Celebrity chef catering trend gaining traction in Canada


By Marian Staresinic

For many up-and-coming event planners and promoters, the idea of highlighting the servings or in-house appearances of a celebrity chef has felt like somewhat of a pipe dream, something only the overly wealthy or elite could pull off. The logistics and key questions can be overwhelming, even when the overall budget is in favour of the initiative. “How can I access these busy chefs? Can we get them to cater our large-scale events? How can I see their exclusive menus?”

While chefs offering catering services outside their restaurants is not a new concept, their partnerships with popular catering companies has become a rising trend in staple American hotspots, starting with Mario Batali in New York City. In the summer of 2013, Batali teamed up with caterer Mary Giuliani to form Mario by Mary, a customized celebrity catering line.

“We were playing around in the Mary Giuliani kitchen and took one of our most popular items that we have been serving for years: our mini grilled cheese, and drizzled Mario’s Otto black truffle honey on top,” explained Giuliani. “To me, that bite was the food equivalent to a great Johnny Cash and June Carter duet and that is what we feel this catering experience will feel like to our guests.”

For those of us north of the border, including members of our guest lists, the thought of tasting the creations of culinary masters can seem so far off. Who wouldn’t want to try the esteemed Alberta Beef prime cuts of Calgary’s CHARCUT Roast House or authentic Italian cuisine of Montreal’s Little Italy without having to pick up a plane ticket?

Well, now the trend is making its way to Canada with the country’s first ever celebrity chef catering service being helmed by none other than Toronto’s own David D’Aprile, owner and founder of 10tation Event Catering. Originally founded in 2001, 10tation has already become a preferred caterer and food supplier for large-scale events, corporations and venues including the MMVA’s, the Canadian Screen Awards, Toronto International Film Festival, Mirvish theatres and many more.

Chef Michele Forgione

Chef Michele Forgione

By teaming with a lineup of renowned culinary masters who are already changing the culinary landscape, D’Aprile aims to offer these catering opportunities to parties of any size, at any time for any occasion worth celebrating, even allowing for the option of booking appearances by the chefs themselves.

“Our staff recognizes that this partnership will inject inspiration into our kitchen while also attracting new business and opportunities,” commented D’Aprile.

The Chefs by 10tation lineup includes nationwide greats like Toronto’s Cory Vitiello (FLOCK Rotisserie + Greens), Calgary’s John Jackson & Connie DeSousa (CHARCUT Roast House, charbar) and Montreal‘s Michele Forgione (Impasto, Chez Tousignant, Pizzeria Gema).

“Chefs like Cory, Michele, John and Connie are on the cutting edge,” said D’Aprile.

“They’re not just going to be passing off their menus. Each of them will be working alongside our team to develop and recreate their dishes. It’s important to us that no detail is overlooked and that the integrity of the food remains true to their style.”

Chef Cory Vitiello

Chef Cory Vitiello

With both cooking and catering experience under his belt during his career path as a restaurateur and television food expert, Cory Vitiello acknowledges the advantages of merging worlds and skill sets with D’Aprile.

“With David’s focus on having the infrastructure to be able to cater to larger scale events and my focus on what’s on the plate, there’s a certain synergy between us that makes this the perfect partnership,” Vitiello explained.

“We can both cook, we can both cater but at the same time our best abilities, our specializations, counterbalance each other, bringing what’s beloved about premium restaurant cuisine to elegant, upscale events of greater proportions.”

Freeing the limitations of culinary confections from the walls of capped-capacity restaurants, Chefs by 10tation has customizable celebrity catering packages and pricings now available upon request to professionals seeking quotes, inquiry answers or menu information.

About the author

Marian Staresinic is the Vice President of Branding and Buzzing. She has been in the food business her whole career, beginning at Stratford Chefs School then as a restaurant and cooking school owner, celebrity chef talent manager, AGA Cooker Brand Manager, food editor and the founder of Windsor’s Slow Food chapter. Branding and Buzzing is a modern food marketing agency that brings the buzz to their clients through engaging consumer conversations, marketing campaigns, social media and real-life experiences that are inspirational, memorable and most importantly, brand-driven. For more information, visit brandingandbuzzing.com.

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