Lorenzo Loseto has built an enviable reputation as one of Canada’s premier chefs. As the Executive Chef of George (111 Queen Street East) and Verity, he applies his classical training and modern approach to developing innovative menus inspired by the diverse cultures of Toronto and Canada. He is devoted to the creation of exquisite and flavourful cuisine that reflects both who he is and the food he loves to cook and eat.
Lorenzo’s skill extends to the art of selection. Quality is paramount. He opts for local and seasonal foods wherever possible and makes early morning excursions to the food terminal to source the best quality ingredients available each week.
Lorenzo is constantly inspired by the environment around him – from the vibrant city to the changing seasons to his growing family. Voted one of Toronto’s Best Chefs by Toronto Life magazine in 2006, Lorenzo honed his skills in some of Canada’s finest kitchens before joining George in 2004. Most notably, he apprenticed at Three Small Rooms in the original Windsor Arms Hotel, arguably one of the best kitchens of its time, and was Sous Chef in Susur Lee’s legendary Lotus.
What inspired you to become a chef?
I grew up with the Italian mind set where everything was home made and as fresh as possible; something my mother instilled in me as well. Everything about food and cooking just made sense to me. As a child, I felt more comfortable in the kitchen and talking about food rather than in the garage talking auto mechanics. This interest in food followed me through into high school where I had two jobs. One was in the meat and fish section of a supermarket and the other was as a busboy at a Italian restaurant. These two experiences contributed to my connection with food and the restaurant industry.
What is your favourite dish at the restaurant where you cook and why?
I don’t have a favourite dish as I like changing the dishes to reflect the seasons and to reflect my mindset at the time. This is a major factor in the way I cook and design my menu as well. If I were to pick something from this current menu, I would say the Soft-shell Crab with Grilled Green Asparagus from the tasting menu.
Three ingredients you couldn’t live without and why?
Artichokes, Leeks and Lamb.
No matter what, I will have these ingredients on hand. To me, artichokes are just one of those vegetables that bring so much value to a menu at anytime. They are still kind of exotic to most people, they are very challenging to clean and absolutely delicious and worth all the effort.
Leeks are so versatile and can enhance anything you add them to.
Lamb is something that I grew up on . I just feel very comfortable using it and of course, I love to eat it.
On your day off – what are you cooking at home? If you’re eating out, where do you go?
I don’t get much time to cook at home but when I do I keep it much more simple than the restaurant. At the restaurant I challenge myself to develop food combinations and make it exciting. At home I will make Pasta with Peas or Artichokes, or Roast Chicken, lots of interesting salads and vegetable dishes.
In the end, it is the kids that dictate what I cook.
When we do go out, we usually mix it up as much as we can. We try to go to a high end restaurant once a month and we also go simple; noodles or pizza. Every Saturday we do dim sum, so it has become a weekly tradition. That is certainly one of the highlights of the week as it is about family and food and both are very important to me.
What is your favourite thing about the food scene in Toronto?
There are lots of different options to choose from; great affordable noodles to high end refinement. Toronto is able to offer something to eat no matter what you are in the mood for; we are very fortunate to be in that position.
What’s coming up?
We are currently doing a monthly Italian Dinner Series that takes place on the last Friday of every month. We feature 3 main ingredients while promoting seasonal and sustainable fare from farm to table.
With the soft shell season in full force, we also have a Soft Shell Special served with Grilled Ontario Green Asparagus, that is currently being offered on our Chef’s tasting menu.
We are also involved in many events around the city this year starting off with Empty Bowls, The Stop’s Backyard Garden Project, Toronto Taste with Second Harvest, Gold Medal Plates and Grand Cru.