Executive Chef Steve Silvestro of Scaddabush Italian Kitchen & Bar is now winning over Torontonians one signature meatball at a time. After opening Scaddabush’s first location in Mississauga in fall 2013, Silvestro and the SIR Corp team recently opened the restaurant’s first downtown Toronto location this past spring at Yonge and Gerrard. It turns out that Torontonians and Mississaugans, both urban and suburban alike, can’t get enough of Scaddabush’s fresh ingredients, homemade pasta and mozzarella cheese (made fresh in-house every day), and the casual, sharing-oriented meals on the menu. We caught up with Silvestro to find out more…
Tell us a bit about yourself. What should people know?
I have a typical Italian-Canadian background – growing up, my Nonna lived at our house and there was always something delicious simmering on the stove. The kitchen was the central focus of the house and my brother, sister, and I all enjoyed and participated in preparing meals and baking seasonal traditional treats.
I spent two years living and cooking in Italy, which changed everything for me. I’ve only cooked as a profession. I have a wife, two kids (a boy aged 6, and a girl who is 6 months-old) so when I’m not at work, I’m at home with family.
What are the biggest challenges and best rewards about what you do?
Being the Executive Chef at Scaddabush is a huge job. It’s a new brand in a corporate setting with many layers. Things take time to actualize and following up takes great focus and care. The reward is that we treat the concept as though it were a single unit, kind of like a ‘mom and pop’ operation. We use fresh ingredients and make food from scratch. I personally think this is a great achievement and I’m happy to hang my hat on it.
What are three things you can’t live without?
– My family.
– Spaghetti pomodoro basilico e pepperoncini. I can remember in detail a time when I had this dish in its perfect form. I constantly strive for that experience every time I make it.
– Freedom and encouragement to create, play, and enjoy my work to the fullest each day. I enjoy my work every day. I couldn’t be luckier!
Finish this sentence: I love Toronto because…
…in its finest moments it’s the most accepting, exciting, progressive city to live in the world. Currently, it needs a hug.
What’s your favourite restaurant and why?
So many to choose from! I have a favourite in Chinatown (Rol San), a favourite on the Danforth (Pantheon), a favourite taco joint (Tacos al Asador), a favourite burger (The Stockyards). The common theme between these places is that these are all consistent restaurants that survive and surpass trends and offer me the same great simple food every time. If I was leaving Toronto tomorrow I’d probably go to the Emerson in Bloordale and ask the chefs to just feed me.