Le Sélect is pleased to announce that Laura Maxwell is its new Chef.
She replaces Albert Ponzo who, after ten years at the helm, is moving to Picton to pursue a life as an hotelier, an apiarist, and a gentleman farmer.
Formerly Executive Sous-chef, Laura brings impeccable skills and leadership qualities to her new position. Before joining le Sélect's team seven years ago, she interned at a Michelin-starred restaurant in Europe and worked at some top establishments in Toronto. In 2012 she was recognized as one of the Top 30 Under 30 by the Ontario Hostelry Institute.
"I'm looking forward to leading the talented team at le Sélect Bistro", says Chef Laura. "While the neighbourhood's changing, we're going to keep improving on what do well."
Assisting Laura in her mission are Gavin Gordon, promoted to the position of Executive Sous-chef, and Jeremiah Courtney to Senior Sous-chef.
Gavin studied Culinary Management at Humber College with a focus on French cuisine, then worked on the west coast and in Toronto. He joined le Sélect six years ago. A fitness enthusiast who believes that "you are what you eat", Gavin brings discipline and steadfastness to his new role. "What I love about le Sélect", says Gavin, "is that the work environment and the leadership push you to be your best. We're always experimenting with new products, techniques, and equipment."
Jeremiah, a keen long-distance runner, earned a BA in Fine Arts from the University of Waterloo. He moved to Toronto to pursue his passion in cooking and joined le Sélect five years ago.
"During these years, he became an effective and valued member of the creative team and will do great things as Senior Sous-chef", says Chef Laura.
"What I love about Bistro cuisine as we do it here", says Jeremiah, "is the link with the earth, the soil, the 'terroir', and a 'peasant culture'. The way we cook, preserve, pickle, and confit are all part of this bond."
Also brought up from the ranks are Joel Watson (right) and Collin Schwartz (below), two talented and hard-working young professionals.
Both are now junior sous-chefs, in charge of training and day-to-day quality control.
Frédéric Geisweiller, co-proprietor of le Sélect, said that he was excited by the changes and confident that the team would build on le Sélect's advocacy of "good food".
"Good food shouldn't be just seen through the subjective lens of culture and taste", said Frédéric at a recent WWF fundraising dinner for sustainable fisheries and healthy oceans. "As importantly, good food must meet three objective criteria.
It must be good for the health of the person who consumes it
It must be good for the well-being of the people who harvest it, produce it, and transform it
It must be reproducible, hence sustainable and ethical."
Le Sélect's food philosophy is that what we put in our body three times a day every day influences how we feel.
Great food makes us happy and excites our senses. Food allows us to socialize. We celebrate important events with food. Every day the serving of a meal brings us together around the dinner table. Natural, nutritious food keeps us healthy. And le Sélect has the staff that can turn that philosophy into reality.
"We feel that our team is now as strong as it's ever been, from dishwashers to receivers, cooks to senior personnel," said Frédéric.
Now in its fortieth year, le Sélect is looking forward to a smooth transition, and many more years of renewed success thanks to its guests, its 70–strong staff, and to every single individual who brings to le Sélect their dreams, skills and dedication.