Chef Julian Pancer

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.

Chef Lisa Ursi

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.

Chef Pierre Beaumier

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.

Chef Anastasia Danos

Notable Culinary Experience:Chef Annie has worked under some notable chefs like chef Michael Kirkwood, and celebrity Chef Trevor Lui of the highbell group. She has been actively in the industry for over 15 years. 

Favourite Dish to Eat: Anything with carbs. Bread, pasta, pizza, tacos, cake... you get the picture 😁

Cooking Inspiration: Her 2 year old, Penny. She is her best and worst critic. She's brutally honest. 

Top 3 Kitchen Tools: A very sharp knife, kitchen rags and a utility stock pot that's been in the family for ages. 

Fun Fact: She is a huge history buff. Especially art history, pre-impressionism. Her next obsession is true crime and unsolved mysteries; nothing is better than curling up on a Friday night with a bowl of popcorn and a pot of tea watching the latest "48 hours". And lastly, Chef Annie is a big show tunes nerd. You can catch her
singing Hamilton while cooking.

Chef Calvin Chung

Notable Culinary Experience: Chef Calvin received his culinary diploma through George Brown College in Toronto. He has eight years of culinary experience working in notable Toronto establishments including Ascari Enoteca, Skin + Bones, Gare De L’Est, and Estia with a heavy focus in wood fire cooking. Chef Calvin also has experience working in Prince Edward Island and Hong Kong. In 2017 he Co-founded Cafe Bon Bon in Richmond Hill as the Executive Chef. Most recently he has dived into catering for the Film and Television industry.

Favourite Dish to Eat: A good steak or any seafood. 

Cooking Inspiration: Growing up in Hong Kong, having a giant meal with way too much food in a big group with friends and family had always been a big part of his life. The sharing aspect is why Chef Calvin loves food and pursued his career as a chef. 

Top 3 Kitchen Tools:  A sharp knife, spoons, fine microplane  

Fun Fact:Chef Calvin is an avid rock climber, specifically in bouldering. He loves doing crazy dynamic jumps on a climbing wall. He also enjoys fishing and anything related to the outdoors and nature. Calvin loves fast cars and is a gearhead. 

Chef Walt Medeiros

Notable Culinary Experience: Chef Walt studied culinary at Liaison College in Toronto. He has worked for two decades in some very notable restaurants around Toronto, such as Brassail, Brant House, Buca, Jacobs &Co. Steakhouse. Chef Walt also worked as Head Chef during the open of Jazz Bistro and worked along side Chef Julian at The Tavern. He has been a key chef with The Chef Upstairs since early 2018.

Favourite Dish to Eat: Pizza and anything from Asia and New Orleans.

Cooking Inspiration: His mother… aww.

Top 3 Kitchen Tools: A rondo, rubber spatula, and his hands.

Fun Fact: Chef Walt got to cook and hang out with celebrity chef Chuck Hughes. He also got to perform on-stage with Jeff Healey! Chef Walt takes a lot of pride in his guitar collection; just don’t ask to hold one…

Danielle Pancer

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 .

Greg Heller

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.

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