biffs bistro st canut porcelet

Chef Amanda Ray from O & B Canteen in Toronto Heads to the Canadian Culinary Championships

Chef Amanda Ray from O & B Canteen in Toronto

The 2017 Canadian Culinary Championships will take place this weekend in Kelowna, BC February 3-4, 2017. The eleven competing chefs will be aiming for gold as they compete in three events over two days testing their skills, creativity and endurance. We caught up with Chef Amanda Ray from O & B Canteen in Toronto.

amanda ray edited photo by cindy la (002)

Tell us a little bit about your restaurant and/or style of cooking.

Canteen is a casual restaurant by Oliver & Bonacini Restaurants, located in the TIFF Bell Lightbox. Canteen is all about offering globally inspired dishes using locally sourced ingredients. I love to travel and draw on those experiences for the menu. I’ve done a lot of fine dining and French cuisine (most recently as Chef de Cuisine at Biff’s Bistro, also an O&B restaurant) in my career, but I really enjoy drawing inspiration from the multicultural landscape of Toronto, its fresh take on world cuisine, and that passion for the city’s diverse cultures.

Where do you eat in your city? 

Lots of places! I love to support friends who are chefs with their own places. Connecting with colleagues in the industry is huge, as well as sharing that sense of community.  I love different ethnic cuisines that the city has to offer.  I have a huge love for Vietnamese food, especially after travelling throughout Vietnam a few years ago. I have a few favourites spots for pho and bun cha. I also have an El Salvadoran place I’ve gone to for years. Just depends on my mood and what I crave!

biffs bistro steak tartare

What would be your ideal food day? 

Going to the market and creating a killer meal at home with amazing friends, opening up some wine, and listening to good music –that’s it.

What trend do you wish would die?

Burgers and tacos. Everyone jumping on that bandwagon.

What trend/s do you wish would be next?

I think we need to be more seriously looking at food waste, which is not really a trend but more a way of life, and changing our thoughts on what is and isn’t acceptable. I’d also love to see more support for farmers, and providing the option of locally sourced food to all, including low income families.

biffs bistro steak tartare

What ingredients do you always have on hand?

Good oil, cheese, coffee, hot sauce, pasta, avocado, butter and bread.

What equipment do you wish you had in your kitchen?

Many things, but mostly a Rational, a Pacojet, and a Thermomix.

What gift would you suggest  for your foodie friends this year?

A Slap Chop, or maybe an incredible Japanese knife.

biffs bistro octopus chorizo salad

Any hints on what dish you will be preparing for Gold Medal Plates?

It’s not a secret! I will be preparing a milk-braised St-Canut Porcelet with curd and whey, hay smoked Tamarack Farm black futsu squash, and cotechino with apple saba turnip and crispy sauerkraut.

What wine/beer/libation are you pairing with this year?

Cave Springs Riesling – “The Adams Steps”

Who is coming with you?

Sous Chefs Kevin Ramasawmy & Justin Kabel