How one executive chef turned the mighty U of T St. George kitchens toward fresh and locally sourced

Alexandra Heck

University of Toronto Chef Jaco Lokker

Jaco Lokker and his head chefs stand around a table at the University of Toronto’s Chestnut Residence kitchen, looking at halves of sandwiches. All summer they have been developing recipes and menus. “I personally don’t believe Russian dressing belongs on a Reuben,” says Lokker to Suman Roy, executive chef for the campus retail outlets. Roy had made the grave error of suggesting the dressing on the classic sandwich, which they would be serving at a deli station.

James Piggot, chef of New College Residence, pulls out his cellphone and searches “Reuben sandwich.” He lists ingredients: corned beef, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, rye bread, Russian dressing. Perplexed, Lokker leaves the kitchen and returns with two thick books in hand, a dictionary of classical cooking, and Food Lover’s Companion, which he hands to Piggot. “Okay, there’s some controversy here,” says Piggot, reading.

All of the sources except for the dictionary call for Russian dressing. Lokker makes the decision: Russian dressing is out.


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