CUT TO THE CHASE

DINE and Destinations - - TASTING NOTES - —Sara Wax­man

CULI­NARY HOS­PI­TAL­ITY AT­MOS­PHERE SER­VICE EN­TER­TAIN­MENT

the first day Steven Salm ar­rived in Toronto from New York City, he met Michael Kim­mel. They shared a mu­tual vi­sion of defin­ing hos­pi­tal­ity in North Amer­ica, open­ing restau­rants in many dif­fer­ent cities and be­com­ing a ma­jor com­pany in the field. Thus, the Chase Hos­pi­tal­ity Group (CHG) was cre­ated. “We want to be a Cana­dian com­pany that has ex­panded world-wide,” says Salm (above), the group’s Op­er­at­ing Part­ner. “Food and bev­er­age and hos­pi­tal­ity is a multi-tril­lion-dol­lar sec­tor, and we want to change what ex­ists in this side of the in­dus­try. We want to recre­ate the emo­tional con­nec­tion that a guest feels from the mo­ment they step into our busi­ness. CHG makes a prom­ise and it is ful­filled, whether it’s a $1.50 cup of cof­fee in the a.m. at Lit­tle Fin or a fine din­ing ex­pe­ri­ence at Co­lette.”

Could there be an Ital­ian restau­rant wait­ing in the wings? “We’re wait­ing for the right real es­tate,” he re­sponds. “If we find one that has the charm of Italy—that says Italy when we walk into the room, it is cer­tainly a con­sid­er­a­tion.”

“Michael Kim­mel’s area of ex­per­tise is real es­tate, so first, we fall in love with the real es­tate, and then we cre­ate a restau­rant, menu, pa­tio and bar to com­ple­ment the space,” Salm adds. Highly valu­able is the cre­ativ­ity and tal­ent of Ex­ec­u­tive Chef Michael Steh. “He molds the menus and has his fin­ger in ev­ery dish in ev­ery restau­rant. He is so in line with our vi­sion and com­mit­ted to un­der­stand­ing the value of what we do.”

The flag­ship restau­rant is up­stairs at Chase. “My favourite,” he says, “is Chase Fish & Oys­ter Bar, and I really enjoy the Mar­itime, New Eng­land style.” At Co­lette Grand Café, com­fort and chic French style is only sur­passed by the so­phis­ti­cated mod­ern French menu. And Kasa Moto, with its in­ti­mate multi-lev­els and ex­quis­ite Ja­panese dishes has clearly upped the ca­chet of Yorkville quite a few notches. “I am re­mark­ably sat­is­fied at the way things have turned out,” says Salm, “I pinch my­self ev­ery morn­ing to make sure it’s not a dream.”

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