In 1998, Picek graduated with a red seal from SAIT’s culinary arts program, eagerly clamouring for the opportunity to flex his skills in the real world. “This is an industry that is very much about on the job training,” he concludes.
The chef worked at the Rimrock and Wedgewood hotels in Canada before spending time as sous-chef at Il Sogno in 2000 working under then executive chef Giuseppe Di Gennaro. Ultimately, Picek trained at various kitchens in Scotland, including the Michelin starred Martin Wishart in Edinburgh. In 2006, Picek became sous chef at Capo, before taking over at Il Sogno in late 2008.
The ‘Italian inspired’ menu at Il Sogno, features traditional pasta dishes like ricotta gnocchi, with seasonal mushrooms; tagliolini with tuna conserva and modern updates like lamb meatballs with barley and spot prawns with tomato salad. “I’m not Italian so I can’t really do authentic Italian cuisine. We do take a lot of our style and our presentation from Italian cuisine with more contemporary touches. There are personal tastes involved, which find their way onto the menu but you have to balance that,” explains Picek.
Read more about Chris Picek in the Summer 2010 issue of City Style and Living Magazine.