The stars of Chef in Your Ear are a diverse bunch, with specialties ranging across the flavour spectrum. But if there’s one thing that unites our five chefs and host Greg Komorowski, it’s a passion for good food. Here are the dishes they crave the most.
Devin Connell says her favourite dish is “low brow,” but don’t worry — it’s not a Big Mac. She’s the chef behind her best-loved recipe, a simple mix of orzo, lemon zest, lemon juice, Parmesan and chives, topped with lamb meatballs. “I make it for myself, in shame,” she admits of the modest but delectable dish.
Craig Harding’s Campagnolo is one of Toronto’s best Italian restaurants, so it should come as no surprise that his favourite food is pasta, specifically his mom’s penne a la vodka with chicken parmesan. “It’s bacon-y, spicy, creamy tomato with penne. And juicy, perfect chicken or veal Parm with breaded, fried mozzarella and tomato on top. It’s amazing.”
Chicken cutlets are something special when Rob Rossi’s mom makes them. “She’ll bread a chicken that’s pounded out and done in a pan, and it’s really crispy, kind of oily and nice,” he says. Paired with rapini and potatoes, the meal evokes warm memories of Rossi’s childhood. “It really makes me feel good to eat it because it’s something that I grew up with and I love eating it.”
Want to impress Cory Vitiello? His advice is to keep it simple, as he does when serving his favourite food to friends and family. “My all-time favourite dish is just whole grilled fish with grilled corn, and grilled leeks and grilled onions,” he explains. “Some fresh tortillas where you can just pull the fish right off the bone and give it a squeeze of lime, some cilantro, a fresh tomato salsa. Nothing that’s plated or manipulated but just a mess of food on the table. Everybody gets at it, builds their own plates—that’s my favourite.”
“Anything that she makes is amazing,” says Andino of his grandmother’s cooking. He particularly loves her Korean cut short ribs, pork belly and pancit, a Filipino rice noodle dish with vegetables, sweet Chinese sausage and shrimp.
“Sorry mom,” says Komorowski, “Your food is great, but Da Michele’s pizza is one of the best things I’ve ever tasted.” The pizzeria in Naples, Italy fires up simple pies topped with buffalo mozzarella and olive oil. “It’s amazing how something so simple can be so perfect. I would go back there in a heartbeat. That’s how good it is. So good you can’t leave it for leftovers. You know when you have that problem, like, I’m so full but there’s half a pizza and I won’t appreciate it but I’m still going to eat it? Yeah, absolutely that.”
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