartha Ecological Growers, or salad greens from Soiled Reputation. Then there’s Fred de Martines, of Perth Pork Products, who often shows up with a whole pig slung over his shoulder.
Anthony and his wife are currently working on a database of artisanal food in Ontario. Along with their son Simon, they will go on the road to share Ontario’s bounty through a weekly video blog featuring Canadian musicians.
It’s people like Anthony who put the money into the hands of the small independent farmers who are doing the right thing. When a powerful buyer like the Drake supports a farmer, that means the farmer can keep growing their business and their products, so that all of us can access them.
Where did you start out in the food world?
Centro in 89 and then North 44.Â I was at Centro when David Lee first started out, he is much nicer now.Â Cooking school in San Francisco at the CCA, Ming Tsai got me my first job out there. I worked with Bradley Ogden at the Lark Creek Inn and Mark Franz at Farallon in San Francisco. Then I worked with Jean Georges Vongerichten and Jonathon Waxman in New York City.
I met my beautiful wife Kymberly in upstate New York, got married and our son Simon came around soon after.Â We moved to Toronto and, Tutti Matti chef and old high school friend, Alida Solomon hooked me up at the Drake.
What changes have you seen over the years in how the people you meet feel about local farmers and food?
When I left Toronto there was only one farmer’s market, next to Honest Ed’s on Markham. In San Francisco they were all over the place.Â Now, it is just as easy to cook here as it is New York City or San Francisco thanks to the amazing farmers and artisans that have stepped up to the plate.
I love how so many people in Toronto are really connecting with the terroir of where the goodness is coming from.Â The real stars are all the farmers that allow us to do what we can do and transform it for the customer. So much Love!
what is your favourite vegetable?
I am really loving all things cabbage right now cabbage with pork, Choucroute, braised, pickled…It is all so good.Â We have sauerkraut that has been working for 3 months in the fridge; it will be ready for New Year’s Eve.
Cory Vitiello (Anthony’s former sous chef, currently head chef at the Harbord Room), really ugly when you see it in its natural environment, but if you slowly roast if for fourteen hours, the juiciness really comes out. Not at all bitter like it looks. If that’s not available, then substitute squirrel.
Deep January and February, the colder the better. I eat a lot more in the winter and love to bundle up so you can’t tell how much weight I’ve gained.
where are some of your favourite places in Ontario for food/drink?
Ding Tai Fong for all things noodles and dim sum
My couch with a beer and my wife
Any eating I can do at Eigensinn Farm
Jenniferâ€™s Stilton Beef Brisket Burger at Nota Bene
Wychwood Barns farmer’s market for Ezra Title’s egg and bacon sandwich
My wife and I love Hanlanâ€™s Point for a picnic
Any wine Norm Hardie makes