Stirring the Pot with Chef Paul Pisa

Paul Pisa is a homegrown Toronto chef, trained under chefs Mark McEwan and Keith Froggett. In the mid-1990s, Pisa was executive chef of Ellipsis, the popular though now-defunct modern Italian brunch and dinner spot on College Street. When Ellipsis closed, Pisa moved across the street to helm the large and busy Brasserie Aix, serving authentic French-style food.

In 2002, Pisa first joined the team of Toronto hospitality specialists, the Quinn family, who were longtime friends from Scaramouche (1 Benvenuto Place) days. At P.J. O’Brien (39 Colborne Street), Pisa was awarded Best Pub Fare in Canada by the National Post, and built a popular following serving high-quality gastro-pub fare.

In 2005, Pisa left Toronto and launched his own restaurant in the countryside north of Kingston, Ontario. While the business was successful, the partnership was not, and ultimately Pisa returned to the city – and to Quinn hospitality – as Executive Chef of Quinn’s Steakhouse and Irish Bar (96 Richmond Street West), located in the Sheraton Centre hotel at Bay and Richmond.

What inspired you to become a chef?

When I was young I studied music. Then one day I ate a meal prepared by the late Chef Raphaelo Ferrari that showed me the music in food, and I was inspired.

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