Cheese Boutique launches League of Extraordinary Chefs event series


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Etobicoke's Cheese Boutique has hosted a number of culinary events over the years, the latest brings together some of the province's top cooking talent.

Image: Cheese Boutique

Etobicoke’s Cheese Boutique is not just a popular multi-room luxury food store. On top of curating an impressive cheese counter and shelves of imported artisanal products, owner Afrim Pristine has also built a reputation for organizing a number of high quality food events in the shop.

Last year, Pristine hosted a Heroes vs. Villains event where nearly a dozen guests chefs cosplay’d as their favourite comic book characters, and set up throughout the store serving unique food items like 60-day aged rib-eye pinchos and spiced fried crickets.

 
Fried crickets served by chef John Horne at last year's Heroes vs Villains event

 

His latest series is titled League of Extraordinary Chefs, and takes the event on the road. “This is the biggest undertaking we have ever done and me personally as well. Last year's heroes vs villians was huge, but only one night. I'm doing 5 different dinners, 5 different locations with 20 chefs involved.” Pristine said. 

The series takes place at a number of locations with specific themes and chefs in mind. The kickoff event is a mystery. “Mystery dinner is a one of kind dinner, never been done before. I'm not giving away anything, you have to buy tickets and find out.” Pristine added.

Later this summer a backyard bbq is planned at Langdon Hall, a pizza showdown at Libretto, and a family favourites themed event at Ruby Watch Co. The family favourites will most certainly be an ode to Ruby Watch Co’s family-style dining menu.  There’s also a grand finale event that will take place at the Cheese Boutique with a cast of the city’s culinary veterans.

 
Chef Grant van Gameren plating rib-eye pinchos, previewing his Bar Raval restaurant.

 

Pristine came up with the themes himself. "The chefs and themes were my idea. Each one is different. The venues and themes go hand in hand. I chose venues I work well with, have good relationships with and that we're all very very different,” He said of the dinner series that takes him from casual walk & eat setups to the luxury of Langdon Hall: “My goal was to organize a great list of chefs and stay with the foundation of the venue. What I mean is, I don't want to organize a French themed dinner in Pizzeria Libretto, let's have a pizza throwdown.”

The finale is Pristine’s most impressive roundup yet, bringing together the likes of Mark McEwan, Marc Thuet, Keith Froggett and Anthony Walsh all under one roof. “Those 8 incredible chefs have all taught me a lot, they also happen to be some of the most important people in the Toronto food scene, the pioneers of the city. That's why I themed that dinner, hall of fame," Pristine said.

Tickets are priced from $75 to $135. “My ultimate goal is to give customers an incredible dining and food experience with amazing value. Every dinner in my opinion is way under priced, but again, I want people to walk away saying that was the best food value I've ever had.” he says.

League of Extraordinary Chefs event schedule:

Mystery Island Picnic
June 24
Participating chefs: Jonathan Goodyear (RCYC), Jason Bangerter (Langdon Hall), Afrim Pristine (Cheese Boutique)
Tickets: $95 + taxes. Call 416-762-6292

Backyard BBQ at Langdon Hall
July 17
Participating chefs: Jason Bangerter (Langdon Hall), Jonathan Goodyear (RCYC), Victor Barry (Splendido), Cory Vitiello (The Harbord Room), Afrim Pristine (Cheese Boutique)
Tickets: $75 + taxes. Call 416-762-6292

Pizza showdown at Pizzeria Libretto
August 5
Participating chefs: Rocco Agostino (Pizzeria Libretto), Craig Harding (Campagnolo), Matty Matheson (Parts & Labour), Kris Schlotzhauer (Enoteca Sociale), Afrim Pristine (Cheese Boutique)
Tickets: $60 + taxes. Call 416-531-0955

Family Favourites at Ruby Watch Co.
September 30
Participating chefs: Lora Kick (Ruby Watch Co), Donna Dooher (Mildred’s Kitchen), Lynn Crawford (Ruby Watch Co), Afrim Pristine (Cheese Boutique)
Tickets: $100 + taxes. Call 416-465-0100

Hall of Fame at Cheese Boutique
October 28
Participating chefs: Afrim Pristine (Cheese Boutique), John Higgins (George Brown Chefs’ House), Jonathan Gushue (The Berlin), Anthony Walsh (Canoe), Nadege Nourian (Nadege Patisserie), Marc Thuet (Thuet Bakery), Massimo Capra (Mistura), Mark McEwan (McEwan Group), Keith Froggett (Scaramouche).
Tickets: $135 + taxes. Call 416-762-6292

Cheese Boutique is located at 45 Ripley Ave., Toronto.

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Suresh Doss is resident food and drink writer and associate web editor at Post City Magazines. In addition to covering the culinary scene, Suresh regularly hosts food events across the GTHA. You can follow him on Twitter (@spotlightcity) or Instagram (@suresh) or email him at sureshdoss@postcity.com.

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