Our next Chef of the Week was recently appointed the Executive Chef at The Distillery District’s favourite French restaurant.
Allow us to introduce you to Murray McDonald.
Chef McDonald may be new to Toronto’s food scene, but he’s no stranger to the kitchen. Prior to being appointed as the Executive Chef at award-winning French bistro Cluny, Chef McDonald headed kitchens in New Zealand, the Caribbean and Mexico. Most recently, Chef McDonald worked as the Executive Chef at Newfoundland’s Fogo Island Inn, helping it earn top spots in enRoute’s Best New Restaurants, Canada’s 100 Best Restaurants, and The World’s 50 Best lists.
We had the opportunity to talk to him about how he got his start, the hard-to-find ingredient that’s sure to up your next recipe, and his go-to home recipe.
How did you get your start in the industry?
I started cooking at home when my mother went back to school when I was about 13-14 years old. It became mine and my sister’s job to cook the family supper. My mother taught me some basic dishes and my love for cooking started from there.
How would you describe your culinary style?
The art of collaboration… A collective unit of ideas.
What’s your favourite dish (in development) on your current menu and why?
My favourite dish we are working on is one of the simplest. It’s a scallop crudo with our house made fish cracker puffs. It took a lot of work from the team to perfect the fish puff recipe, but it was worth it.
What do you think is the biggest misconception about the restaurant industry?
That it’s glamorous… It isn’t. There is lots of hard work, blood, sweat and tears.
What’s your go-to meal to cook at home?
I love breakfast at all times of the day, so usually on my day off we have breakfast for supper. Bacon and eggs all the time.
What are three restaurants our readers need to try before they die?
That’s not really my scene… I would just love to eat the cooking of both my Grandmothers one more time. For me, family is the soul of food… It is a part of our culture that we can always take with us.
What’s one tip our readers should know to up their own game in their kitchens?
Unicorn tears make everything taste better…
If there was one thing in the restaurant industry you could change, what would it be?
Just more love… One kitchen, one love
How do you think Toronto (and/or Canada’s) culinary scene will evolve in the future?
Toronto has an amazing and diverse culinary scene. You name the cuisine, you can find it. Recently, I even found a restaurant that serves food from my wife’s hometown in China. I’m not sure what the future holds for the Canadian culinary scene, but I do believe there are amazing things to come.
Are there any other chefs you’d like to see profiled? Let us know in the comment section or tweet us at @ViewtheVibe.