ABOUT THE SHOW
In each episode, The Chef’s Bar will welcome an eclectic trio of guests to hang out with Chefs Rob and Craig while feasting on amazing dishes created right before their eyes. Completely unscripted, the conversations will cover the map but will ultimately focus on the delicious food being served. Dishes inspired by different themes in each episode that will take you around the world and back.
Craig Harding grew up in an Italian home where his Nona cooked out of this world food. Her cooking inspired Craig from an early age to be a chef. After working at Canoe in Toronto he knew it was time to open his own spot. In the fall of 2010, a dream was realized as he and his now wife Alexandra Hutchison unveiled Campagnolo (832 Dundas West, Toronto) serving rustic Italian fare. An homage to his Nona, it was a hit right away was named one of the best new restaurants in Canada. Following that it was listed by Maclean’s magazine as one of the 50 best in Canada.
Advice for aspiring Chefs:
Rob Rossi first developed a passion for food from his Italian mother’s cooking and it led to a job a part-time job at his uncle’s popular bistro. From then on Rob knew he wanted to be a chef and one day own his own restaurant. He worked his way up through many amazing kitchens and eventually became the Executive Chef for the Mercatto before competing on Top Chef Canada. Rob almost finished a close second place. The next step was living the dream and opening his own restaurant. With partner Ryan Sarfeld he opened Bestellen (972 College St, Toronto) a popular, successful European inspired tavern with an emphasis on meat, cocktails and good times.
Advice for aspiring Chefs:
“My advice to young chefs is to be persistent and aware. Be aware of your product and how it is evolving around you in the kitchen. Watch listen and learn. Be persistent about your growth and the growth of your peers. Don’t give up or give in.”
When the Chefs were in Tuscany they stayed at an incredible vineyard and farm called Poggio Foco and it provided vital research for this meal.
Craig and Rob start things off with a traditional chicken liver crostini followed by an incredible wild boar pasta. Succulent wild boar chops provided by guest and well-known butcher Peter Sanagan are then pan fried for the wonderful scottadita dish.
The delicious food is washed down with great wine supplied by guest and wine merchant Mark Coster and topped off by Craig's delicious wine stewed fruit dessert.
Chef Nick auf der Mauer also cooked alongside Grant, Craig and Rob at Canoe Restaurant when they were young cooks.
A couple years ago Nick opened a tiny sandwich shop called Porchetta & Co. (825 Dundas St West, Toronto) serving his take on the porchetta sandwich and it has become a huge hit. It's truly an experience eating his porchetta and the success is leading to a large new resto alongside Pizza Libretto opening on King West in 2014. He brings one of his porchettas to showcase and eat of course.
The city of light provides the inspiration for this meal as both Craig and Rob recount their trip to Rome and the rooftop feast they prepared for some discerning locals.
Rob kicks the party off with delicious fried smelts followed by Craig's famous spaghetti all' Matriciana and saltimbocca (prosciutto-wrapped quail).
When Rob and Craig toured Italy for food inspiration they went south to Pisticci where their good friend and guest GP Testa is from. The ancient city and culture inspire the theme for this meal as the Chefs throw down a Southern Italian feast.
Featured dishes include Craig's hugely popular burrata with roasted grapes dish as well as Rob's delicious stuffed and fried zucchini blossoms. It's all capped off with a homemade pasta and zeppole, an epic dessert from Rob.
Meet the Guests
- Peter Sanagan
- Claire Burns
- Mark Costor
- GP Testa
- Carmen Araisa
- David Minicucci
- Tony Cohen
- Adrienne Clark
- Chef Nick auf der Mauer
- Grant Van Gameren
- Ben Cook
- Siena DeCampo
Peter was a great chef who changed gears a few years ago and opened Sanagan’s Meat Locker, a cool butcher shop featuring the best meat from local farms. Peter supplies some of the top restaurants in Toronto including Craig’s Campagnolo. He has since moved to a massive new space in Kensington Market (176 Baldwin St, Toronto) that may well be the best butcher shop in the city.
Clare is an actress and playwright who has long found inspiration for her work in food. The Chef’s Bar is the perfect perch for her to do research while enjoying the best in Italian cuisine.
Mark is an expert on wines and is a very busy wine rep for Noble Estates supplying great restaurants across the city. He worked closely with Craig and Rob on their wine lists when they were opening restaurants.
GP’s family comes the deep south of Italy and his roots have given him exceptional knowledge about food and wine. That has led to a career working front of the house in some of the best new restaurants in Toronto.
Carmen is a beautiful Mexican actress and producer who has worked on projects all over the world. She has a passion for food and after living in Italy for some time, the cuisine became her favourite by far.
David owns L’Unita restaurant (134 Avenue Road, Toronto) serving exceptional Italian food and wine. It’s a place where you can sample delicious handmade pasta, thin crust pizzas, grilled meats, fish and the best cannoli in town.
Tony Cohen has been in the restaurant game for a long time and knows what’s up. He supplies Campagnolo with its exceptional burrata and works with tons of amazing products and he’s pumped to sit at the bar and sample the goods.
Adrienne Clark is a very talented young actress who grew up in a big family where cooking was very frequent. She is cooking more and more at home and is looking forward to getting some tips.
Chef Nick auf der Mauer also cooked alongside Grant, Craig and Rob at Canoe Restaurant when they were young cooks. A couple years ago Nick opened a tiny sandwich shop called Porchetta & Co. (825 Dundas St West, Toronto) serving his take on the porchetta sandwich and it has become a huge hit. It’s truly an experience eating his porchetta and the success is leading to a large new resto alongside Pizza Libretto opening on King West in 2014. He brings one of his porchettas to showcase and eat of course.
Chef Grant Van Gameren’s incredible Bar Isabel (797 College St, Toronto) was just named the best new restaurant in Canada by enRoute Magazine. He cooked alongside Craig and Rob back in the day at Canoe and today he stops by to say hello and eat a Roman feast.
Ben Cook is a serious rocker who has traveled the world many times with his band F*cked Up and recently launched his new project Yacht Club. He loves checking out new restaurants on the road with one of his best meals at a truck stop in Italy.
Siena has long had a deep connection to food as her father, Paul DeCampo, was heavily involved in the Slow Food movement. She loves to cook fresh pasta at home and loves to rock in her band Actual Water.