Meet the Chefs: Darren Glew

Posted by Drake, April 30, 2014

The Drake Hotel's Executive Chef, Darren Glew, has been crafting delicious food for us since 2006. With over 20 years' experience, including a stage at the three star Michelin rated Fat Duck in London and a three-year stint at Toronto's renowned Canoe restaurant, Darren has spent his entire professional life in the kitchen. We sat down with the master himself to find out what inspires his tastebuds and why fresh bread and cheap wine can make the best of meals.

Drake: How did you come to be working in the culinary arts?

DG: I picked up a job in a little hippy artist’s café run by a former McDonalds’ district manager (I know, strange combo) while working my way through a psychology degree.

Drake: What first inspired you to choose food as your art form, and how long have you been doing it?

DG: I don’t look at it as so much of an art, but a craft. The artist can create without an audience, we require a patron to enjoy what we produce. As for the decision to pursue it, I’m a crappy speller so academia was a bit of a grind in the days before spell check; I still got to work with the socially maladjusted and the “little” bit of joy I could bring the many through a good meal seemed more worthwhile that helping a few be a little less sad. I’ve been doing this 20 years as of last February.

Drake: What would you say has been your greatest challenge as a chef, before or during your time at Drake?

DG: Trying to get my wife to understand that I can’t just call in sick, the work won’t wait till I feel better and rest of the team really doesn’t care because everyone has to pick up the slack when one of us doesn’t show.

Drake: What’s been your favourite moment?

DG: I had finished putting out a wedding and the father of the bride found me in my office to thank me and present a bottle from the family vineyard in Italy. It was a family tradition to lay aside a case from the vintage of a child’s confirmation and to give them out as gifts to their wedding party. The idea that he went out of his way to include me in the tradition, brought home how much of an impact a meal could actually have.

Drake: How would describe your personal vision when it comes to the culinary arts in general?

DG: We are here, above all, to show people a good time and surprise them with feats of our technique, or simply how good the perfectly chosen tomato can be, sprinkled with just a little salt.

Drake: What are your favourite meals or recipes?

DG: I don’t know if I have a favourite, as long as it’s done well, food is as much about time and place as what’s actually on the plate. A Bayonne and Gruyere sandwich on a fresh baked baguette with a bottle of cheap Beaujolais drank from a tumbler of suspect cleanliness in a back ally Parisian café, can be more be more transcendent than a 13 course tasting menu at one of the best restaurants in the world, and was.

Drake: What eventually brought you to Drake?

DG: Our biggest asset and greatest potential: our mandate and support for world class, full spectrum hospitality.

Drake: Finally, as a major behind-the-scenes player, what direction would you like to see Drake take in the future? Are there any culinary innovations or big ideas you’d like to see?

DG: We’ve always done an amazing job at being a celebration or big night out venue, as our neighbourhood matures around us, I hope we can develop more of the approachable but no less amazing offerings that do so well when we have them- Lobster fest, Brunch, Drake BBQ. Some of the newly launched programs are definitely steps in the right direction – in house bakery/commissary kitchen, shareable “feasts’ on the menu, etc.

Posted in: Food + Drink

Tags: DarrenGlew  kitchenpass