Stirring the Pot with Chef Scott Vivian

Born in Montreal to an Italian father and an Indian mother, Chef Scott Vivian has always loved food. Chef Vivian has earned praise from Georgia to Colorado to Oregon before coming back to Canada. In 2006, he took on Toronto via Jamie Kennedy Wine Bar. A year later he was promoted to Chef de Cuisine of Jamie Kennedy at the Gardiner (111 Queen’s Park). In October of 2009, he had the amazing opportunity of becoming co-owner and executive chef of Wine Bar (9 Church Street). Chef Vivian will continue his support of local food procurement as he and his wife Rachelle open their first restaurant Beast(96 Tecumseth Street) in June 2010.

What inspired you to become a chef?

My deep passion and understanding of food and culture. I knew it the moment I stepped foot in my first professional kitchen.

What is your favourite dish at the restaurant where you cook and why?

With an ever-evolving menu, I don’t have a favourite dish. If I was to pick something off today’s menu I would have to go for the Grilled Wild Leeks with Romesco Sauce and Hazelnuts. I love Spain and its people. This dish was inspired by their seasonal grilled spring onions. They char the onions on the grill and eat them with Romesco. This is my version using local Ontario ingredients.

Three ingredients you couldn’t live without and why?

Salt, olive oil and lemons. Salt because it adds extra flavour to everything when used properly. Olive oil from my Italian roots and lemons because it seems when a dish is missing something a squeeze of lemon juice always seems to round it out.

On your day off – what are you cooking at home? If you’re eating out, where do you go?

On my day off??? If I do take a day off, I’m usually eating out. I like to go to Terroni (720 Queen Street West, and others) if my wife and I are craving Italian food. Pho Hung (350 Spadina Avenue) for Vietnamese, and I’m still in search of a great burger in Toronto.

What is your favourite thing about the food scene in Toronto?

The most amazing thing about the food scene in Toronto is the generation of chefs that are driving it now. The camaraderie and willingness to work together to promote Toronto as a food city is outstanding. I just wish that someone would actually expose this to the rest of the world. I’ve never seen another city’s chefs work together so well and participate in so many voluntary events. This says a lot about the future of gastronomy in Toronto.

What’s coming up?

My wife Rachelle and I are opening a new restaurant called Beast. My last day at the Wine Bar was May 23rd and we will take over the Amuse Bouche space on June 1st. We are hoping to be open on June 9th and are very excited to live upstairs and have our restaurant for people to come and dine.