TORONTO – The Jamie Kennedy Wine Bar will soon be no more; well, sort of. The long rumoured sale of the trendy Toronto eatery has finally been announced and, as it turns out, Kennedy’s longtime protégé Scott Vivian, formerly chef de cuisine for Jamie Kennedy at the Gardiner Museum, has formed a partnership that will make him and his wife – renowned pastry chef Rachelle Cadwell – the new owners/operators. Backing them are veteran restaurateurs Ted and Mary Koutsogiannopoulos, formerly of Joy Bistro.
Fans of the restaurant, which will be re-named The Wine Bar, can rest assured that some of the drive and spirit — particularly the focus on local and ethical food — they have grown to love will still play a major role in the new venture. For his part, chef Kennedy says there’s no one to whom he’d rather pass the torch. “Scott and Rachelle are a dynamic and talented couple. The Wine Bar is a wonderful opportunity for both of them to take their passion for gastronomy and local food procurement policies to new heights,” he says. “The wine bar is ready for a new infusion of energy, and I am looking forward to continuing to offer my support as a frequent diner and friend of the family.”
Vivian agrees. “It was crucial to Jamie that whoever took over would continue to do the things that make the wine bar exceptional,” he explains. “Things like using fresh, local, ethical food and pairing a diverse menu of smalls with Sommelier-chosen wines.”
Vivian’s own culinary bona-fides are certainly befitting a restaurant of the Wine Bar’s status in the city. Last year, he was voted the People’s Choice for Best Chef at the 2008 Courvoisier Cooking challenge. That same year he visited Turin, Italy, as a Canadian delegate chef for Terra Madre, the international symposium on global sustainability in food. He is a chef representative for the Slow-Food movement as well as a principal organizer of Banchetto, a slow-food forum that gathers dozens of chefs and food experts to feast and to find ways to work toward clean, green and fair practices across the industry.
According to a press release, the Wine Bar will officially change hands in early October.