Adam Baxter was born in Montreal but grew up in Burlington, Ontario. Throughout high school and university he cooked to make ends meet with a career in the hospitality industry far from his mind. Upon graduation from university he couldn’t really land a satisfying job so he returned to the kitchen and has not been away from the stove since. He moved to Toronto in 2007 and has been the executive chef at Fire On the East Side (6 Gloucester Street) since 2009 where his love of southern-inspired Canadian and French comfort food plays out on his menu, focusing on seasonal, sustainable ingredients.
What inspired you to become a chef?
Growing up, our family dinners centred upon simple, straightforward food and working in restaurants allowed me to discover new ingredients, tastes, and flavours. I’m not going to lie, the pretty waitresses and free beer after work didn’t hurt.
What’s your favourite dish where you work, and why?
I’d have to say the short ribs. I braise them in a spiced root beer and they are a constant on my menu. I just change the accompaniments depending upon the season. In the summer I’ll do them with a potato salad. In the fall/winter they’re served with smoked bacon sweet potato croquettes.
Three ingredients you couldn’t live without and why?
Butter, bacon, and salt… because everything tastes better with butter, bacon, or salt.
On your day off, what are you cooking at home? Where do you go to eat out?
I don’t get too many days off but when I do I head to the market and start with a protein and work my meal around that. Going out, I love The Harbord Room (89 Harbord Street), anything [Black] Hoof (923 Dundas Street West) and Cava (1560 Yonge Street) especially.
What’s your favourite thing about the food scene in Toronto?
The emergence and continuation of our city’s chefs (not just the big name guys) to source local, sustainable products. And the burger trend. And nose to tail chefs.
What’s coming up?
Our Sunday night prix/fixe menu -3 courses for $37. And as always, our famous ‘quatre a sept” happy hour(s) cocktail specials and 1/2 price appetizers Monday to Friday.