Coming up on May 11th, 2015 is the annual Terroir Symposium, a gathering of food and hospitality industry personalities to exchange ideas and foster an environment of creativity and collaborations. Past food celebrities who have attended include Daniel Boulud and Momofuku’s David Chang.

And for those who just want to enjoy great dining experiences at great rates sponsored by Samuel Adams, there’s the Terroir Dinner Series featuring 6 special collaborative dinners on May 12th and May 13th.

This year the 2015 Terroir Symposium theme is about “Pioneering Change”. So we talked to Scott Vivian of Beast Restaurant and Trevor Lui of the new Kanpai Snack Bar about Terroir Symposium and their involvement in the dinner series.

This year the list of presenters is just as impressive including Francis Lam of the New York Times, Helen Hollyman of Vice Munchies, Kimi Werner, Douglas Quint & Bryan Petross, Dominque Crenn and Sang Yoon. There will also be presentations by prominent locals such as Mark McEwan and Pay Chen.

As chef and co-owner of Beast Restaurant, Scott Vivian has been a professional chef for over 20 years.

From the Terroir 2013 reception at Momofuku: Chef Rob Gentile (Buca, The Saint), Bertrand Alepee (The Tempered Chef), Scott Vivian (Beast Restaurant) | Photo: Nick Lee

From the Terroir 2013 reception at Momofuku: Chef Rob Gentile (Buca, The Saint), Bertrand Alepee (The Tempered Chef), Scott Vivian (Beast Restaurant) | Photo: Nick Lee


What brings you to the Terroir Symposium year after year?
Every year, there are new and exciting initiatives. New guests speakers and break out sessions and plenty to learn from all the amazing industry people that participate.

How will this Terroir dinner differ from the normal Beast dinner?
Just the simple fact that we’ll have chefs from Newfoundland coming to Beast to cook the food of their region is unique in itself. This is a cuisine that is driven by indigenous products and we’re really exciting to see what fun treats the chefs will be bringing to Toronto.

How do you see the restaurant industry evolving over the next few years?
In terms of trends, community, business model, sustainability, etc. I try not to pay much attention to “trends”. At Beast, we’ve stuck with our core philosophies which are supporting local and whole animal production and it works for us. I’d like to see more chefs getting involved in their communities and taking on more activist roles. I think once you get out in the community, as a chef, it shows your patrons that you care and are concerned about the issues surrounding you. This is a great model for sustainability. Your guests in turn will feel good about supporting you back to make sure you’re around for them to enjoy.

What does it take for new restaurants to have longevity?
You have to be smart about business and where your money is being spent. It’s not that hard to be a chef/cook. The hard part as a restaurant is to never get complacent. To continue to be mentioned so that people don’t forget about you. The other side is the guest experience. You can have the best food in the neighbourhood, but if you don’t give good service and take care of your guests, they will find somewhere else to support.

Also check out Scott Vivian’s Terroir Symposium video:
While busy as co-owner of the newly launched Taiwanese snack bar in Cabbagetown called Kanpai, he is no stranger to the hospitality business and Terroir.

Trevor Lui, co-owner of the new Kanpai Snack Bar | Photo: Nick Lee

Trevor Lui, co-owner of the new Kanpai Snack Bar | Photo: Nick Lee


How did you get involved with Terroir?
Have been an attendee the last few years. Arlene and I spoke months back about their theme and expressed an interest to participate at a larger level this year.

How are some ways a Taiwanese snack bar differs from a regular snack bar? And why now?
Our food style is more prevalent in the Night Markets of Taiwan rather than bricks and mortar restaurants. We felt the growth of the “snack bar” restaurant platform in Canada was a perfect back drop to share the Taiwanese experience since its based around the sharing of small plates or what is called “xiaochi”.

What are your views on the Toronto food scene? What are its strengths and what areas can it improve?
Toronto has really grown up the last few years. Truly a hotbed of international flavours with a thriving talent base of chefs, mixologists and restauranteurs. The residents of this city are equally enthused and definitely educated when it comes to food. We have to find a way to drive industry collaboration and educate them even more to keep the industry thriving in order to harvest the talent and passion that’s available. This also means tapping further into our diverse population, providing sustainable training and opportunities beyond the traditional mold. We need to highlight the great things that are available to consumers and work to elevate Toronto as an international culinary destination.

Being that this isn’t your first Terroir, what are you hoping from your experience at this year’s Terroir Symposium and your part from the dinner series?
The dinner series is a perfect example. We have assembled a diverse cultural mix of chefs that have their own experiences and life stories through food journeys. Our goal is to transplant this on to plates collaboratively and serve it to the consumers so they understand the unique styles of cooking, eating and most importantly inspiration. Really an example of what I feel we are trying to achieve as noted in the previous question. The only way to measure inter-industry collaboration is to be able to share that with those that are willing to hear and learn from these stories; and these are the dinners. It’s an exciting opportunity.

Check out Trevor Lui’s video about Terroir Symposium 2015

Tuesday, May 12th 2015
An Ode to Beef (Grass-fed, of course)
The Saint, 227 Ossington Ave, Toronto, ON
Chef Jesse Vallins featuring Chef Richard Turner (Hawksmoor, London, UK)
Matthew von Teichman of Grandview Farms
Tickets on sale now @ $85 + HST

Taste of Newfoundland
Beast, 96 Tecumseth St, Toronto, ON
Chef Shaun Hussey and Chef Michelle LeBlanc (Chinched Bistro), Chef Mike Barksy (Bacalao), Terrence and Chef Courtney Howell (Grates Cove Café), Chef Katie Hayes (Bonavista Social Club) & Five Brothers Cheese with Chef de Cuisine Colin Moise (Beast)
Tickets on sale now @ $90 + HST

(re)Discovering Flavor
Jump, Commerce Court, 18 Wellington St W, Toronto, ON
Chef Anthony Walsh & Chef Luke Kennedy (Jump Restaurant) featuring Chef Jair Tellez (MeroToro) and Mark Shatzker, author, The Dorito Effect
Tickets on sale now @ $120 + HST

Kanpai: New Taiwanese
Kanpai Snack Bar, 252 Carlton Street Toronto, ON
Chef Ike Huang & Chef Trevor Lui featuring Chef Tawfik Shehata (The International Centre), Chef Nuit Regular (Pai & Sukho Thai) and Jim Poris, former editor, Food Arts Magazine, NYC.
Tickets on sale now @ $50 + HST

Samuel Adams is this year’s sponsor of Terroir 2015. “We are proud to be a sponsor of Terroir. Let us raise a glass of Boston Lager to celebrate those pioneering change in the industry”, says Jim Koch, Founder & Brewer of Samuel Adams. “We can’t wait for what’s to come.”

For tickets and more information about the 2015 Terroir Symposium happening on Monday May 11th 7am-6pm at the Arcadian Loft and the collaborative dinner series visit

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Nick Lee

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