A Beppi Crosariol feature comparing Vancouver’s restaurant scene to Toronto’s in today’s Globe and Mail:
“Vancouver is a much more vibrant and favourable place for restaurateurs and chefs willing to do things professionally,” said Pino Posteraro, chef-owner of Cioppino’s, one of the city’s top-ranked restaurants.
“I believe that, except for a few people, chefs [in Toronto] have lost the drive and the focus.”
Harsh words. But if anyone is entitled to that kind of assessment, it’s Mr. Posteraro.
An Italian native, Mr. Posteraro rose to prominence in Toronto during the city’s culinary heyday of the 1980s with Celestino’s and later Borgo Antico before being lured to Vancouver in the mid-1990s by restaurateur Umberto Menghi, eventually striking out on his own once more with Cioppino’s in 1999.
Mr. Posteraro rattles off a litany of West Coast idols widely considered the best in the country for their respective cuisines. Among them: Vikram Vij of the modern Indian restaurant Vij’s, Hidekazu Tojo of the haute Japanese institution Tojo’s and Robert Clark of the pioneering sustainable seafood temple C Restaurant. Then there’s the elder statesman of modern Vancouver fine dining, John Bishop, whose eponymous restaurant has been the incubator for an inordinate number of careers, including Mr. Vij’s. Another notable acolyte is Jeremie Bastien, a twentysomething Quebec native lighting up the stove at Gastown hot spot Boneta.
Mr. Posteraro contrasts the environment with the Toronto he sees today, a once dynamic white-tablecloth scene that has largely yielded way to “cheap and cheerful” eateries churning out virtual assembly-line dishes catering to a less demanding clientele. “When I left Toronto, it was vibrant, it was beautiful,” he said. “And then the pseudo-pizzerias, they started to ruin it a bit.”
Read the full story here.