Contributed by Natalie Taylor
Known as one of Toronto’s best hidden gems, The Chefs’ House on King Street East (near Sherbourne) is a fully functioning restaurant run by Hospitality and Culinary students from George Brown College. Says head chef and student mentor, Oliver Li, “Learning is the main ingredient at The Chefs’ House. It is a platform for students to refine their skills as they transition their careers from school to industry.” Indeed, diners are surprised at the level of quality in the food from students, many of whom go on to work for some of the best restaurants in the city including Oliver & Bonacini, Buca, and at many top tier hotels like The Four Seasons and The Ritz Carlton.
The cuisine focuses on a variety of healthy dishes in the genres of continental European cuisines and Asian flavours as well. The fish selection, such as the smoked salmon, is one of the more popular items on the menu, and Chef Li is adamant that the restaurant adheres to Oceanwise standards as much as possible. Further, the fresh, local, and seasonal menu constantly changes according to each semester and the new intake of students in the kitchen (who get experience at every station during their practical tenure). Similar to the menu, the atmosphere is clean, modern, and sophisticated. For extra flair, you can watch your meal being prepared on the digital screens throughout the dining room.
You will also get to taste the experience of postgraduate culinary students who have trained at Michelin Star restaurants in Italy, as part of their practicum with the prestigious ALMA school. Chef Li says, “we teach our students to take care (of their kitchen, their workspace). They learn the love and passion for their craft and to do the best that they can do.” For a fraction of the cost at similar restaurants downtown, The Chefs’ House is also an opportunity for you to give students the hands-on experience in the industry that they need to succeed while having an enjoyable lunch or dinner.