Biana Zorich

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Petite Thuet’s financial district shop closing in April

(Image: Danielle Scott)

(Image: Danielle Scott)

For the past five years, local gourmet food chain Petite Thuet’s One King West outpost has been nourishing downtowners with fresh loaves, vac-packed charcuterie and ready-made meals. But on April 30th, the area fixture will shut its doors. The lease on the space has expired, and co-owner Biana Zorich, who runs the company with her husband Marc Thuet, says the space was becoming too pricey. “Rent in the downtown core is getting a bit ridiculous,” she said. Apparently it’s gone up 30 per cent since they opened.

Petite Thuet’s Rosedale and St. Lawrence Market locations will remain open, and Biana says they plan to devote more energy to the company’s thriving wholesale business. She also hints, however, that they are in the “very, very early planning stages” for another Petite Thuet location. Stay tuned for more details.

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Food TV

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Top Chef Canada exit interview, episode 12: put a ring on it

This season, we’re chatting with each week’s eliminated chef after they get the boot (or, rather, after their boot-getting episode airs—this stuff was recorded months ago). 

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Restaurants

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Toronto Taste 2012: We catch up with the chefs and owners of Buca, Nota Bene, Splendido, Salt and many more

Buca’s Rob Gentile, C5’s Corbin Tomaszeski and Union’s Teo Paul (Images: Renée Suen)

This past Sunday marked the 22nd edition of Toronto Taste, which saw 2,000 food enthusiasts gathering at the ROM to meet some of Toronto’s top chefs while munching on their creations. Over 60 restaurants and 30 beverage purveyors were present at the annual fundraiser, which raises money for Second Harvest, a food rescue program that delivers to various social service agencies. This year, guests were greeted with everything from house-cured meats and fish to lobster and steak (not necessarily together). We caught up with Buca’s Rob Gentile, Nota Bene’s David Lee, Petite Thuet’s Marc Thuet and Biana Zorich, Splendido’s Victor Barry, Top Chef Canada judge Mark McEwan and many more for the latest on their various ventures.

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Food TV

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Top Chef Canada recap, episode 12: fashion victims

Jennifer McLagan joins the regular crew at the Shops at Don Mills (Image: Courtesy Top Chef Canada)

TOP CHEF CANADA Season 2 | Episode 12

With only four chefs remaining in the competition, last night’s episode of Top Chef Canada started in style—with Carl Heinrich, David Chrystian, Trevor Bird and Jonathan Korecki suiting up at their condo, accompanied by appropriately gladiatorial music. Over the next 43-odd TV minutes they’d be confronted with a legendarily tough (and foul-mouthed) guest judge, and one of those perplexing elimination challenges that leaves a chef between a rock and a hard place. Find out who makes it to the final and who gets sent packing, below.

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Food TV

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Top Chef Canada reveals the rather stacked list of guest judges for season two

Remember last year when Chris Cosentino, one of the pioneers of the offal revival, visited Toronto for undisclosed reasons and claimed he could smell Chinatown from three blocks away? Or when Richard Blais, the molecularly inclined winner of Top Chef All-Stars, tweeted about the interesting tasting menu he’d just lunched on in Toronto? Or when Italian food legend Lidia Bastianich dropped in at All the Best Fine Foods? Turns out they weren’t here just because they love us—they’re all guest judges on season two of Top Chef Canada. Other notable judges and tasters include—and let us be clear, this is a bit of a spoiler for those who really like to keep their Top Chef Canada viewing pure—east-coast chef Michael Smith, season one host Thea Andrews (no hard feelings, we guess!), chef-about-town Matty Matheson of Parts and Labour, Leafs assistant captain Colby Armstrong, Susur Lee and his soon-to-be restaurateur sons Kai and Jet Bent-Lee, Toca’s Tom Brodi, Roger Mooking, Top Chef Masters winner Marcus Samuelson, last season’s winner Dale MacKay and his adorable son Ayden, Keisha Chante, Rick the Temp Campanelli, Lorenzo Loseto of George, Charlie’s Burgers mastermind Franco Stalteri, husband-and-wife dynamos Marc Thuet and Biana Zorich, Odd Bits author Jennifer McLagan, Vancouver Indian restaurateur and chef Vikram Vij and assorted competitors from last season, not to mention the somewhat bizarro guests we already told you about, like Alan Thicke and Mike Holmes. (Whew!) Not bad.

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People

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See how chefs (from Frank’s Kitchen and Woodlot) feed each other at a fundraiser for one of their own

Chef Robbie Hojilla, the man of the hour, pictured with his family. (Image: Renée Suen)

Over the last couple of months, we’ve reported on events where cooks and restaurateurs have donated their time and resources to give to others. Last Monday at Frank’s Kitchen, we dropped in on a fundraiser thrown for one of their own: Woodlot cook Robbie Hojilla. Just 25 years old, Hojilla has been diagnosed with heart failure and is currently not able to work. Given that the restaurant business lacks the sort of financial fallbacks of other jobs (like health benefits or sick leave), chef Frank Parhizgar and his wife, Shawn Cooper, the owners of Frank’s Kitchen, decided to help the talented young chef with an industry-wide fundraiser. Donating space, food and alcohol, the couple joined up with the staff of Frank’s and Woodlot to offer a multi-course dinner complete with wine pairings.

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People

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Toronto Taste 2011: We get the latest news from top chefs and restaurateurs from Woodlot, Buca, Nota Bene, O&B and many more

Rob Gentile (Buca), David Lee (Nota Bene), Andrea Nicholson (Great Cooks on Eight), Paul Boehmer (Böhmer), Teo Paul (Union)

Two thousand of Toronto’s food lovers and makers gathered at the ROM on Sunday for the 21st edition of Toronto Taste. The annual fundraiser—which raises money for Second Harvest—saw more than 60 restaurants and 30 beverage purveyors offering their best to the guests. Burgers and tacos might have been the plats du jour, but new restaurant openings seemed to be the hottest item on the plates of many chefs and restaurateurs we spoke to. Here’s what we heard from Buca’s Rob Gentile, Woodlot’s David Haman, Scarpetta’s Scott Conant, Splendido’s Victor Barry, Top Chef Canada contestants Dustin Gallagher and Andrea Nicholson and many more. 

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Restaurants

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Conviction Kitchen over, but not the end of TV for Marc Thuet

Zorich and Thuet at the opening of Conviction in 2009 (Image: Karon Liu)

It was fun while it lasted, but despite plans to eventually bring Conviction Kitchen to the U.S., next week’s season finale of the reality show will mark the end of the series, Eye Weekly reports. Chef Marc Thuet and partner Biana Zorich have put the kibosh on a third season of the reality show, since working away from Toronto is apparently making it too difficult for the couple to focus on their business here.

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Q&A with Marc Thuet and Biana Zorich: The restaurateurs talk about Conviction Kitchen II, their marriage and how Vancouver compares to Toronto

Biana Zorich and Marc Thuet at their home in Toronto (Image: Davida Aronovitch)

Marc Thuet and Biana Zorich are exhausted. It’s taken the pair a month to recuperate after shooting the second season of their reality show, Conviction Kitchen II, in Vancouver. Like last year’s Toronto edition, the program is airing on CityTV and features former convicts learning the cooking and restaurant trade. Amid talk of a third season set in the U.S., Zorich and Thuet are in Toronto re-organizing their lives. They’ve shut down the original Conviction restaurant on King Street West and are focusing on their bread-making business. Here, they talk with us about their Vancouver experience, their marriage and the Conviction Kitchen contestants they came to love.

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Random Stuff

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Inside the fridge of chef Marc Thuet and restaurateur Biana Zorich

In our new series, Crisper Chronicles, we ask the city’s top food personalities to let us into their most intimate alimentary enclave: the home refrigerator. This week, chef Marc Thuet and his wife, front-of-house master Biana Zorich—both back in Toronto after shooting a new season of Conviction Kitchen in Vancouver—talk about the treasures (and trash) that lurk in their icebox.

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Marc Thuet closes Conviction for good, but has two new restaurants in the works

Biana Zorich and Marc Thuet at the opening of Conviction in 2009 (Image: Karon Liu)

Just over a year after opening Conviction—the third incarnation of their flagship restaurant—chef Marc Thuet and partner Biana Zorich have closed the restaurant for good. A lapsed lease has spelled the end of team Thuet’s presence on King Street West—and the end of an era, seeing as the couple was among the first to colonize what is now a hot restaurant strip. Now they’re turning their attention to places as close as Rosedale and as far away as Alsace. Anywhere, they say, but King West.

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Random Stuff

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Thuet’s upcoming cookbook now has a title and release date

More details of Marc Thuet’s cookbook are out as he and Biana Zorich prepare to head out west to work on the second season of Conviction Kitchen next month. The Post reports that the surprisingly expletive-free title is French Food My Way and that the book will be released in November. This may be cutting it close in terms of promotion, since the chef is scheduled to shoot a third season of his reality show in the States starting in September. The book includes 100 recipes covering breakfast, lunch and dinner, plus desserts and special meals for get-togethers.

Celebrity chef Marc Thuet has new cookbook coming: French Food My Way [National Post]


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Go west: Marc Thuet leaves T.O. to take Conviction to B.C. and the U.S.

Marc Thuet and Biana Zorich: courage of their Convictions (Photo by Karon Liu)

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.

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Restaurants

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No matter how hard the network tries to make it look like trash, Conviction Kitchen is actually good

Off the Marc: the logo for Conviction Kitchen appears seared onto Thuet's arm

On the Marc: the logo for Conviction Kitchen appears seared onto Thuet's arm (Logo courtesy of CityTV)

The last thing prime time television needs is another screaming chef, so we are relieved to report that Marc Thuet was right when he described his new TV program as more of a documentary than a reality show. Conviction Kitchen, in which Thuet and his partner, Biana Zorich, mentor a group of ex-cons to run their new restaurant, focuses on the food and the business aspect of running the establishment rather than the personal dramas of the contestants (shocking, indeed). Only three episodes have aired so far; for the most part, the six servers and seven cooks seem pretty competent and likable; they’d probably blow the contestants of Hell’s Kitchen out of the salted, boiling water.

But here’s where the problem lies.

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People

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Toronto Taste 2009: A $225 evening of chocolate pasta and Arctic char

This year’s Toronto Taste corralled 40 of the city’s chefs—including Mark McEwan, David Lee, Jamie Merieles, Marc Thuet, Keith Froggett and other big names—into a fenced-in space on Cumberland Avenue. The objective was to raise money for Second Harvest. We toured the food stations and met the chefs before the crowd arrived. This year’s Toronto Taste corralled 40 of the city’s chefs—including Mark McEwan, David Lee, Jamie Merieles, Marc Thuet, Keith Froggett and other big names—into a fenced-in space on Cumberland Avenue. The objective was to raise money for Second Harvest. We toured the food stations and met the chefs before the crowd arrived.