(Image: left, J.P. Challet/Facebook; right, Windsor Arms/Facebook)
Toronto chef J.P. Challet has had an on-again, off-again relationship with the Windsor Arms hotel. To be concise: he was the hotel’s first chef in 1999; decamped two years later; came back in 2010 to revamp the food program and then left (again) five months later when the deal fell through. Now, the relationship is back on. Food writer James Chatto reports on his Toronto dining blog that Challet is uprooting the team from Ici Bistro, his quietly luxurious restaurant on Harbord Street, and moving back to Yorkville’s toniest boutique hotel.
The new restaurant, which opens this May in a renovated space next to the prim Courtyard Café, will have 40 seats to Ici’s 25. Otherwise, it will be a straightforward transplant. Challet told the Grid: “We’re not changing anything, just the address. I’m going to keep the same staff, prices, philosophy, and the name.” (As for the fate of Ici, that’s still somewhat up in the air, although Challet currently plans to hold on to the space.) The deal has an extra perk thrown in for Challet, not to mention the croissant-eating public: Windsor Arms developer George Friedmann will also be backing a new J.P. Challet patisserie in the Queen Live Market on Queen Street West.