Marc Thuet and Biana Zorich are leaving Toronto to take on Vancouver and the United States. Following the success of their two major projects of 2009, Conviction and Conviction Kitchen—restaurant and reality show, respectively—the couple is heading to the west coast next week to scout real estate for the second location of the restaurant. Like the King West version, the Vancouver outpost will be run by reformed criminals whose trials and tribulations will be broadcast on TV.
Filming for the second season of Conviction Kitchen begins in April. Ex-cons in Vancouver will be competing to work under Thuet and Zorich, but six employees from the Toronto location will be there, as well, vying for the chance to manage the new restaurant. “We’re giving these people second chances,” says Thuet, “but they’re not going to be cooks and servers for the rest of their lives.”
The couple’s travels don’t end there. After the three-month filming period in Vancouver, Thuet and Zorich will fly to the States to execute the third season in September, though the production company has yet to decide on a location. “We’d love to go to Boston because of its history and all the seafood that’s there. I’d also love to open a bakery there and maybe live there someday,” says the chef, who also has a cookbook coming out in the fall.
While they are gone, their long-time assistants will run Conviction and the various Petites Thuets. “There are a lot of people who don’t appear on the show who help keep the place running,” says the chef. “In Vancouver, we’ll have partners who will run the place once we’re gone. I’m just going to get the place started and train the staff for three months.”
Thuet is clearly in demand in a world with an insatiable appetite for celebrity chefs. He was offered a show in England but tells us that he doesn’t know what’s in store for him in 2011. For now, he still calls Toronto home: “Our house is still here, and it’s where our kids go to school.”
When asked how he feels about the kind of criticism often levelled at international chefs (spreading too thin, decline in involvement, etc.), he says, “I live for myself and not for the people. There will be people who will be jealous and will always be unhappy with whatever you do. If I cared what people think, I would have left Toronto a long time ago. I trained as a chef, and that’s what I’m going to do for the rest of my life.”
A characteristically Thuet response—the kind we’ll miss around here (that is, when our dials aren’t tuned to Conviction Kitchen).