Local Eats

The Drake’s chef Alexandra Feswick moving to Drake Devonshire Inn

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Toronto chef Alexandra Feswick has been appointed Executive Chef at Drake Devonshire Inn, The Drake’s outpost in Prince Edward County.

Alexandra, the current Chef de Cuisine at The Drake, spoke to 416 Mag about her participation at a recent foodie fundraiser.

There is no better way of spending a chilly Tuesday night in Toronto than sampling food from all over the city. And when the money goes to charity, and all food is in unlimited supply in a gorgeous venue, then it’s an urbanite’s dream.

Photo credit | Steve Blackburn, YYZ Events Photography

That dream came true at Eat to the Beat, a showcase of more than 60 woman chefs from various restaurants, all under the beautiful roof of Roy Thomson Hall. The money made at the event went to support the Canadian Cancer Society. This event, in particular, was in support of Canadians who are facing breast cancer.

Alexandra uses the seasons to choose her ingredients at Toronto’s The Drake, a landmark well worth the still-closeby trip from the downtown core. She is a master of curating the perfect menu for large groups. At a recent private party for 20, Alexandra offered so much food that nobody left hungry. The flavours of her beet and apple tartare were a knockout. I’m happy to see it on the regular menu offered to the public. The beets and apples are paired with horseradish, slow-cooked yolk chives. Light and crispy taro chips are an awesome (and addictive) accompaniment. Alexandra’s knack for feeding large groups translated well at Eat to the Beat, with a smooth, creamy baba ghanoush served with the fluffiest naan I’ve ever had … and I’ve had a lot of naan!

In between mouthfuls of flavourful food, 416 Mag spoke to Alexandra.

Source photo | http://twitter.com/chefalexandraf

416 Mag: Why did you get involved with Eat to the Beat? Do you have any personal connection to the cause?
Alexandra: As a woman, I feel a deep personal connection to the cause. I like to get involved with Eat To The Beat, so I can help support other women in their time of need. Also, it’s a beautiful event, and I feel honoured to be a part of it!

416 Mag: What inspired your Indian & Lebanese offering at Eat to the Beat? That naan was fluffy!
Alexandra: The naan is one of my favourite offerings from The Drake Commissary, and I wanted to share it with all of the guests at Eat To The Beat this year! This is the perfect time of year for eggplant and thought this was the best accompaniment for the naan.

416 Mag: How did you pull off making so many samples?
Alexandra: I have an amazing team behind me! This was my sixth consecutive year working at Eat To The Beat – I’m no stranger to the service! I chose naan with baba ghanoush because I knew that it would be easy to prepare and serve to a very large, very hungry crowd!

416 Mag: In your opinion, what is the state of women in the cooking industry, particularly as chefs? What are some challenges? Name some improvements that recent times have seen.
Alexandra: I believe that the state of women in the restaurant industry is changing for the better. Will we still complete equality within my lifetime? I can’t be sure … but I certainly feel that we are laying the groundwork for future generations.

416 Mag: It’s often thought that male chefs are dominant in the industry. How can women change that?
Alexandra: We as women have the power to change the world as long as we’re working together and supporting one another. Events like Eat To The Beat are certainly helping by giving Female Chefs a platform to share their food and hospitality. I believe that equality within the industry will ultimately be shaped by working together as Chefs [– this includes male chefs!] to create opportunity and community as a collective.

416 Mag: What is your favourite item on your menu at the Drake and why?
Alexandra: Torchetti + Mushrooms is my favourite dish on the menu at The Drake Hotel. It’s simple, comforting, hyper-seasonal and so delicious. It has a confit egg yolk on top which is one of my all-time favourite “sauces” on a pasta.

416 Mag: What are you most proud of in your career so far?
Alexandra: I am most proud to work for The Drake – a place that fosters, enables and celebrates female leadership. I have a great sense of pride to work somewhere that wants to make the world a better place as much as I do.

416 Mag: What’s next for Alexandra Feswick?
Alexandra: I am very excited to be taking over the position of Executive Chef at Drake Devonshire beginning December 1, 2017.

Alexandra will be working in collaboration with Ted Corrado (Drake Hotel Properties’ Corporate Executive Chef) and Michael Portigal (Chef de Cuisine, Drake Devonshire).

Later this week, 416 Mag will talk to two more chefs from Eat to the Beat. Follow us on Facebook to read the story. And in the spring, check back with us to read the next chapter of Alexandra’s life as a chef.

Diana Pereira

Diana Pereira is a journalist, a university journalism teacher, a world traveller, a fair-weather kayaker, and a frequent bruncher. She's working on her mermaid status, travelling to as many countries as she can that include a body of water and when she's home in Toronto, you can find her in a kayak on Lake Ontario.