To be a good cook you must be able to adapt; to be a brilliant chef, you must be a visionary. That’s exactly what Steve Gonzalez is, an artful mind that sees his creations as an extension of his life. From his first position as a dishwasher all the way to being a name partner with a four-level venue in one of the premier culinary districts in downtown Toronto, each plate of his carries its own unique feature that encompasses his journey. Some people eat because they are driven by hunger; Steve cooks for people who dine for that worldly experience.
Steve’s success as an Executive Chef hasn’t come without tribulations. As a person who has an incredible work ethic, Steve credits cooking for steering him in an positive direction. There were periods in his professional career where he didn’t have a kitchen to call home and was volunteering from location to location to maintain and elevate his techniques. Since committing to being a student of cuisine he has climbed his way from a dishwasher, studied Latin cooking techniques in Miami, teamed up on restaurant projects with Claudio Aprile, and is now a partner of a brand new restaurant on King Street West.
Steve has that inherent entrepreneurial spirit where if he is satisfied, he is bored. This couldn’t be supported more than his 3-year search for a restaurant before finally creating a home for himself at Valdez, the predecessor to Baro.
A large part of Steve’s cooking strives to break the most daunting stigma about Latino food, that it is only Mexican. Central & South America offer some of the most unique ingredients & methods to cooking that are not conventionally explored in North American restaurants. The separation from the conventional is what makes Steve’s kitchen at Baro different. His plates represent the current socio-political climate of Latin America that has been brought on by migration patterns and globalization. Rather than conventional takes on classic dishes, Steve strives to bring the people of Toronto the modern plates that people in Latin America are currently enjoying.
That brilliance and innovation is what has created such a loyal following for Steve. His ability to paint a portrait through food is a unique gift that has brought Baro to life.
There’s plenty of good, if not great, food in Toronto, but there is no other experience close to Steve Gonzalez’s kitchen.