Looking back, it was probably written in the stars that Ten – featuring a 10-course tasting menu for only 10 people – would land at number 10 on the top-10 list for Canada’s Best New Restaurants of the year. But walking in that night, we had no clue.
Twenty-five-year-old chef Julian Bentivegna, clad in a Metallica T-shirt and baseball cap, and his tattooed, earringed, 26-year-old sous-chef, Simon de Sousa, look like they just stepped off the skate park. Yet the food at their long, sleek counter restaurant in Brockton Village is as confident and accomplished as that of their top-ranked elders. Crisp yet creamy English peas marinated in sunflower oil, scallion, mint and fresh lemon arrive on a refreshing cloud of cacao butter and cream – an homage, we’re told, to chef Jeremy Fox, who dreamed it up in the early aughts. My neighbour playfully asks the chef, “Were you even alive then?”