After graduating with honours from the Pastry Arts Program at Toronto’s George Brown College followed by successful stages at three-star Michelin restaurants in France and Hong Kong, chef Stephanie Duong returned to Toronto to open Roselle Desserts in 2015.
Since then, the acclaimed pastry chef has gone on to rack up awards and international recognition for her fresh and playful desserts that typically take inspiration from her travels, her favourite pastry ingredients, and the seasonal fruit available at the local market.
In addition to spending her spare time instructing at her alma mater, chef Duong has also been featured in publications such as The New York Times, The Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, CBC, Bon Appétit, and Canada’s 100 Best.
We recently had the opportunity to catch up with the talented Toronto-based Wall of Bakers judge to chat about some of the places she loves to eat and drink in her hometown.
Hastings Snack Bar is a small Polish cafe just east of Leslieville that offers breakfast and lunch. Sitting at their counter and enjoying a plate of their Polish Breakfast always reminds me of being at a good friend’s house.
The handmade pierogies (always opt for onions on top) and cabbage rolls are the standouts for me. On Saturday and Sundays, they carry fresh Polish doughnuts from a local bakery.
White Lily Diner is elevated diner fare with ingredients sourced by a local farm owned and operated by the same couple who own the diner. Excellent revisited classics like steak and eggs, patty melt and broccoli salad.
I especially love their take on hash browns, which are more like the best rosti you’ve ever eaten drizzled with an addicting malt mayo on top. The bread is made in-house and their rotating doughnut flavours are a great way to end the meal.
Maru Japanese Bistro is a lovely Japanese-inspired bistro. The sushi is fresh and expertly prepared. The cooked food items are also some of my favourites. I love their take on miso soup; it's an elevated version with smoky king mushrooms grilled over charcoal.
The seasonal tempura is the best I’ve had in Toronto—the batter is crispy and light, so you can still enjoy the vegetables underneath. The nori canapes are amazing as well: nori dipped in tempura batter, freshly fried and stuffed with cubed fish, sushi rice and spicy mayo.
I don’t drink much, so going to enjoy the cozy room at Archive is always a special treat. The space is intimate and I always feel like I’m in Europe, relaxing at a local place with friends. They have an extensive selection of wines and an ever-changing small plate offering that go perfectly with whatever you’re drinking.
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