Global Chefs Share Stories of Community Building at Terroir


TORONTO — Monday’s Terroir Hospitality Industry Symposium became the stomping ground for a community of chefs and foodies from across the globe, who each shared how their career has been shaped by collaboration.

The busy day included a talk on “instinctive cooking” by Margot Henderson, chef and co-owner of London, England’s Rochelle Canteen, who explained that food has strong roots to its culture. “Food is an important part of any culture as its language,” she said. She also emphasized the best dishes are made with simplicity. “Food doesn’t need to be a constant search for originality.”

Later, the audience watched as former El Bulli chef Albert Adrià took to the stage to prepare tapas, such as artichokes stuffed with caviar. “Each dish must take advantage of texture and combination of flavour,” said the chef currently behind Barcelona’s Tickets and 41° restaurants, speaking through a translator. “The border between success and failure is very short.”

Meanwhile, Daniel Boulud brought his French charm to the stage as he shared stories of community that helped him grow as a chef. Arriving in America from France, the chef appreciated the diversity North America afforded. “I like the different backgrounds, different immigration the staff has, and I thought it would be more exciting than cooking in France,” he said. For Boulud, community is created between suppliers, customers, peers, media and restaurant staff, and it’s especially rewarding to see his staff’s loyalty. “They feel so grounded where they are that they want to build their families around the restaurant,” he said.

The day wrapped with a talk by Momofuku founder David Chang, who lamented the fact that the Toronto restaurant scene isn’t yet competing on the world stage. “I don’t understand why the food scene isn’t one of the best in the world,” he said, adding its strengths are mom-and-pop restaurants like Edulis and the strong culinary community in cities such as Toronto.

The chef gave the example of Noma, which, in just 10 years, changed the face of gastronomy and catapulted Nordic cuisine to world stage. “Noma is a testament to the underdog and following convictions. If it could happen in Copenhagen, to could happen to Toronto.”

Stay tuned to later this week for the final instalment in the three-part Terroir series.


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