Chef Richard Singh
Chef Richard Singh brings two decades of culinary experience to the Graydon Hall kitchen. As a graduate of the prestigious Cordon Bleu culinary school, he has honed his skills working at Michelin-starred restaurants such as The Fat Duck and Per Se, as well as at various Toronto hotels including The Shangri La. Chef Singh is known for putting a modern twist on classic dishes while also supporting local artisans and sourcing the highest quality ingredients. His passion for cooking and commitment to using sustainable and responsible practices are sure to impress and delight Graydon Hall clients and their guests.
Get to know Chef a little more:
When did you start cooking for fun?
From age 10 I became interested in cooking. I remember in Grade 5 bringing in “Essence” spice blend from Chef Emeril Lagasse to make my homemade lunches a bit more special. We had a cookbook in the house, Land O’Lakes Treasury of Country Recipes, and it was something I looked over and over. I grew up eating predominantly Trinidadian food but we would go to Red Lobster or Mandarin as a treat, and Friday nights reserved for for Mr. Sub or KFC. Eating meatloaf, pot roast, Shepherd’s Pie, chicken and biscuits was a new experience. I would try to make these dishes and the results were not horrible, although the kitchen was a disaster! My friends enjoyed the food, and my parents appreciated and supported the different cuisine.
Who provided inspiration in the kitchen, when you were a kid?
My Mom and Dad 100%! Takeout was a luxury or a reward. When we first came to Canada we would go to farms north of Toronto to buy whole chickens to eat at home. My parents didn’t trust or understand the grocery store portions of meat. I remember the sights, sounds, and smells of the selected chickens being slaughtered, boiled, plucked, and bagged. We would get home and spend time cleaning and butchering the birds to have chicken for the next month, and I would help with that. We lived in small apartments so the kitchen was always the place to gather. As I’ve gotten older and become a chef as my profession, this has more meaning. I was always interested in watching my parents cook. It always smelled good, it was clean, organized and my parents worked together. Both of them were excellent at everything, my Mom had a better touch with the baking and my Dad would flex with duck or goat.
What is your favourite thing to cook?
I love cooking duck, squab, pheasant, or quail. Cooking those from raw require attention, knowledge, experience, respect and love. At home I enjoy Asian cuisine and cooking from different countries in the region for example: Filipino adobo, Chinese siu yuk, Japanese ramen, Vietnamese pho. I also like being inspired by what I see when shopping. If there is a beautiful cut of beef I think steakhouse dinner, or if I come across crab legs then I’m making a Cajun crab boil. One of the most satisfying things is cooking a Tomahawk over charcoal and having it come out perfect!
Do you have a food philosophy?
Food is the language of cultures. Try everything, be curious but also respectful. Taste is subjective, but flavours put you into the time and place of what you’re having. I’ve had a lot of great meals in my life at very highly rated restaurants, but the meals that are most memorable are the ones that can’t be replicated in an environment where everything is “perfect”.
What is your focus, in terms of the guests’ culinary experience?
I want our guests to be both satisfied and surprised. I want to make sure the size of the meal is sufficient but not heavy, the menu description is simplified but the plate is thought-out, and their overall experience surpasses their expectations.
Is there anything you do not like to eat?
Raw tomatoes or raw celery. I cook with both of them and could not make a chicken or soup without celery, but you will NEVER see me eating a celery stick. I will only eat a raw tomato when they are at their peak in late summer, but still reluctantly.
If you could travel anywhere to dine, where would that be?
Bucket list for me is The French Laundry, I’ve worked for Chef Keller and dined at Per Se, but The French Laundry is somewhere I need to visit. The other place I would love to dine is Lyon, France at Restaurant Paul Bocuse. This city is a French foodie paradise!
Anything else our guests should know about you?
I’m a dog dad and think my puppies are adorable!