Bay St. Bull Power 50: Top Chefs
There is something about food's ability to bring people together. it should come as no surprise that Canada given it's size and diversity, would have a thriving culinary scene that holds it's own against the world's best.
For years, the food and drink industry has been dominated by a fraternity of men — in many ways, it still is. But slowly, that world has started to transform through the perspective of talented women who have something to say and refuse to play by conventional “boys club” rules. They are the chefs, the restaurateurs, the connoisseurs and more that are blazing a path for their contemporaries and helping to reshape the culinary landscape in Canada.
35. Jen Agg: Restaurateur
It’s not easy to change the cultural landscape of a neighborhood, to shift perception and turn it into a regular place of gathering. But, with her three establishments — The Black Hoof, Rhum Corner, Cocktail Bar — that’s just what Jen Agg has done along a quiet Dundas West strip, and in a larger sense, Toronto’s food scene. She’s known for her flavour of unfiltered candor. But it is that honesty, and a demand for excellence, that has landed her alongside Canada’s other culinary greats. Ever vocal, Agg has also championed her female counterparts in an effort to tackle the rampant sexism that exists in her industry. With a new restaurant in Montreal, another well on its way in Toronto, and a memoir coming out [aptly titled I Heard She’s A Real Bitch], Agg is only just getting started on her self-made empire.
36. Lauren Mote: Entrepreneur, beverage consultant
An exceptional watering hole is hard to come by these days. Part of that is because a drink is not simply just a drink — at least not a good one. Those that are a cut above the rest are the ones that offer perspective, transporting thirsty imbibers to a place of pure bliss. Toronto-born Lauren Mote is an award-winning mixologist and entrepreneur that has had a heavy hand in transforming Vancouver’s lackluster cocktail culture. Aside from her duties as a consultant and bar manager at UVA Wine & Cocktail Bar, Mote is also the co-founder of Bittered Sling, a successful brand of high-quality, small-batch cocktail and culinary bitters. With over 14 years of experience, she’s become one of Canada’s most respected experts in her area, having created over 240 unique recipes using homemade and artisanal ingredients.
37. Connie DeSousa: Chef, restaurateur
A Top Chef Canada finalist-turned judge, Connie DeSousa had an interesting path that led her to where she is today. Growing up as a ballet dancer, she would later leave the craft to pursue her love of food, eventually becoming known as the “Primal Ballerina” for her carnivorous tendencies in the kitchen. Among her impressive skills? The ability to debone a pig’s head in record time. Having trained with some of the world’s most talented culinary masters, DeSousa brought her collective experiences back to Canada and has since entertained hungry visitors at her Calgary restaurant, CHARCUT.
38. Lynn Crawford: Chef, restaurateur
A graduate of George Brown College in Toronto, Lynn has solidified herself as a culinary talent that has paved the way for many that have followed in her footsteps. Formerly the executive chef at the Four Seasons in Toronto and the Four Seasons in New York, Lynn has appeared on Restaurant Makeover and competed on Iron Chef America (one of three Canadian chefs to have done so) against Bobby Flay. In 2010, she launched her restaurant, Ruby Watchco, in Toronto, which pioneered the farm to table movement. With her own Food Network show, Pitchin’ In, and a series of books out, she has dominated the food industry with integrity and insight.