You know cooking is in your blood when you start working in a kitchen at the early age of 13. As a Red Seal certified chef, celebrity chef Andrea Nicholson received her culinary training at George Brown College in Toronto. Over the years, she has worked at plenty of respected Toronto restaurants, world-renowned luxury liner Regent Seven Seas, culinary and corporate institutes, as well as travelled the globe working with acclaimed chefs like Roberto Caporuscio in New York City. During her travels, she also worked towards a diploma from the A.P.N. of Naples, Italy, distinguishing her as a certified Pizzaiuoli. Mamma mia!
Nicholson has become a familiar face on Food Network Canada since she appeared on the first season of Top Chef Canada in 2011. Her boutique preserve company, Killer Condiments, has been profiled on Food Factory and the chef also served as one of the expert hosts for two seasons of Restaurant Takeover. On April 2nd, she will return to the Top Chef Canada kitchen to compete in the first-ever all-stars edition of the series.
Offscreen, her latest venture is a Southern eatery named Butchie's and will be opening up in Whitby, Ontario this spring.
Even though she's busy juggling being a mom to her adorable son, running two businesses and, of course, cooking, Nicholson still makes time to soak up her city's amazing food scene. Here are this Top Chef Canada alum's favourite places to eat and drink around Toronto.
I love the vibe and food at School in Liberty village. It’s a bright and laid back place serving up well-cooked comfort food with an always entertaining open kitchen. My go-to are the daily pancakes or fried chicken. And the coffee is always on point.
I have a serious weakness for Italian veal sandwiches, and my favourite in the city, hands-down, is from San Francesco on Clinton St. I would go there as a kid all the time and my order hasn't changed: sweet veal with extra sauce, small bottle of peach nectar and spicy olives.
George, for sure. This restaurant embodies consistency and passion for ingredients and service. The seasonal tasting menus and ingredient combinations always intrigue and inspire me. The front of the house service staff are next level and flawless.
When I drink, I need music and a dance floor! CODA is easily one of my favourite TO spots. They have stellar house DJs that always make for a good time. The rooftop bar at the Thompson Hotel is also a go-to for me. The city looks beautiful from up above, music is always on point and the whisky sours are sour!