Q&A: Back to Basics with Chef La-toya Fagon
October 16, 2020
By Bakers Journal Staff
Any chef who works in Toronto, knows that the city has a broad culinary palate and a diverse clientele. Meet Chef La-toya Fagon, a chef who started her own catering company while still in culinary school, and is a catering maven who is dedicated to creating healthy but delectable dishes.
Fagon is currently the Executive Chef for Grace Foods and her many accomplishments include being formally named Executive Chef to LIVEstyle Entertainment Supper Clubs and appearing as the food expert on the Marilyn Denis show. Most recently, she has been named Executive Chef of Lyrics Music bar and grill in Toronto’s Yorkville neighbourhood.
Bakers Journal caught up with the award-winning chef and entrepreneur in February, before the lockdown began. Her catering company, Twist Catering was hopping. I managed to ask her questions about her busy life and flourishing businesses.
Bakers Journal: What is your advice to anyone who is considering going in to the catering business?
Chef La-toya Fagon: You’ve got to really, really, really, really love what you do. You’ve got to be okay with not making a lot of money. I have, like three catering companies, and design the dishes, which I love doing. You know, I made some hard choices in life. I don’t have any kids, and I’ve been single for 13 years. I’ve really dedicated everything to this and I legitimately love what I do. (Laughing) and I wouldn’t get these curves if I didn’t.
Bakers Journal: What were your goals as you graduated from culinary school?
Chef La-toya Fagon: What I have hoped for, is to be the most sought after caterer in the country.
Bakers Journal: Your accomplishments speak for themselves. How did you make it happen?
Chef La-toya Fagon: I use fresh food ingredients daily, based on what I’m catering, and the menu changes every day…I’m really good at what I do.
Bakers Journal: You were selected to the personal chef The Raptors’ Serge Ibaka. That alone would make any chef or caterer incredibly popular.
Chef La-toya Fagon: I want to feed the masses good food. Hearty food and go back to basics. I have a lot of kitchen gadgets, but I don’t use them. I’m a firm believer in a Dutch pot, open flame, a knife, a cutting board, food, and I can create anything.
Bakers Journal: What would you say your signature flavour profile would be?
Chef La-toya Fagon: Spices definitely a big thing for me. I like working to get to heat without it being overpowering. That [flavour profile] identifies me. I think when people hear, ‘hot food’ or ‘spicy food’ they think of food that’s so hot it’s almost like kind of the opposite of flavour. What I do is definitely spicy, but with flavour. I don’t want my ears getting red, or my nose running, and not taste anything. What’s the point?
Bakers Journal: Carribean spices and Mediterranean influences feature in your menus quite a bit. I’d love to hear what inspires you in the kitchen.
Chef La-toya Fagon: I a niche background in cooking, because look I’m trained in French food, I really fell in love with Italian food and I was really in awe of learning that type of cuisine. You know, my background is Jamaican, with a lot of Caribbean flair.
Bakers Journal: What is Twist’s “twist?”
Chef La-toya Fagon: I’m elevating Caribbean food to a high-end level. When people normally think of Caribbean food, such as Jamaican food, is that it’s limited to Jerk chicken. Not every island has Jerk Chicken. It’s so much more than Styrofoam containers with extra mayonnaise, coleslaw, Jerk Chicken and rice and peas.
In all, Canada Rising Star in the culinary arts feels that there is more to mixing and matching flavours and cultures. She encourages chefs to play in the kitchen to find their voice, and pursue their career in the food industry once they are sure it’s a calling. Chef Fagon brings her A-game to businesses every day, and thrills Toronto’s palates daily.
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