YPDaily: Victor Barry

We recently had the pleasure of dining at Splendido in Toronto for a Hidden Bench wine tasting and were present at their truffle tasting last fall. Needless to say, we were beyond impressed on both occasions. A huge part of that is the creative and skillful work of today’s 30-year-old YPDaily Chef Victor Barry…

Elevator Pitch: Describe your job in a nutshell.
As Proprietor and Chef of Splendido, I am hardworking creative, passionate, and disciplined; I truly enjoy working in the kitchen. I love finding inspiration through travel and find myself spending way too much money on cookbooks.

Why did you start working at your company? What was the inspiration for this career route?
My culinary endeavour began at a young age. I was 13, working alongside my uncle at a small pizzeria in my hometown, Niagara-on-the-Lake. The inspiration began there and I fell in love with cooking. As I got older all of my time was dedicated to learning as much as I could and as fast as I could. I pursued a high school co-op placement at the Prince of Wales where I worked under the tutelage of Executive Chef Lee Parsons.

With experience comes opportunity. I moved overseas and spent two years as Chef de Partie at the 2 Michelin Star-rated Gidleigh Park Hotel in Devonshire, England 

When I moved back to Toronto I met with David Lee who was Executive Chef at Splendido. He invited me to join the kitchen team; I started from the bottom and worked my way right up. Fast forward to 2009 when my business partner Carlo Catallo and I purchased Splendido.

What is the best part of what you do on a day-to-day basis? The most challenging part?
The best and most challenging thing is constantly being innovative. It is hard to come up with new dishes all the time. Keeping a close focus on the direction of the restaurant is key. You have to believe what you are doing is great and that sometimes it can be challenging.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
In five years hopefully we will have a few County General (another restaurant Carlo and I oversee) locations. I hope to still spend every night at Splendido.

What does success look like to you?
I think success is when you are happy with what have accomplished. It’s not monetary, it’s when you have reached all of your personal goals. I am always setting new goals so I think I will be constantly reaching for success.

What is the most memorable milestone in your career?
I think that there would be two. First getting a job at Gidleigh Park and second would be buying Splendido at 26. That was a bit daunting but I am glad I did it.

Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
Believe in yourself and any goal you set. Don’t use excuses for what you didn’t get, just go out and get it. It is there for the taking.

Do you support any charities? If so, which one(s) and why is that important to you?
At Splendido we support many different charities throughout the year but my favourite benefit is Taste of Toronto for Second Harvest.

Blackberry, iPhone, Android, or Other?
I have a Blackberry but will be getting a new phone soon – probably the iPhone.