by Malcolm Jolley
The kitchen at Presidential Gourmet is quiet, but humming. Peter Carruthers shows me a way to climb on top of one of the big walk-in fridge in the strip mall factory location just north of the Toronto city line in Markham, so I can watch a dozen or so of his cooks put together dishes. Carruthers, who started Presidential nearly 25 years ago has a passing resemblence to Name of the Rose-era Sean Connery, calmly gives me the resumes of the cooks below – each one has years of experience in top Toronto kitchens. He is supremely confident of his team.
Below us is Carruthers new partner, Rick Rowe. Rowe joined after years as a top planner at Daniel et Daniel, another well-known fine caterer. But Rowe came to Presidential with more than years of experience feeding and fêting Toronto’s elites. Rowe came with a job – a big job: catering Food Network Canada’s 10th Anniversary party. Carruthers and Rowe were two days away from feeding the country’s top celebrity chefs and media executives, using recipes developed from a decade of Canadian food TV. Four hundred VIPs would have to be fed in two shifts, using recipes from a dozen top chefs, who would be there to sample and talk to the food. The logistics were frightenening: 800 wine glasses to be poured! Oh, and the whole thing was to be done from a field kitchen Presidential would have to set-up the day of the event. I caught Carruthers and Rowe for the video interview below, with all this in mind.
Fast forward: I am eating the last bites Mark McEwen’s Lake Erie Perch on a bed of sweet Ontario corn, at a table with Bob Blumer, Laura Calder and Lynn Crawford, when I spy Carruthers and Rowe in a corner of the room. The fooderatti and Shaw Media execs and clients have been fed and watered. We’re at the end of the second seating, all the speeches are over and the dinner is unfurling into a party. Carruthers and Rowe look over and wave and smile. The evening is not over, but the mission can be declared accomplished.
This video was made possible through the kind support of Fortessa Canada / Schott Zwiesel.