A Taste of Taste: Chef Damon Campbell

Fort York will soon be filled with foodies.

From July 24 to 27Taste of Toronto will be taking over the historic space to feature the culinary creations of some of the city’s most notable chefs. It marks the North American debut of the world-renowned food festival.

And yes, we’ll be there in all our diet-breaking glory.

But we decided you should probably know some of the chefs who’ll be backing this monumental festival if you want to get a better idea of what you’re in for. So that’s why we’ll be profiling a different one each week leading up to the event. And hey, if knowing a thing or two helps you score free seconds, we’re happy to help. 

We kicked it off with Chef Cory Vitiello, the culinary creator behind Toronto staples The Harbord Room and THR & Co. Then it was Anthony Rose of YP hot spots Rose and Sons, Big Crow and Fat Pasha. We then learned more about Chef Geoff Hopgood of Roncesvalles Village’s Maritime-inspired hot spot Hopgood’s Foodliner. Last week, we get to know Steve Gonzalez of Valdez. 

Now, we turn our attention to Damon Campbell, Executive Chef of Bosk, the signature restaurant of Toronto’s Shangri-La Hotel. (If it sounds familiar, we just gave out a free meal there yesterday.)

What can we expect to see and taste from you at Taste of Toronto?
We are doing three dishes for Taste of Toronto. Dishes that represent Bosk restaurant. This includes the Foie Gras Parfait, with strawberries, pistachio and melba toast; the Roasted Pacific Halibut, with grains, fennel, citrus and basil; and the Coconut Tapioca Pearls, with passion fruit, lime and pineapple. 

What’s the best part about participating in a food and drink festival?
The best part of the festival is feeding our guests who have chosen us.

Also, meeting your fellow colleagues and experiencing their cuisine and cocktails.

What’s the best part about the Toronto culinary scene? The worst?
The best part about the Toronto culinary scene is that there’s a wide selection of food and drink choices from all sorts of different ethnicities, as well as haute cuisine to casual cuisine to food trucks. The worst part about it is I don’t have time to experience them all.

What’s always in your fridge?
Cheese, charcuterie, salad, soup, beer. 

What city or country would you visit/move to for the food alone?
New York. It’s a melting pot of cultures and cuisines at all levels.

What’s the biggest mistake you can make as an up-and-coming chef? What lessons have you learned?
I would say a big mistake for an up-and-coming chef is trying to climb the ladder too quickly and not taking the time to gain more experience and become grounded in their profession before taking on the next role. A lesson I learned very early was that you need to be extremely dedicated and disciplined to reach your goals in the culinary world.

What makes you come back to a restaurant after first visit? If it wasn’t all you expected, would you try it again?
The entire experience: food, service and ambience. Yes, I will usually always give a restaurant a second try. All restaurants have off nights.

What is your favourite way to spend a Sunday in Toronto?
Finding a new place to eat at. 

What now closed former Toronto gem (restaurant, store, etc) do you miss the most?
Colborne Lane.

Who is the most notable person to eat your food? Any celebs, etc?
In my eyes the most notable people would be the patrons who dine at Bosk with us night after night.


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