In The PressRead what others are saying about the Beast
Forget one measly day. Chef Scott Vivian needs a whole week to properly prepare this snout-to-tail spectacular, in which a beast of your choosing — goat, lamb, pig, duck, venison, elk, wild boar and rabbit have all been ordered — becomes the basis for a six-course tasting menu.
“Meat is a very important part of cooking,” says Scott. “It doesn’t have to be at the forefront of a meal. It can be Portuguese style, with meat and fish together with many other things. Or it can be about incorporating a charcuterie feel into the dishes.”
Eating at Scott and Rachelle Vivian’s Beast is literally like night and day.
At night, under a canopy of stars and whispering maples, the patio of the former Amuse-Bouche – and long before that Susur Lee’s legendary Lotus – makes the perfect backdrop for one of the most exquisitely executed dinner cards around. Sadly, in the harsh glare of daylight, that same curbside terrace’s brunch is a lesser affair.
Scott Vivian, the owner and head chef at Beast Restaurant isn’t short of praise for the city’s evolving restaurant scene. I recently sat down with him to discuss pioneering the much talked about Group of Seven Chefs, harnessing the nose-to-tail dining craze, and where he hopes his culinary ventures will take him next.
The resto scene in 2010 was a year of extremes, from high on the hog to low on the trotter. Everybody did a burger or poutine – the more ott the better – and brunch, once the bane of the industry, got bigger than ever. And louder, so very much louder.
Here are the 10 new beaneries that had us barking for more.
While he’s yet to bring his show to T.O., celebrity chef, author and television star Anthony Bourdain is in town promoting his new book, Medium Raw. When we spoke to Bourdain earlier this month, the 54-year-old said nobody’s made a compelling enough case as to why our fair city deserves to be featured on his hit show No Reservations.
If anyone can change his mind, it’s Scott Vivian, chef and co-owner of Beast restaurant and the man tasked with catering the VIP event Wednesday night after Bourdain’s show at Massey Hall. We caught up with Vivian and asked him the top five Toronto restaurants he’d take Bourdain if given the chance:
October 19 2010 will long be remembered when 20 brave Chaine members looked into the eye of “Beast”. Five courses of first class food were presented by the Chef/Owner of this relatively new establishment. They were accompanied by some wonderful wine pairings. Table favourite included the duck fat poached black cod with braised head cheese that was then breaded and deep fried. Lightly smoked duck foie gras was equally well received. Each course featured Canadian produce including oysters and fish from both coasts. They were elegantly presented with a wonderful and sensitive balance of taste sensations. Bread made on the premises served with creamy butter was a nice treat. And speaking of nice treats; the palette cleanser of cranberry and ginger was a personal favourite. The service was handled with professional skill and the timing of the presentation allowed for inspired conversation at least until the plates had landed; at which time the Beast became very quiet! We all agreed that this was certainly one of the best Chaine events this year and I for one will be sure to return with friends.
What would you cook for globetrotting culinary adventurer Anthony Bourdain and his food-loving fans?
Dirty rice fritters, crispy lamb brains and veal sweetbreads, beef tongue and bone marrow sound about right.
Those are some of the dishes that Beast restaurant chef/owner Scott Vivian has planned for the Sept. 22 VIP meet-and-greet at Massey Hall after Bourdain’s 8 p.m. talk.
He’s excited, in a nonchalant kind of way, but admits that accepting the invitation to cater wasn’t a no-brainer.
Recently had dinner at this lovely little gem in Downtown Toronto. The food is imaginative, creative, tasty and above all, fresh! The Chef works hard to use only locally grown produce, including his own herb garden, locally sourced meat and cheese (OH WHAT CHEESE!!!). The atmosphere is laid back, with friendly, attentive service and no loud music. The patio is small but wonderful, my only beef is the smokers but, that’s way off topic.
When one of the world’s best-known food connoisseurs singles you out as an outstanding chef, you can expect business to improve. That’s what’s happened for Scott Vivian, chef and owner of Beast, a Toronto restaurant featured prominently in an episode of The Layover, a popular U.S. television series starring Anthony Bourdain.