TORONTO — The long-awaited collaboration between Kate Chomyshyn, Julio Guajardo, Owen Walker and Grant van Gameren opens its doors tomorrow in Toronto. Quetzal combines traditional Mexican methods and techniques with local Canadian produce, meats and seafood to create a dining experience that redefines Mexican cuisine in Canada.
“Quetzal is the realization of a dream that Julio [Guajardo] and I have had for a long time. We admire the simplicity, beauty and elegance of Mexican cuisine and want to showcase the vast creativity and imagination that the Mexican people have poured into developing this gastronomy,” says Chomyshyn.
The restaurant features a 26-foot-long open-flame cooking area that runs the length of the restaurant —one of few restaurants in North America to use indoor wood fire to this scale. It’s divided into several fiery zones, with custom made grills for roasting and grilling meats, vegetables and fish, ending in a traditional comal to cook fresh tortillas and toast chilies and seeds. A 10-seat chef’s table directly in front of the open flames allows guests to partake in the spectacle of cooking with fire.
Fire will be the principal means of cooking in the restaurant, while the ceviche bar — featuring sustainable Canadian fish and seafood — offers an array of raw dishes inspired by traditional ceviches from Mexico.
“It’s impossible to showcase the entirety of Mexican culinary culture in just one restaurant, but we can’t wait to share some of our favourite techniques, ingredients and flavours,” adds Guajardo. “It’s important to do our part to help preserve and pass along the traditions of Mexican cuisine to our guests and continue to tell the story of Mexico, beyond tacos and margaritas.”