Life Beyond the Kitchen – Chefs Build Their Brands with Chef Network Inc.

The food scene in Toronto is abuzz this week with distress over UK chef Marco Pierre White’s decision to become the face of Knorr bouillon cubes. Disregarding the fact that White has been the face of Knorr in the UK for a few years, food writers and chefs seem genuinely distressed that White has “sold out” for the corporate big bucks.

Known as one of the best chefs in the world, White’s decision to become the face of Knorr (and his insistence that all of his restaurants use the product in place of real stock) is confusing, amusing, and to his fans, especially other chefs, understandably upsetting.

The world may never know White’s real reasons for taking the endorsement, but in an era when even successful chefs don’t make a lot of money from cooking, branding yourself has taken on a much greater importance, especially for chefs coming to a point in their careers when it’s no longer enjoyable to work the line every night.

Chefs everywhere are in big demand – for cookbooks, personal appearances, television shows, and yes, endorsement deals. But it’s not as easy as one might think to hook up with the big players, and it’s not always a good idea for chefs to try and broker deals on their own.

That’s where Carmen Correia and Chef Network Inc. (CNI) come into play.

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Thursdays Are So Tasty

There’s probably nowhere else that you can buy food from Susur Lee and Vesta Lunch in the same place. All for $5 a pop.

Tasty Thursdays returned to Nathan Phillips Square last week and runs every Thursday (11am – 2pm, although some vendors are not ready right at 11am) until August 26th. The premise is a simple one – bring in an array of Toronto restaurants selling food items for $5 or less. Bring in bands to entertain the crowds who have come looking for a cheap and interesting lunch. Presto, instant cool event.

The musical guests change weekly but the restaurants are booked for a month, with some sticking around for the full promotion. Each restaurant serves up samples of their most popular dishes, and at $5 or less, it’s easy to try a bunch.

Above – the guys from Vesta Lunch serving up Greek food.

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Stirring the Pot with Chef Lorenzo Loseto

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.

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