They say that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. Ask Stephen Gouzopoulos, head chef of L’Unità restaurant, and he won’t contest it. However, cooking and making people happy is a passion of his, be it man, woman, or his wife, who ceaselessly motivates him.
3:15 p.m. – Back at resto, unload produce. Continue to prep for night’s service.
4:30 p.m. – Review specials with FOH (front of house).
5 p.m. – Put up staff meal (tonight it’s fried chicken and salad).
5:15 p.m. – Set station for service and do station checks (check other cooks’ work and stations).
5:30 p.m. – Service begins.
5:30 to 10 p.m. – Service: orchestrate service, ensure food quality is up to standards and control the flow of the food and FOH.
10:30 p.m. – Pack up station and clean kitchen.
11:30 p.m. – Place orders for following day.
Midnight – Go home for dinner and time with my wife.
For those dreaming of becoming the next top chef, start practicing with a hand-picked recipe from L’Unità:
Pork chop with braised escarole, honey roasted shallots and pine nuts
– Butcher bone-in pork loin into 12-oz. chops.
– Brine pork for seven hours.
500 grams salt
400 grams sugar
4 cardamom pods
Half a bunch of thyme
3 bay leaves
1 head garlic
4 litres water
– Bring all ingredients to a boil. Ensure salt and sugar are dissolved and cool.
– Once cooled, fully submerge pork chops and place weight on top to keep chops covered in brine for seven hours.
– Remove and rinse.
– Blanch escarole in salted boiling water and shock in an ice bath.
– Reserve for later.
Honey roasted shallots
5 large shallots
4 tbsp honey
2 tbsp olive oil
Half a bunch of thyme
2 bay leaves
2 cloves garlic
– Peel and quarter shallots. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Celsius. In a large frying pan, heat honey and oil over medium. Add garlic, bay and thyme. Once honey is melted, add shallots.
– Toss to coat shallots in mixture and place in oven on the bottom rack. Roast for 10 minutes, or until a dark golden colour is achieved.
To finish the dish
– Grill mark the chop and then place on pan in the oven eight to 12 minutes for medium.
– In a small frying pan, heat up 1 tsp of olive oil and add blanched escarole. Season the escarole with salt and pepper. Add 1 tbsp of honey roasted shallots and 1 tsp of toasted pine nuts. Cook until all ingredients are hot. Taste for seasoning.
Plate the dish and top the pork chop with Kozlik’s maple mustard. Enjoy.
*Our pork comes from Perth Pork. A heritage pig farmer in Perth, Ontario hand-delivers the meat every week.