found­ing fa­thers

Sara Wax­man Re-casts The Mag­nif­i­cent Seven

DINE and Destinations - - LAST WORD -

John Arena cre­ated Win­ston’s in the 1960s. It at­tracted the pa­tron­age of the most in­flu­en­tial peo­ple in the coun­try and, for vis­it­ing captains of in­dus­try, pres­i­dents and roy­alty it was a manda­tory stop. Win­ston’s was white glove ser­vice, red vel­vet and Chateaubriand. It was re­ferred to in the me­dia as “the day­care cen­tre for the cor­po­rate elite.” Out of 23 tables, gov­ern­ments and ma­jor cor­po­ra­tions per­ma­nently booked 14—a coup un­equalled in Canada. Arena cu­rated an en­vi­able wine cel­lar of 30,000 bot­tles from the world’s most renowned vine­yards. Win­ston’s glory days ended when it was sold in 1992. Arena is the proud founder of the Dis­tin­guished Restau­rants of North Amer­ica (DIRONA) or­ga­ni­za­tion.

In 1978, at 20 years old, Susur Lee left Hong Kong and landed in Toronto. Did he have any inkling that 40 years later he would be one of the most ac­claimed chefs in the world? His first res­tau­rant, Lo­tus, a home­spun af­fair, was fol­lowed by the so­phis­ti­cated Susur. He caught the at­ten­tion of crit­ics and food­ies every­where with a new Asian cui­sine. His enig­matic style of cook­ing lo­cal in­gre­di­ents, fil­tered through Asian tech­niques he learned at the Hong Kong Penin­sula Ho­tel, caused quite a stir and has had ma­jor in­flu­ence across the in­dus­try. He has trav­elled the world as a con­sul­tant, ap­peared on the most re­spected In­ter­na­tional Top 50 lists; tied for first place on Iron Chef Amer­ica and tied for sec­ond place on Top Chef: Masters. To­day, this in­ter­na­tion­ally renowned chef has five out­stand­ing restau­rants: Lee, Luc­kee, Frings and Lee Kitchen in Toronto, and Tung Lok Heen in Sin­ga­pore.

Jamie Kennedy has been in­stru­men­tal in shap­ing Canada’s culi­nary land­scape. His in­no­va­tive ap­proach to gas­tron­omy, com­mit­ment to sus­tain­able agri­cul­ture and ad­vo­cacy of lo­cal food have been un­wa­ver­ing. His first res­tau­rant, the un­pre­ten­tious Palmer­ston Bistro, drew in­stant ac­claim. He went on to JK at the ROM, JK at the Gard­ner, Jamie Kennedy Wine Bar, Gilead Café & Wine Bar and Jamie Kennedy at Win­dows in Ni­a­gara Falls. This pro­foundly tal­ented chef made hum­ble French fries a beau­ti­ful thing. Jamie has helped pioneer ‘farm-to-ta­ble’ prac­tices na­tion­wide, and con­tin­ues to in­spire progress in agri­cul­ture and gas­tron­omy across Canada. A res­i­dent of Prince Ed­ward County, he hosts din­ners at his farm in his own style. He is a re­cip­i­ent of the Gov­er­nor Gen­eral’s Award in Cel­e­bra­tion of the Na­tion’s Ta­ble, and a Mem­ber of the Or­der of Canada.

Michael Stadtlän­der grew up on the fam­ily farm in West Ger­many. He fell in love with Canada af­ter watch­ing NFB films and the CBC se­ries, Ad­ven­tures in Rain­bow Coun­try, shot in Man­i­toulin Is­land (and di­rected by Al Wax­man.) Af­ter his manda­tory mil­i­tary ser­vice as chef and baker in the Ger­man Navy, he came to Canada in 1979 to co-chef the open­ing of Scaramouche with Jamie Kennedy. His own style pre­vailed wher­ever he hung his apron, and his re­gard for the fruits of the land and sea were akin to re­li­gion. He be­came a pioneer and leader of Canada’s farm-totable move­ment and opened Ei­gensinn Farm in Sing­hamp­ton, Ont., where he con­tin­ues to share the bounty of his farm at his ta­ble with a fa­nat­i­cal fol­low­ing. He is a chef, restau­ra­teur, en­vi­ron­men­tal ac­tivist, artist, CM, Mem­ber of the Or­der of Canada and win­ner of the Gov­er­nor Gen­eral’s Award for Lead­er­ship.

Peter Oliver, a Capetown émi­gré, came to the res­tau­rant busi­ness in 1978, open­ing a small bak­ery and fish and chip shop. While his culi­nary fo­cus was var­ied, he re­mained con­sis­tently style and ser­vice cen­tered. To­day, his flag­ships are Au­berge du Pom­mier and Ca­noe. Since 1993 he’s part­nered with clas­si­cally trained Michael Bonacini to form Oliver & Bonacini—a heav­enly match that has pro­pelled the com­pany to more than 15 dif­fer­ent restau­rants.

Franco Prevedello came to Mon­treal from Italy to work at the On­tario Pavil­ion in Expo 67. In Toronto, he went on to open Quo Vadis, Biffy, Pronto and Bindi, and in­tro­duced us to the joys of pasta. The On­tario Pavil­ion at Expo 86 in Van­cou­ver in­vited him to build and man­age its res­tau­rant. He re­turned with re­newed so­phis­ti­ca­tion and zeal to build Cen­tro, Splen­dido, Terra and be­come part of many joint ven­tures. Cen­tro ruled, and his cui­sine em­braced us and kissed us on both cheeks. The Toronto press has dubbed him the God­fa­ther of Ital­ian Cui­sine.

Michael Car­l­evale burst upon the scene in the late ’80s at a time when we were hun­gry for ex­cite­ment and glam­our. Bos­to­nian, eru­dite, charm­ing and so­phis­ti­cated, his ca­reer soared from the tiny Car­l­evales on Av­enue Road, to Ber­sani & Car­l­evale with part­ner Joey Ber­sani, and ul­ti­mately to Prego de la Pi­azza where he in­tro­duced Nuovo Cucina. Tucked into the el­bow of the Church of the Redeemer, this flower filled ter­race was celeb cen­tral and for the “see and be scene.” Hol­ly­wood doted on Prego. There were legendary par­ties in Black and Blue, his ad­ja­cent steak­house. Con­sum­mate host and im­pre­sario, he en­riched our lives.

John Arena in Win­ston's

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.