Canada's Chefs: Lorenzo Loseto, Toronto ON

by Krlmagi

Chef Lorenzo Loseto combines a classical cooking background with diverse cultural influences to create unique flavour profiles in his dishes.

Many chefs are moulded by their early experiences of food and Chef Lorenzo Loseto is no exception. He says, “I grew up in a traditional Italian household. I was actually born in Italy and we came to Canada when I was eight months old. I grew up around good food and a culture where food is really appreciated. We didn’t grow up with a lot of money but the ingredients we bought were the best. I thought that I was lucky being around that food but I came to realize that not everyone thought like that.”

Loseto adds, “I was always more comfortable helping my mom or dad in the kitchen than anything else, so cooking just comes naturally to me."

The chef talks about some of the experiences that have shaped him as a chef. The first experience he cites happened after he’d finished high school. Loseto explains, “I was accepted to a couple of universities but that didn’t really inspire me. I’ve always been someone who is driven and passionate about the things that I do, but I really didn’t have any drive to go to university.”


He says that he had considered culinary school when he stumbled across a restaurant in Brampton headed by a British chef who’d worked in some of England’s best restaurants. He points out, “I told the chef that I was going to culinary school and I asked him what he thought.  He recommended that I do an apprenticeship rather than paying for school by being a waiter. He offered me a few waiter’s shifts and let me work in the kitchen too. He taught me a lot of the basics.”


Eventually Loseto dropped waiting tables altogether and worked in the kitchen full time. The chef directed him towards the restaurant at the Windsor Arms Hotel in Toronto.  He says, “All of the good, young chefs like Marc Thuet and Anthony Walsh were working there at the time. When I started there I didn’t think I’d last a week! Those guys were crazy but I learned a lot.”


The other major experience that the chef cites as a force that shaped him was working for world-renowned chef Susur Lee. He explains, “I set up an interview with him and he was two hours late. I was about to leave when he showed up on his motorcycle and took me to his restaurant, Lotus, which was basically just a shack at the time.”


Loseto stuck with it and says that Lee’s mentality meshed well with his own and that they had similar philosophies in terms of food and cooking.

Chef Lorenzo Loseto
Chef Lorenzo Loseto

In terms of his current approach to food and cooking, Loseto explains, “Ever since I started running kitchens, I’ve approached cooking the same way. I start by asking myself what’s interesting and what I’d like to eat personally. I look at what’s in season and I look for some different products because I get bored easily. I like to create a balanced plate and I like little flavours here and there.”


He goes on to say, “I want the tastes to go really well together while still standing on their own. I want everything I cook to have a great flavour profile. After that I have to think about whether its going to work or not. Sometimes you have great ideas that don’t translate.”


Loseto says that whatever he cooks has to challenge him personally. He points out, “Italian food interests me but I don’t find it all that challenging. It is challenging in a sense because its hard to make pizza dough or pasta properly. I have the utmost respect for Italian food but I grew up with it. I was born in Italy but I want to create Canadian cuisine. I like to use the influences of my Italian roots and all of the other cultures around me to create something Canadian.”


When it comes to how he gets creative ideas, Loseto says, “To be honest, I don’t know where I get some of my ideas. Some ideas come from wanting to serve things differently from other people, and some ideas come from dining out. For example, I had bison cheeks in Quebec City this weekend and they were really good. The markets are always an inspiration to me too. I’m there every week talking to suppliers. From there, I just come up with a dish.”

Chef Lorenzo at work
Chef Lorenzo at work

The chef talks about his approach to sourcing ingredients. He explains that because the restaurant has been around for ten years they have well-established suppliers. He adds, “I have one guy who has an elk farm and he basically sources anything I want from the different farmers around him. We also work closely with Ocean Wise to find sustainable fish suppliers.”

Loseto also says that he goes to the Food Terminal in Toronto to pick up his own fruit and vegetables. He says, “I have a good relationship with a lot of the farmers there and they save me things. I get there so early that I can get some of the specialized stuff. ”

The chef discusses the traits that he hopes to see in himself as an executive chef. He says, I want to still be in the kitchen and I still want to cook. I like to be there and be hands on, so that my focus will still be on the food. I like to work hard and be as determined as ever. I’m always the first to get here and the last to leave, so I try to lead by example.”


A good kitchen team is important for any chef. Loseto talks about what he looks for and explains, “As far as cooks go, if I just hired them and they’re young, I just expect them to be good people first of all. If  they put in the time and the effort, we can show them a lot.  They just have to work hard and be professional.”

When it comes to what keeps him fresh and motivated, Loseto says, “When I see some of the young kids who are so green, but completely driven and excited to do what they do, they keep me young. They inspire me. I’m also inspired by the product. I love to create interesting dishes out of that beautiful product. Good food puts people, not only me, in a good frame of mind.”

Chef Lorenzo plating.
Chef Lorenzo plating.
Updated: 09/15/2014, Krlmagi
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