THE KATES 100
Our sixth annual guide to T.O.’s best restaurants penned by Canada’s top food critic, Joanne Kates
What began with a few chefs on Ossington and Dundas has exploded into a movement: Dozens of resto/bars opened in the last year. Artistic control is the one god this cowboy serves. He doesn’t take reservations, he may not have a phone, the place is a hole and he’s open late. A sign outside would be uncool; and since he’s doing this without investors to account to, he can do whatever he wants. We flock!
Which makes us uptown girls into food tourists. We live north of Bloor but we graze in downtown’s Wild West. Juggling five restaurants in addition to his new venture with Jamie Oliver, Jamie’s Italian, it’s safe to say that Rob Gentile is one busy man. We chat with the talented chef about cooking at home and what you’ll never see on his menus. Why do you and Jamie Oliver make a great team? Jamie is a great friend. We both share the same passion and philosophies, which is what brought us together. We both love what we do and really just want to make our guests happy through great food and hospitality. What is something that will never appear on one of your menus? You will never see any processed, factory-made foods. I believe the best tasting food comes from the best possible ingredients, treated simply. At what age did you realize that being a chef was your calling?
When I was quite young my mother suggested I get a job so I could make my own money. She said whatever I chose should be something I truly enjoy as I could potentially be doing it for the rest of my life. That made me reflect. I always enjoyed being around food and eating, so I knew if I was to choose a direction that should be it. What is your go-to dish to cook for friends and family? I love an interactive, sharing family meal. My wife is French-Canadian, and lately we have been doing raclette. A hot stone sits in the middle of the table and everyone cooks on top of it. We prepare wild game, like moose, when we can get it. It’s a blast!
“Rob Gentile is taking over our world. In addition to three Bucas on the Top 10, he controls The Saint (also on the list),
Jacobs and Co, and is partnering with superchef Jamie Oliver to open a big Italian resto in Yorkdale.”
Jamie Oliver & Rob Gentile