We all remember the extraordinarily talented David Chrystian from Top Chef Canada, but true Toronto foodies have been following Chrystian’s career since the very beginning. Once considered the most innovative chef to rise to prominence in Toronto since Susur Lee, the former Top Chef contestant had a cult following long before reality TV came calling. These days, as the executive chef and co-owner of Victor Restaurant at Le Germain Hotel, Chrystian continues to impress the city’s most distinguished palates with his creative approach to food, and the kitchen’s definitely heating up for the holiday season. We caught up with Chrystian to find out more about his unique career.
Anything juicy you can tell us about being on Top Chef Canada? Be honest.
I think the confidentiality agreement lasts a couple more years… The most fascinating feeling was having been kept away from all forms of media and society for six weeks. During the taping the entire subway system underwent an overhaul… We got brand new shiny subways. When I went underground for the first time, I thought I had just awoke from a decade of sleep and found myself in the future. It was a very strange feeling that could never be made possible without having been taken from all comforts.
There are so many restaurants in downtown Toronto, what makes Victor as special as it is?
Victor is leading the way in charting and discovering what Toronto cuisine is now and will be in the future. Many chefs have embraced our multi-cultural city. As a visitor or local in Toronto, Victor is a great place to start the culinary adventure. Under one roof, we make it possible to sample authentic and modern versions of ethnic classic dishes, and we will guide you through the city one bite at a time.
What are the biggest challenges and best rewards about what you do?
Obviously someone cannot be everywhere all the time. And sometimes you have to be. This is the biggest challenge; however, as a team begins to thrive and gel together, and being everywhere all the time is actually possible (so to speak), this is a great reward. Being part of a great team, fostering growth in young cooks and managers, and contributing to the building of future generations of cooks and traditions is satisfying.
Finish this sentence. I love Toronto because…
Your palate can never get tired.
What are three things you can’t live without?
My wife, a creative outlet and a proper roast chicken and mashed potato supper.
What’s your favourite drink/ cocktail and where do you go to get it?
A good Bourbon Manhattan would suffice. When Origin opened on Church it was the best I had, and honestly I have been chasing down finding another as good since… unfortunately, to no avail.
Give us a snippet about Victor.
Fact: Victor is an amazing events space. We cater a group from 20-50 really well. And treat each guest as a restaurant diner, never as part of a group.
Let’s get social for a mo’. How can people stay up-to-date with all your globe-trotting?
I am honestly not much for social media. A New Year’s resolution will be to become a bit more savvy in this arena. The best place to start will be our website, and as my crawl becomes a run, there will be more to pay attention to next year with no doubt.
Check out the amazing Victor experience below!