Photo Credit: Richard Johnson
Get to know an ACF Chef Ambassador: Keith Froggett
Throughout our Love Food Give Food campaign (October 16-30), Action Against Hunger will be speaking to our ACF Ambassador Chefs – the culinary all-stars who are teaming up with ACF Canada – about their careers in cuisine, their love of food, and why they are joining the fight against malnutrition.
What attracted you to the Toronto dining scene in the first place?
I was working in London all those years ago, back in the late Seventies, and I just wanted to do a bit of travelling. One thing led to another and I never really went back. I enjoy Toronto, I enjoy the multiculturalism, the diverse population, and there’s lots going on.
You’ve been in Scaramouche’s kitchen for over 25 years, taking over from Jamie Kennedy. How would you say your style of cuisine has evolved over that time?
We’ve been pretty true to our roots. We look for good ingredients and we treat them with integrity. I’m not trying to re-invent the wheel, I’m just using classical cooking techniques and applying them diligently.
What do you believe you’re doing differently with French cuisine in the city?
That’s difficult to say, and it’s not for me to judge. I think we just stay close to home and do what we do. We’ve developed a style all these years and we just try to stay true to it.
What are the basic principles you adhere to when in the kitchen?
We just want to use the best ingredients we can. The general rule of thumb is if I don’t want to eat it, I don’t want to serve it. I think that filters right down through the whole kitchen. If you’re always questioning what you’re doing, you will apply those standards to it. If it’s not good enough for our families, we’re not serving it to our clients. It’s pretty straightforward really.
What is your favourite dish to make?
I like making a French version of gnocchi – gnocchi Parisienne with a choux pastry. I just made it for Thanksgiving.
As someone in the food business, how much does the issue of hunger and malnutrition matter to you?
I don’t think it matters to me more as a chef than it does to any right-thinking person. I think it should bother anybody. When you read about it and see those images, or you travel to places like that, it should trouble anybody with a conscience, particularly when you think about how much waste there is.
What made you decide to team up with Action Against Hunger’s Love Food Give Food Campaign?
I think it’s quite exciting. I like what they do. They do it very efficiently and it’s a pretty simple thing they’re doing, it’s not complicated. [ACF] is just trying to feed these vulnerable communities and at the same time make them self-sufficient, which I like. I like going that extra step. They’re not just dropping off food; they’re trying to teach these communities how to help themselves. That’s really appealing, and it’s the only way forward.
Keith Froggett is considered one of the country’s finest chefs and has presided over the Scaramouche kitchens for more than 25 years.