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Recipe for Change Chefs

Joan Monfaredi, Annona at the Park Hyatt 

Chef Monfaredi has been Executive Chef for Park Hyatt Toronto for more than 15 years and has been instrumental in opening 16 Hyatt hotels. Her forward thinking modus operandi coupled with her passion for perfection and providing quality culinary and Kosher creations has played an integral role in the success of the culinary offerings at Park Hyatt Toronto.

With over 30 years of extensive experience she has received several awards in culinary competitions at both the provincial and international levels, including the Ontario Hostelry Institute Fellowship Award. Recognized as a “Celebrity Chef” by the culinary institute at George Brown College, she has been named “One of Canada’s rising stars” in the hospitality industry by Hotelier Magazine and named “Chef of the Year” twice for Hyatt Hotels and Resorts. Feeding palettes and young minds are as important to her as is time spent giving back to the community. For years she has invested her efforts in Eat to The Beat, Food Share and a “Holiday Lunch to Remember” –   where over 450 students at William Tredway JR Public School enjoy a holiday culinary offerings.

Emerie BrineBernardin 

For Chef Emerie Brine, the love of fresh food started as a young child. Growing up on a farm on the east coast, Emerie shared in the toils of his large family garden, and home canning was a yearly tradition. While Emerie’s roots are firmly planted in the country, he now enjoys the opportunities that urban life in Toronto provides. His own catering company specialized in dietary-needs menus, and after a proud 3-year service as chef for the Royal Canadian Air Force, Emerie has mastered the efficiencies that preserving can provide. As the chef for Bernardin, Emerie continues to experiment with new recipes for home canners. “As a child, my family picked, pickled and canned every possible fruit and vegetable that we grew. Now, with the abundance of herbs, spices and vinegars available, we can add some zip to traditional recipes, and create new taste combinations that will become family favourites”. 

Seema Omar, Bombay Street Food

Last April, sisters-in-law Seema Omar & Amreen Omar founded Bombay Street Food, bringing to Toronto some of the amazing variety of traditional street foods found in Bombay (Mumbai). Not only are all their dishes, from the chutney to masala blends, homemade and authentically spiced, but they also use primarily local and organic ingredients, sourced directly from farmer’s markets and only 100% organic and halal meat. Seema Omar was born and brought up in Mumbai.  After moving to Toronto, Seema really missed the exciting flavours of traditional Mumbai-style street food snacks and authentic Indian fare. Together with her sister-in-law, Amreen, they decided to start a new venture —Bombay Street Food— to introduce Toronto to this delicious and diverse cuisine.  

Luis Valenzuela, 
Carmen Cocina Espanola 

Luis' culinary philosophy reflects the rich diversity of Toronto. He articulates global flavours while also honouring the land, working with southern Ontario producers and farmers to seek out the finest regional ingredients. Outgoing and devoted to craft, Luis is also passionate about mentoring young chefs to discover their talents in the same way that he was encouraged. He is proud to foster strong and dynamic teams that are continuously learning and striving for excellence. Luis is passionate about making a difference to cuisine in Canada, one dish at a time. Luis owes much of his success to the support of beautiful and devoted partner, Maia Higgins and their lovely daughter Luna. 


Claudia Gaviria, Cruda Cafe  

Claudia Gaviria owner and executive chef of Cruda Café, was raised in Colombia and Ecuador, two beautiful South American countries rich in fresh, seasonal foods. She refined her skills in the culinary arts from a proud grandmother that never wasted food and whose pharmacy was located in the pantry and fridge. Claudia used these fundamentals and combined them with the doctrines of Raw Cooking, Macrobiotics, Ayurvedic medicine and Yoga. She travelled around the world learning ancestral cooking, un-cooking methods and was able to create a physical and spiritual fusion of healing. In 1999, Claudia left a management position in a Boutique Hotel in South America and came to Canada with her nine year old son. After a long stay at an Ashram, Claudia started teaching Raw, Vegan healing cuisine and created Cruda Café a raw vegan Gluten and sugar free resto, located under the roof of St. Lawrence Market. 

Culinary Students from Eastdale Collegiate Institute

Eastdale Collegiate is a small inner city school with a strong sense of community and a focus on providing students with workplace skills. The school is also home to the new School Grown Rooftop, a partnership with FoodShare's Field to Table Schools program. The rooftop space is part education centre, part market garden and part event space - providing countless ways for the school community to engage with growing, cooking & eating good food. The culinary programme at Eastdale provides an ideal opportunity to develop essential life skills as the students prepare food for the cafeteria, catered events and the community. Jan Main, professional home economist, is the hospitality teacher at Eastdale Collegiate. She has a life-long history in the food industry as a teacher, product developer, media-person and food writer. She has published four cookbooks. Above all, she loves to inspire students with her love of food and finds great pleasure developing the student’s skills and confidence. 

Nick Liu & Jen Grant, Dailo Restaurant

Nick started in George Brown’s Culinary Management program, and from there received an externship at Scaramouche. He worked at Scaramouche for nine years, with a one-year sabbatical in Tuscany at Casstillio Vichimaggio. While travelling through England and Australia with his wife, he worked in such places as Rhodes on the Square, Rhodes 24, Fat Duck, Le Gavroche, St. Johns, Tetsuyas, and Long Grain. When he returned to Toronto, he became one of the sous Chefs at Splendido. After 18 months, he moved to the Niagara Street Cafe, where he was Executive Chef for four years and had the honour of representing Canada as a guest Chef for the G20 summit in Toronto and The Pan Am Games in Mexico. Currently Chef Liu is Executive Chef and Partner of DaiLo. 



Andrés Márquez & Howard Dubrowsky, Fonda Lola 

Hailing from Mexico City, Andrés Márquez was a partner in Toronto’s Milagro Mexican restaurants before launching Fonda Lola as a pop-up with his friend Ernesto Rodriguez in Spring 2013. Today, he’s an ambassador of his culture, trading stories with Fonda Lola's guests over sips of fine mezcal or tequila. Based on Márquez' belief that quality food and drink can transform the spiritual well-being, Fonda Lola showcases Mexican food beyond fish tacos and enchiladas, using ethically and locally sourced ingredients.




Jesus Gomez, FoodShare Toronto

Trained at the George Brown culinary school, Jesus works from a rich and complex palette influenced by his mother's Colombian cooking. He is a master of spicing who creatively composes eclectic flavours to delight every palate, but always says that his secret ingredient is at least 3 ½ cups of care and love which goes into the preparation of any meal. Jesus is a proud member of FoodShare's award winning kitchen team (Toronto Star Golden Whisk Award 2009, Bhayana Foundation Team Achievement Award 2009.) Currently, Jesus is leading the team that is responsible for the great success story known as the Good Food Café.  Daily, he creates outstanding cafeteria menus that are setting new standards of excellence in school food. Students from Junior Kindergarten to grade 12 are enjoying the delicious, healthy meals that Jesus and his team serve every day. 

Sybil Pinnock, FoodShare Toronto 

Sybil believes that good healthy food is music to the senses and the soul. An accomplished baker and chef with considerable expertise in Caribbean cuisine, Sybil is a proud member of FoodShare's award winning Kitchen Team (Toronto Star Golden Whisk Award 2009, Bhayana Foundation Team Achievement Award 2009.) As a twelve year veteran, she now single-handedly coordinates FoodShare's Field to Table Catering program, creates delicious nutrient-dense soups for Toronto's under-housed in the Power Soups program, and helps prepare a delicious lunch for FoodShare staff, volunteers and guests every day. Sybil's warmth and delicious food are known city-wide by her loyal clientele and attendees of festivals such as the Hot and Spicy Food Festival, and Slow Food Toronto's Picnic at the Brickworks. Sybil is also credited with the invention of Jerk Tofu a decade ago when vegetarian options were often less than inspired. Her focus on healthy home made hospitality that delights both the eye and the stomach is always inclusive, meaning that there is something for all to enjoy. Her warm smile and calm approach reminds those who meet her that we can all stay centered if we take a page from her cookbook.

Renee Bellefeuille, FRANK at the AGO

Executive sous chef Renee Bellefeuille works with a talented culinary team who bring a wide array of talent and inspiration to the table. Together they collaborate to create global concepts with a focus on the major exhibitions and permanent works in the gallery. One cannot help but be inspired by the art and architecture that surrounds them.


Oliver Li, George Brown College

Originally from Shanghai, Oliver Li is a graduate of the Certified Chef de Cuisine Program and is employed by George Brown College as Chef de Cuisine at The Chefs’ House Restaurant. Prior to joining George Brown College, Oliver Li was Executive Sous Chef at the Hilton Toronto under the tutelage of world-renowned Chef Albert Schnell and Chef John Cirillo. He also worked in Germany as Executive Sous Chef for the number one restaurant in Frankfurt, “Zum Schwarzen Stern”. Chef Li became passionate about western cuisine through the training of internationally acclaimed Executive Chef Peter Knipp at the Hilton Shanghai. 

Oliver Li is passionate about training and teaching, and ultimately, hopes all of his students will know the pride of being part of the top culinary college in Canada. He wants their experience at The Chefs’ House to be an inspiration for their future careers." 

Therese DeGrace, The Good Earth Food and Wine Co.

Good Earth Food and Wine Co Executive Chef Therese DeGrace embodies the next generation of cuisine with menus showcasing a diverse blend of ethnic, eclectic and healthy cuisine. Therese teaches part time at Niagara College and the LCBO. In addition to Executive Chef, Food Writer and Restaurant Consultant she has been featured on CTV, National Post, Entertainment Tonight, Breakfast Television and was host/reporter for Toronto Living, Toronto Dining and Home Cookin’.

Her relationship with food has taken her to the five-star Kildare Club in Ireland, and The Hillcrest (sister spa to St. Anne's) and recent history includes Chef Consultant with Kitchen Culture and previous Executive Chef/Owner of Lola's Commissary. Therese's various awards include: winner of The Pressure Cooker, and she was named as one of L’Oreal’s Mille Femme Magnifique. She was also a member of President's Choice Blue Menu Panel. 

Richa Gupta and Katherine Sowden, Good Food for Good

Richa Gupta is the Founder of Good Food for Good and a creative foodie and ardent believer in real food. Richa launched Good Food for Good, a social enterprise, after experiencing immense dissatisfaction with the current food system. She felt that today’s packaged food has forced us to compromise quality for convenience and wanted to recreate food the way it should be and used to be – pure and simple. Richa started the company with the vision to make a difference in the world by offering good food to people who can afford it and donating food to people who cannot. Richa has over 10 years of experience in Consumer Food Products, Retail and Fashion industries and holds an MBA from the Schulich School of Business. 

Katherine Sowden is the Executive Chef and Head of Operations at Good Food for Good. Katherine started in the food industry at a young age and is very passionate about developing and working with products that promote local ingredients and wholesomeness. She has been working with the George Brown Food Innovation Lab to develop nutritionally responsible recipes for youth aged 6-18 years. Katherine is also a Volunteer for the Breakfast Program at an elementary school where she helps serve breakfast to children as well as educate them about different food groups, healthier food choices and preparing foods. Katherine is a Graduate of the Culinary Management Program at George Brown College and holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from Wilfred Laurier University. Katherine also owns and operates a consulting business that helps companies in the hospitality industry develop promotional material, product photographs, social media strategy and much more. 

Kristin & Dan Donovan, Hooked 

Hooked is a local fish shop owned and operated by chefs. Hooked believes that small boats, responsible fishing practices and more direct relationships between fisher and consumer are the only way to move forward. Kristin Donovan is the chef/co-owner of Hooked. Kendall Collingridge is one of the key team members, chefs and teachers at Hooked.


Leif Kravis & Donna Ashley, Karelia Kitchen

Originally founded by Janis Kravis, Karelia was a retail leader in the 1960’s and 70’s and greatly influenced the awareness and appreciation of contemporary design in Canada. Today this iconic brand has re-opened as Karelia Kitchen, a Nordic smokehouse and café. Leif Kravis and Donna Ashley are the son and daughter-in-law of the two original Karelia founders Janis and Helga Kravis. Both Leif and Donna are seasoned chefs with years of experience working in top kitchens in Toronto as well as around the world. Serving lunch, brunch and dinner Karelia Kitchen features a European style smokehouse, open-faced sandwiches, house made pastries and modern interpretations of classic Nordic entrees. Using locally sourced and organic ingredients, new ideas and traditional techniques, chefs Leif Kravis and Donna Ashley bring a passion for food, flavour and design which sets Karelia Kitchen apart. By emphasizing simplicity, quality, craftsmanship and innovation they pay homage to their namesake and to the fundamental principles of Nordic cuisine.   

Rudy Boquila & Les Sabilano, Lamesa Filipino Kitchen 

Chef Rudy is a passionate guy. He truly loves music and he definitely loves food. As a producer/musician/DJ Rudy has worked with some of Toronto’s best. He’s produced some classic Toronto tracks and held it down on the radio for years. If you saw his record collection you would understand. This man loves music. As a chef he started at the Bamboo and went on to work at Oyster Boy and the Gladstone Hotel. He also spent some time cooking on tour with Live Nation for groups like U2, Bon Jovi, AC DC, Aerosmith, and the list goes on. He is now applying his creativity to Filipino food. He leads a team of young and talented chefs that are doing their best to expose Filipino cuisine to the mainstream. Rudy has always maintained that the kitchen at Lamesa would always be open to other chefs who are passionate about Filipino food. It’s all about building a community. This is a labour of love and it shows.  

Felipe Faccioli, Mata Petisco Bar 

Mata is Toronto's newest South American Restaurant serving Petiscos (shared-plate dining). Mata is a Modern Petisco Bar concept derived from South American culture, immigration and the colonization that happened in that continent. A culinary gang of 5 young entrepreneurs is bringing the best of South American cuisine, cocktails, drinks and wines to Parkdale.


Bashir Munye, My Little Dumplings 

Chef Bashir Munye is part of a new generation of Toronto chefs who are inspired by global cuisine while creating the future of local and organic food ideas. A true global child, Bashir’s experience of food embraces many geographical and cultural boundaries. Born in Somalia, Bashir grew up in Italy before moving to the United States and eventually Toronto. His family often travelled through France, Spain, and Switzerland, where he first experienced paté and croissants and, later in Tunisia, couscous, merguez, and harissa. Now Bashir brings his global interpretation of the simple dumpling to Toronto with My Little Dumplings.


Steffan Howard, Palais Royale - Pegasus Group 

Steffan Howard has enjoyed cooking in Paris, Montreal and Toronto. He was part of Canada’s first CAA 5 diamond restaurant cooking team at Truffles in the Four Seasons Hotel. Steffan also enjoyed being Sous chef at both Jov Bistro and the Art Gallery of Ontario. A Pioneer in the Local and Organic Food Scene in Toronto and now as corporate chef of the Pegasus Hospitality Group it is very important for Steffan to avail his staff to the virtues of seeking out trusted local and organic suppliers, and to promote this ideology as much as possible. Steffan enjoys cooking in the ethnic diversity that Toronto has to offer, while at the same time staying true to his French Canadian roots.









Rocco Agostino, Pizzeria Libretto 

Rocco was born and raised in Toronto, by two Italian parents who had immigrated to Canada a few years before. As a child he spent his days playing outside in the park or the alleyway behind his house, and dreamt of becoming a musician; but didn’t make it far with the accordion. Young Rocco’s passion for food was cultivated at an early age when he sold fruit for his uncle. He would try out a few other professions along the way, such as shoe salesman and real estate agent, but Rocco’s passion and love for the kitchen could not be denied. Starting as a dishwasher at Ciao Bella in Woodbridge, Rocco’s hunger for food took him first to the Stratford Chef’s School, and then to study abroad in Rome, Italy for several years. His experience includes Chef at Ferro Bar Café and he was formerly the Chef/Owner of Silver Spoon Restaurant, before he found his heart and home at Pizzeria Libretto in 2008. 

Joshna Maharaj, Ryerson Eats

Joshna has been Assistant Director of Food Services & Executive Chef since 2013 at Ryerson University. Appointed to lead the transformation of Food Services at Ryerson University, she has been instrumental in the development, implementation and transformation of the new food strategy on campus.




Paola Solorzano, Santo Pecado 

Chef Paola is the co-founder of Santo Pecado, a Mexican catering company specialized in recreating the best Mexican culinary experiences. With Santo Pecado, chef Paola has taken her guests from the Mexican Cantinas experience, to the most sophisticated and enigmatic culinary regions of Mexico. 








Sang Kim, Sushi Making for the Soul 

Sang Kim is an award-winning writer, playwright, restaurateur and food literacy activist. His upcoming third book, Woody Allen Ate My Kimchi, retells the behind-the-scenes shenanigans at some of Ontario's top hotels and restaurants. He is co-owner of Windup Bird Cafe, with Executive Chef Yumiko Kobayashi. In 2013, he was awarded the prestigious Gloria Vanderbilt Prize for fiction and gave a TEDx talk on Food Literacy for Children.





Sanober Motiwala, Sweet Sammies 

Sanober is Sammie Maker at Sweet Sammies Ice Cream Sandwich Co.  Armed with a diploma in Baking and Pastry Arts from George Brown College and a certificate in Ice Cream Technology from the University of Guelph, she has set out to create tantalizing frozen desserts that marry the worlds of ice cream and pastry.







John Sinopoli, Table 17 / Ascari Enoteca

After completing an honours degree at McGill and a year in Japan, John attended the French Culinary Institute in NYC and went on to work at La Caravelle. He moved on to Craft, Tom Collichio's then new flagship where he learned the successful business practices and incessant demand for high quality. Upon John’s return to Toronto he joined the acclaimed Splendido where under Chef/Owner David Lee he helped to develop sophisticated tasting menus. In 2005 Sinopoli joined Izakaya and his team developed a style of Japanese food that spoke to his experience in Japan as well a demand for quality products and precise execution. June of 2008 saw a shift back to John’s European roots with the opening of Table 17 where John leads the kitchen in creating an ingredient driven menu where European tradition and modern American sensibility are apparent. John and Erik’s latest venture is Ascari Enoteca, an Italian wine and pasta bar where hand made pasta and inventive shared dishes rule the menu.


Daniel Schick, The OMNI King Edward Hotel

Chef Daniel Schick has been with the Omni King Edward Hotel in Toronto since 1992 and was appointed Executive Chef in 2001. Chef Schick is a ‘hands-on’ chef, who pays close attention to detail, trained in Switzerland’s Classic 5 Star Hotels. An award-winning chef with more than 30 years of culinary experience, Chef Schick – a native of Switzerland – is a member of the Advisory Board for the culinary programs at George Brown College and Humber College.




Bertrand Alépée, The Tempered Room

Renowned for his classical French techniques and pastry strengths, Bertrand Alépée trained under Master Chefs such as Guy Savoy and Alain Ducasse. Bertrand was the co-owner and co-executive Chef of the acclaimed "Amuse-Bouche Restaurant" for 5 successful years. He is currently the executive chef and owner of The Tempered Room Pâtisserie as well as The Tempered Chef Catering. He is also one of the co-founder and member of "The Group of Seven Chefs".













Daniel Holloway & Ruth Klahsen, Urban Acorn
with Monforte Dairy 


Executive Chef Daniel Holloway of Urban Acorn Catering believes great food is achieved by harnessing bold flavours from humble ingredients. With over 15 years in the culinary industry, he has catered for high profiled clients such as Margaret Atwood, Prince, former Lieutenant Governor Michaëlle Jean and Vegan athlete turned deputy general for the green part of Canada, George Laraque. Chef Holloway’s signature style can be best described as refined comfort food, a blend of rustic Canadian cuisine with fine French techniques. 

Looking to bridge the social gap between vegans and omnivores, Chef Holloway joined forces with Haitian partner Marie Fitrion in 2012, to create Urban Acorn LTD. Their Toronto-based sustainable food company focuses on connecting food and community by specializing in Flexitarian cuisine. By collaborating with other chefs and like-minded local businesses, Urban Acorn aims to create a communal connection to food and celebrate its diversity regardless of dietary restrictions. Their philosophy is simple… food should unite and not divide people. 

Suman Roy, Wild Burger 

Chef Suman, one of Canada’s leading Chef and a bestselling cookbook author, is a passionate advocate of “think global, eat local”. With a culinary career that spans more than eighteen years, Chef Suman now brings his passion for the diversity of Canadian cuisine and his commitment to fresh, local ingredients to his role as Director of Culinary and Hospitality for Gourment Alchemy Inc., where he services clients like Campbell Company of Canada. Chef Suman can also be found teaching culinary arts at Durham College in Whitby. In 2010, Suman was the chef for the Athlete’s Village for the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics where he created an impressive 12,000 meals a day. He is the author of the Gourmand World Cookbook Award (Paris) and Le Cordon D’Or Culinary Academy Award (Florida) winning cookbook “From Pemmican to Poutine: A Journey Through Canada’s Culinary History”. Chef Suman is the only Chef member of Board of Health for the City of Toronto and Toronto Food Policy Council. Chef Suman has also played a very integral part as an advisor for the first Food Strategy for the City of Toronto. Chef Suman is also Restaurateur and owns the “most innovative Burger-restaurant in Canada” – WILD BURGER in Toronto. 


Artisan Food Producers:

  • Lemon Lily Tea
    Lemon Lily is a Canadian tea company located in Toronto. We've proudly crafted more than 150 natural & organic loose leaf teas.  We are probably the most enthusiastic and committed tea people that you'll find. We work with top tea estates and organic farms from around the world, creating some of the most exciting and delicious teas on the planet.  We are a Certified Organic Tea Company handcrafting and blending teas from more than 175 ingredients, all 100% natural and certified organic. If you're in the Toronto area, please visit us at 410 Dundas St. E. or order online.  We ship coast to coast and around the world.

  • Live On Chocolate
  • Jaswant's Kitchen

    We are a producer of 100% natural Indian spice blends. Our cooking kits, which include our pre-mixed gourmet spice blends and simple recipes, make it really easy to cook delicious, authentic tasting and healthy Indian meals at home.

  • Primal Tea
    Carol Mark is a certified tea sommelier who loves tea and the way it connects people to spend time together. Carol is the founder and President of the love of tea, a purveyor of specialty pure blended teas that supports art, health and social change. Carol rediscovered tea as part of her recovery from cancer and shares her knowledge to maintain health through tea. Carol blends personal and corporate tea blends and she has had the pleasure of blending the FoodShare tea blend for their corporate gift baskets. Carol has authored books on tea as part of her food and tea adventures to include The Love of Tea, A Modern Afternoon Tea and The Best of Drink & Food all utilizing tea in new and inventive culinary creations that will inspire you to look at tea in a totally new way outside of a teapot. Carol’s  favorite moments in tea include sharing tea with an old friend who is confined to her bed and tea with the young girls in Afghanistan talking about the future of their country and hopes of positive change with access to education.
  • Toronto Garlic Festival

    The Toronto Garlic Festival is the annual celebration of Ontario’s garlic harvest. The one day festival features farmers, chefs, home cooks, scientists and health experts from the Greater Toronto Area and southern Ontario. The fifth annual Toronto Garlic Festival, coming this September, will be at a new location, to be announced soon.


Upcoming Events

Bee Day - How Cities are Saving Bees
February 28, 2015

Share bee space with Honey Bee and Wild Bee Experts and enthusiasts as they explore How
cities are saving bees. Cost $50 and you must register! www.torontobees.ca

More Details »
Seed Packing and Workday Part 2
March 5, 2015

To prepare for the upcoming Seedy Saturday's/Seedy Sunday's, Toronto Seed Library, in partnership with FoodShare, will be holding a seed packing, organizing and general workday. Want to learn about this essential skill? This is a great time to learn from the knowledge of people who have been seed saving for decades.

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Seedy Saturday- Bonar Parkdale
March 7, 2015

The Bonar Parkdale Seedy Saturday, , hosts a day of fun for gardeners and greeners of all ages.

More Details »

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