Breaking Bread with Guy Rawlings
A man who wears many hats, Guy Rawlings is an innovative thinker, a curious professional, a seasoned restaurant manager and an inventive chef. Born in England and raised in Toronto, Guy’s culinary journey has taken him from his first job at Milestones to New York, Beijing, Copenhagen and Berlin. As a veteran of the Toronto restaurant scene, Guy has worked at a handful of the city’s best restaurants like Black Hoof, Brockton General, Lucien, and most recently, Bar Isabel and Bar Raval. In 2013, Guy was awarded with the GE Monogram Terroir Awards of Hospitality for Outstanding Service Professional – a testament to his strong understanding of what makes a great restaurant great. Guy has stepped out from the manager role and returned to the kitchen for his latest joint venture his wife Kim, Montgomery’s. This Queen West newcomer will swap out imported ingredients for local ones, serving up new Canadian cuisine in a lively atmosphere. Here’s a better taste of what Guy Rawlings is all about in this week’s edition of Breaking Bread.
Describe your cooking style in one word.
What food is your guilty pleasure?
Frozen pizza from the convenience store across from where I live.
What do you think is the most overrated ingredient? Underrated ingredient?
OVERRATED: Seedlings. They can be delicious, but they are used quite often without purpose.
UNDERRATED Fat. A lot of commercial kitchens use poor quality plant based oils, like 99% of them. Canola, poor quality olive oil, these types of things that come from terrible production methods. The use of good quality animal fats, rendered from well raised animals is barely used. A lot of the time these fats are finding their way to the garbage because they are under appreciated and become a waste product. Which is sad because they tend have a lot more flavour then the commonly used oils.
What’s the one kitchen tool you can’t live without (excluding a knife)?
I’m pretty happy to live without any tool. I enjoy situations where you need creativity out of necessity. To find the best in your circumstances. For me it brings focus.
Describe the craziest thing you’ve ever seen happen in a kitchen?
One of the more surreal moments didn’t happen within a kitchen, but was related to it. It happened while visiting an abattoir with an Elk farmer who we purchased whole animals from. It was the middle of winter, and we were able to watch the animal taken from its trailer through the whole process until it was in a state that you would recognize in a butcher shop or ageing room. I’m not the first to mention this story or the appreciation it brings, but the whole process was quite shocking, surprising, and even quite violent. It’s a visual that is ingrained in my memory forever, and something I will share with my family and co-workers to hopefully bring a bit of respect and the reality that not all things show up on a Styrofoam tray.
Where is the one place in the world you want to travel to for the food?
There are many places. Having lived and worked in Beijing, I have a fondness to South East Asian street food. Vietnam would be great to visit.
Who’s the one person, dead or alive, you would love to cook a meal for?
My wife, always.
Who’s the bread to your butter?
Image via www.postcity.com