There have been some big changes at the AGO’s Frank restaurant as of late. After some 17 years at the as Executive Chef at the AGO, Anne Yarymowich has moved on to pastures new, with Chef Jay Tanuwidjaja taking over her role in the restaurant.
Taking inspiration from the gallery’s recent exhibit Revealing the Early Renaissance: Stories and Secrets in Florentine Art, Chef Tanuwidjaja created a special Discover The Tastes Of Italy menu to run in alignment with the exhibition. Good Food Revolution were fortunate enough to be invited to a special evening introducing Chef Tanuwidjaja that was preceded by a fascinating guided tour of the show by curator Sasha Suda.
We also spoke with Restaurant Manager Fabian Ramirez about Frank’s recent evolution…
Good Food Revolution: I notice that Frank’s wine program has changed somewhat, moving from a 100% VQA list to a more international selection. Would you mind explaining the reasoning behind this?
Fabian Ramirez: As time changes, Toronto’s food and wine knowledge grows at every corner; with the convenience of information at everyone’s fingertips it was necessary to offer a more global option to our clientele that was already enjoying a evolved menu.
Exhibits like Picasso and Frida & Diego bring us the opportunity to be flexible in our food offerings; wine must then go hand on hand. We started with Spanish options then we introduce California items and since “Renaissance” Italian wines had been on the list.
GFR: Did you feel that there was some pressure from your clientele to open the list up to international wines?
FR: Definitely; we could not deny the feedback we had on a daily basis.
GFR: How would you describe Franks new wine program?
FR: Growing without borders
A globalization was necessary, respecting all our local producers we need it to diversify without compromising our quality at the same time offering value
GFR: Will the wine list be changing along with the exhibits?
FR: Not necessarily but is a factor that provide us with some edge some times.
GFR: Do you have any personal favourites on the list right now?
FR: A few items… as for Canadian product: Le Clos Jordane Pinot Noir Village Reserve, Stratus White, Tawse Cherry Avenue Pinot Noir, Charles Baker Riesling, Henry Of Pelham Cuvée Catharine Rosé Brut
and then International Options: Graceland, Cabernet Sauvignon from South Africa, Tierra Divina, ‘Reds’-Zinfandel/Petit Sirah Lodi, from California, Pago de los Capellanes, Ribera del Duero, Spain, Appleby Lane Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealan, and finally the Bogle Chardonnay, from Clarksburg, California!
GFR: Will you still be carrying a good selection of Ontario wines?
FR: Absolutely; we are fully supportive of our Canadian producers.
GFR: Thank you very much for your time!
Photographs by Shaun Galbraith
Edinburgh-born/Toronto-based Sommelier, consultant, writer, judge, and educator Jamie Drummond is the Director of Programs/Editor of Good Food Revolution… And he is glad to hear that there will still be a good selection of Ontario wines at the AGO.