Join “Chef Artois” and Gusto 501 for a 12-minute trip to Southern Italy

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Episode 8: Join “Chef Artois” and Gusto 501 for a 12-minute trip to Southern Italy

Tune in below for the final episode of this culinary miniseries, brought to you by Toronto Life and Stella Artois 

On this episode of “Chef Artois,” we’re heading to Gusto 501. When this modern Italian trattoria opened in Corktown this February, it was the talk of the town. The space is breathtaking: an open-concept, four-storey restaurant with its interiors decked in 6,500 undulating terracotta tiles. Dinner at Gusto 501 feels like a vacation in Southern Italy. The delicate LED lights embedded in the walls give Gusto 501 the air of a Palmero piazza at dusk. And the giant King Street East-facing window (the largest of its kind in Canada) only adds to that al fresco dining feel. 

Both Gusto 501 and its sister restaurant Gusto 101 are helmed by executive chef Elio Zannoni. For the “Chef Artois” finale, Zannoni’s is asking home cooks Bradley Rushmere and Joe Kim to recreate two Gusto classics: the cavolo nero salad and the orecchiette cime di rapa. The former is Gusto’s famed pine nut and currant–strewn kale salad, which has been on the menu since Gusto 101’s day one. The latter is a seasonal Gusto favourite of hand-rolled pasta shaped like little ears. 

With 45 minutes on the clock, it’s time for the “Chef Artois” contenders to step up to the chopping block. Will home cooks Kim and Rushmere be able to make not one, but two dishes in the allotted time? Click the play button above to find out who will be the final contestant to earn the coveted title of Chef Artois.

Zannoni expects the orecchiette cime di rapa to be the real stumbling block for the home cooks. “It’s a traditional dish from Southern Italy that is historically made with turnip greens, but I like to use rapini and spice it up with Andouille and Italian sausage,” says Zannoni. The pasta sauce isn’t what will pose problems for our home cooks, though. It’s forming the orecchiette which will be the true test of their culinary abilities. According to the chef, “It’s a challenging pasta shape that will likely throw competitors for a loop.”

Orecchiette was the first pasta that Zannoni ever learned to make. To this day, they remain his favourite noodle—so the pressure is on to impress the chef. He wants a pasta that’s not too thick, but is substantial enough to stand up to the rich sauce. 

“Chef Artois” was created in support of Rally for Restaurants, an initiative founded by Stella Artois to help support the restaurant industry through this pandemic. In each weekly episode, two Torontonians will step inside the kitchen of a Toronto restaurant to compete for the title of Chef Artois and win a $1,000 prize pack.

Head to rallyforrestaurants.ca to buy a gift card to your favourite restaurant. The program ensures restaurants get the much-needed funds right away, and as a way to thank patrons for supporting local establishments across Canada, Stella Artois adds an extra ten dollars to the value of each gift card. 

How to make Gusto 501’s Cavolo Nero Salad

Ingredients  

  • 1 lemon, squeezed (about ¼ cup of juice)
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • ¼ cup grated Pecorino or Parmesan cheese
  • 4 cups kale
  • Currants, for garnish
  • Pine nuts, for garnish

Recipe

  1.  Combine lemon juice, honey, olive oil and Parmesan cheese. Stir well. 
  2.  Remove kale leaves from stems. 
  3. Wash and dry the kale. Then, finely chop the leaves into very small pieces.  
  4. Place the kale in a large bowl and combine with the dressing.  
  5. Let the dressed kale sit for at least 30 minutes. If you prefer your kale to be softer and less fibrous, let it sit for up to two hours.  
  6. Before serving, add currants, pine nuts and some more cheese.