20
Apr
10

The in betweeen, in between , in between……..

Ouch!

Okay,so we are tired of people asking when are you going to be open? Tired of people asking “whats taking so long?” Well here is the deal, yes it’s taking longer than we would have wanted  but it’s not like we are sitting around waiting for this thing to happen. If it wasnt for the fact that our catering company and original location never seem to slow down you would have been seeing completed pictures of King Street a long time ago. By my math since we acquired our King street location in August we have served about 4800 hundred people with our catering company and about 10 000 people in the restaurant, so we have been a little tied up.  

So here is where the main players at King street stack up. I have just about finished the hiring of my kitchen and I have what I feel are really great and young group of eager cooks. As much as I was concerned about actual cooking ability, to be honest I was also looking for something a little bit more. The cooking I can teach but I talked a lot in my interviewing process about the culture of kitchens and about the culture of food. I waxed poetically about the respect for the profession and what it all meant, the ones who nodded in agreement got a second interview.  

The casting couch.

I am deep into the menu development and I am excited about the dishes. This menu is nothing new to me, I have been cooking this style now for many years. We are going to serve Italian food but  “Modo Mio” , my way. I am not Italian but  the heart and soul of Italian cooking to me is  no different than the cooking I ate growing up in the prairies. Take the best of what you have and do as little as possible. Simple food, which as I always say is the hardest food to cook. “Inspired in Italy, made in Canada” is the motto we use to describe the food we cook. 

Says it all.

A balanced menu must have a bit of everything. Hot, cold, crunchy, soft, sweet, salty,a bit of meat,  a bit of fish, and a whole lot of vegetables. It’s easy to write ideas down on paper but a lot of things sound better in print than they do in 3D. There is a vegetarian dish that is taking me weeks to get right, yet others were a one take. Each preparation must be weighed measured,  calculated and put into recipe form. Chefs love the free form artistry of the kitchen but crash when it comes to the mathematics of cooking. To me it’s the difference between a flash in the pan or longevity.  

And where is Deirdre? well all she has to worry about trying to decide on our new company logo’s, our olive oil and tomato sauce branding ( you heard it here first ), the website and too many last-minute details, tooo long for me to type in this post, oh and running the catering department.  

Deirdre is in control of the way our place looks physically and also from a marketing/branding point of view. How do you make yourself look different in an age where branding is everything? Our old logos were great but it seemed as the design of the new place unfolded they just didn’t fit. Part of the process was hooking up with a great company called 52 Pick up Inc. They sat us down, therapy style and ask us who we really were. It was an interesting exercise, and forced us to look at our business as more than how many people are we serving this week to where we were headed 5 years from now. They nailed our what, who, and why and put it all in a neat little package. 

Somebody's chef jacket, I am not saying who!

And Tony? Well in between being our kitchen bitch, mountain bike training for his yearly strip to Sedona, over seeing the contractors at King street, dealing with the new designers at our new cafe location ( you heard it here first ) working most catering jobs we do, and holding all thing L EAT and Paese together , Tony finds time to make sure my new smoker gets built, our new the new walk in refrigeration gets installed at head office, the gardens get planted and everybody is taken care of and gets paid. 

This is the pay off for months of straight work. Tony and his friends in Sedona.

Here in picture form is just a few of the things we had going on over the past 8 months while  King Street was being built.  

Take a pot and a hose and an old fridge and what do you get? A smoker of course! Ah the Italian, hungarian ingenuity.

People laughed but it worked. So much so we decided to get professional.

George the original Paese chef, now our resident carpenter constructing our new smoker.

Tony transferring our first batch of red wine vinegar into a cask for aging. How did it taste? So good I will never buy red wine vinegar ever again.

And this?

Welcome to the L EAT farm.

We turned it into this, our first gardens. Located just around the corner from our head office. Close enough that I could disappear in the middle of the day and become a farmer.

This is where I would sit in the mornings and hang out with the ground hogs and racoons. We were able to compost all of kitchen scraps and ended up serving only our tomatoes all summer long.

And this is what happened to the garden, turned into preserves that will end up on our menu at King street.

Our guard cat "Meat balls" , waiting for her beef tenderloin and red wine jus. She eats better that the kitchen staff.

The "bus" as its become known. A 1973 Volkswagon that is currently being restored. Soon to be another of our catering vans.

Taking as long to complete as King Street.

The cafe. Soon to be called L EAT express. Many more blog post about this one I am sure.

Okay stay tuned, completed Paese King street photos coming this week!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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1 Response to “The in betweeen, in between , in between……..”


  1. 1 Vinnie Calvillo
    May 15, 2010 at 6:30 pm

    We ate, drank, we danced, we ate, we drank……It was a platonic version of Vicky Christina Barcelona meets Toronto in a small part of the world called Paese! The Sirens named Shannon and Alex. Then simply…the Bruce (wine master of North America). Our Plume…I shall never say her name. For what a night we all made together. And their was Deirdre. What a master executor of visions. Toronto is lucky to have her.

    Finally, Don Tony! The visionary behind it all. His love of life is amazing. We are so lucky to have his taste, his food, his love of wine. We enjoyed everything he offered us.

    If you ever visit Toronto, you haven’t visited until you Experience Paese. It is the best ristorante I have had the pleasure of experiencing.

    I can say, “We will always have Paese.” I travel extensively and this dining experience is by far the most memorable.


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