Notable Culinary Experience: Julian has been the co-owner and culinary instructor at The Chef Upstairs since 2014. He is also co-owner of Pancer's Original Deli, a Toronto landmark since 1957 and family owned for 4generations. He is the house chef of Market&Co. at Upper Canada Mall and The Food District at Square One Shopping Centre. Julian began working in restaurants at the age of 11 in his family’s deli after discovering his love for food in his mom’s kitchen. He is a graduate of the George Brown Chef School and has learned his trade working with many talented chefs. His experience includes Trump Hotel & Tower in Toronto, Sous Chef at Ciao Wine Bar in Yorkville and Head Chef at The Tavern on Spadina.
Favourite Dish to Eat: Anything fresh, spicy and preferably with his hands. Honourable mentions include sushi, curries, tacos, pho, ramen and Ethiopian cuisine… and of course, pastrami on rye.
Cooking Inspiration: His mom, his family’s deli, Anthony Bourdain and his travels.
Top 3 Kitchen Tools: Silicone spatula, small wire whisk and his hands.
Fun Fact: Julian is an avid lover of music and performed and sang in bands for over a decade.
Notable Culinary Experience: I’ve been fortunate to cook my way all across the country a couple times now, cooking in most major cities in Canada, as well as Australia.
Favourite Dish to Eat: Lo Bak Go. It’s this amazing fried “cake” of sorts made from daikon radish. For me it’s a reminder of all the amazing benefits of living in a city as rich and diverse as Toronto.
Cooking Inspiration: My Mum has always been the heart behind my cooking. I was so incredibly lucky to have a Mum who put so much time and love in to our food, and she did everything she could to pass that on. We have so many pictures of lil ol’ me standing on ach air at the kitchen counter, covered in flour, rolling pin in hand. I owe
her everything, and she taught me more than any of my professional chefs… Please don’t tell them I said that though.
Top 3 Kitchen Tools:
-Bench scraper! I can’t emphasize this enough. If you do ANY baking, a bench scraper is your best friend. Makes sticky doughs manageable, beautiful even loaves, clean edges, and cleanup is a breeze. For the three bucks it’ll cost you- it's worth it.
-Bottles & jars. Maybe it’s because I’m a fermentation nerd, but you will never find a glass bottle or jar in my recycling bin. I try really hard to keep plastic out of my kitchen, and you can’t beat the free stuff. All my dry goods, all my pickles, kvass… it all goes in recycled glass to be proudly showed off on open shelves.
-Sharpening Stone. One of my chefs in culinary school once said “There are many things you can improvise in the kitchen. A sharp knife is not one of them.” Having a wet stone, and knowing how to use it is a game changer. They’re cheap, and there are any number of youtube videos that will teach you in a snap. Plus you’ll feel so cool doing it in front of family and friends.
Fun Fact: I also work in nutrition! I have a passion for whole
healthy foods, and believe that the primary function of food should always be to nourish people deeply. Of course, all things in moderation, and you know the classically trained chef in me is still adding a bit more butter.
Notable Culinary Experience: Chef Pierre received a diploma in kitchen business management from College Limoilou Charlesbourg in Quebec. Chef Pierre followed his path one step at a time, honing his skills as a dishwasher, bagel artist, chocolatier, fish monger, line cook, restaurant manager, entrepreneur and chef. Pierre has worked in a three Michelin star restaurant in Tokyo, well as fine dining in a Relais and Châteaux in Quebec.
Favourite Dish to Eat: Chef Pierre used to have a serious sweet tooth for all things pastry and desserts, but a slowing metabolism can also slow certain cravings. Now his go to meal is a perfectly cooked salmon filet, white rice, and miso soup… oh and not to forget a warm mochi cake wrapped in seaweed and a little soy sauce.
Cooking Inspiration: Chefs like Escoffier, Carême, and many other early influencers. One contemporary chef that he finds truly inspiring is Raymond Blanc; a fascinated character and owner of Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons, who demonstrates the purpose of cooking in a beautiful way.
Top 3 Kitchen Tools: His three “Y-shaped” peelers that he carries with him in every kitchen: A fine peeler, a julienne peeler, and a serrated one.
Fun Fact: Chef Pierre is passionate about Japanese cooking. He is known amongst certain circles to have mastered the art of chicken katsu. He also operated and instructed at his own martial arts dojo. The discipline Chef Pierre has achieved in life is clear to see, while instructing others.
Notable Culinary Experience: Growing up on a food focused family, Chris began his apprenticeship in Stratford, at The Church and Belfry restaurant and the King Edward hotel. After years of fine dining exposure, he furthered his resume at Avalon, Perigee Millcroft Inn, as well as overseas. He was also the Chocolatier for the Ontario government.
Favourite Dish to Eat: Always a sweet tooth, apple strudel
Cooking Inspiration: Professionally , Alain Passard. Personally, his grandmother (aww)
Top 3 Kitchen Tools: A proper knife, good steel and tasting spoons
Fun Fact:He once got to make dresses out of chocolate for a fashion exhibit
Notable Culinary Experience: Chef Lisa received her culinary diploma and red seal certification through George Brown College in Toronto. Amajor highlight in her career, includes running a small cafe and being given the opportunity to create and experiment with different styles of cooking This experience challenged her to tap into her creativity and explore differen ttechniques and a variety of cuisines.
Favourite Dish to Eat: Margherita Pizza
Cooking Inspiration: Chef Lisa’s love for cooking comes from countless hours (and courses) spent with her family preparing, eating, drinking, and sitting around the table spending time together. Coming from an Italian family, food has always been a big part of her life and she loves the way it brings people together.
Top 3 Kitchen Tools: A sharp knife, a tasting spoon, and a good cutting board.
Fun Fact: Chef Lisa is a passionate gardener, being given the gift of a green thumb from her grandmother aka Nonna Angela. During summer camp atT he Chef Upstairs, Lisa can be found sharing this passion with her students, while they tend to our very own herb garden.
Notable Culinary Experience: Danielle is the Events Manager for both studio locations and a lover of all things food…. One of the reasons she married a chef!
Favourite Dish to Eat: Sushi, pasta and anything Julian makes for dinner!
Cooking Inspiration: While she doesn’t cook often (and is great at re-heating), she is inspired by her mom’s and Julian’s creativity in the kitchen. It’s pretty amazing to see people pull a whole bunch of random stuff out of the fridge to bring together a unique and delicious meal.
Top 3 Kitchen Tools: Top 3? Just a fork and knife.
Fun Fact: Danielle’s first cousin is Gal Gadot, aka WonderWoman .
Notable Culinary Experience: Greg is the co-founder of The Chef Upstairs. When he purchased the original location with his younger sister (Lori Heller) in 2008, the first thing he did was sign up for Chef Training at George Brown College. While he was a good “at home” chef, he was no match for the chefs working for him. He quickly realized there was a lot to learn and that while his MBA helped him develop a strong business concept, he needed to walk the talk as well.
Favourite Dish to Eat: Pigtails and sauerkraut. His family roots are from Kitchener/Waterloo and this is a staple come Oktoberfest.
Cooking Inspiration: Greg is inspired by his mother who was a great home cook and family entertainer. For her 75th birthday, his father put together an 80 page recipe book with all of her recipes in it. Greg has taken over as the family “pickler” and in late summer he spends many evenings making dills, gherkins, relish, chili sauce and bread and butter pickles.
Top 3 Kitchen Tools: Japanese Chef knife, 9” filleting knife and a diamond honing steel.
Fun Fact: Greg likes to spend his summer weekends at the cottage. Every weekend he catches, cleans and cooks the local smallmouth bass that he then serves on the dock as Panko Coated Fish Bites with a garlic herb aioli.