By Rosanna Caira
TORONTO ― After 20 years in business, Toronto’s Mistura restaurant has a new executive chef at the helm producing a new take on the Italian classics that have become a trademark of the restaurant’s success.
Earlier this year, when celebrity chef Massimo Capra left Mistura to pursue other interests, owner Paolo Paolini sought out a new executive chef, promoting his Toronto-born sous chef Klaus Rohrich to the role.
“You can’t just rest on your laurels in this business,” says Paolini. “Of course, you have to continue to stick to what works, but with changing demographics and the importance of digital media and marketing, you also have to reinvent ways of doing business. It’s challenging, but very exciting as well.”
Rohrich is no stranger to the Toronto culinary scene, having worked at Centro and Prego before becoming sous chef at Mistura and Sopra six years ago. He intends to keep the dishes that have become well-accepted traditions at the restaurant — including the popular red beet risotto — but he’s also introduced new twists on some of the classics and is interested in serving food in a more relaxed environment. “The prospect of incorporating new flavour experiences and ingredients with traditional Italian cuisine is what interests me,” says Rohrich, who cures his own charcuterie. “I love and respect traditional Italian cuisine and am proud to prepare it, but I also love creating a recipe that surprises, intrigues and pleases our customers. A new Italian-food movement is evolving and I’m excited to be part of it.”
At a media dinner last week to introduce the new chef and preview the new menu, the culinary team highlighted several new creations, including sweet corn soup, balsamic-glazed lamb ribs, crispy artichoke, and wild boar agnolotti. Guests also sampled the boneless free-range chicken with squash caponata, chestnut purée and roasted onions, as well as pan-seared branzino filet with lemon-scented bean salad, manila clams and olive oil-poached roasted tomatoes.
The media dinner was capped off by a vanilla panna cotta served with fruits of the season and a strawberry meringue crumble, accompanied by Vieni’s Grappa Dolce Picante, the only grappa to be produced in Canada.