Best of CityPlace

Female chefs bring big flavour and to thoughtfully-curated menus in Toronto

By  | 

More than 60 female chefs from various Toronto restaurants went into machine-mode, cooking up thousands of flavourful morsels of food recently.

The event, called Eat to the Beat showcased a variety of tastes at the stunning Roy Thomson Hall, raising money to support the Canadian Cancer Society.

416 Mag spoke to two chefs featured at the event, who cook at restaurants close to the downtown core. I’m always on the lookout for exciting restaurants that are also close to my CityPlace condo, and these are must-try since they are a mere 15-minute walk away. No wheels required!

Courtesy Angela Panigas’ Linkedin

Angela Panigas is the chef at The Sultan’s Tent & Cafe Moroc and BerBer Social. On Angela’s menu at Eat to the Beat was a chicken bastilla, made with chicken, egg, almond, phyllo pastry and cinnamon. Similar in looks to a chicken pie, but a thousand times more flavourful. The almonds give the bites a bit of crunch, and the cinnamon giving the dish a sweet and savoury kick at the same time. It left me wanting more.

Courtesy the Sultan’s tent website

Luckily, it’d be a short walk to get another bite, as it’s on the menu at The Sultan’s Tent & Cafe Moroc, in the St. Lawrence Market area at 49 Front St. E.

416 Mag: What inspired your offering at Eat to the Beat?
Angela: It is a small way that I can offer my support and show that I care.

416 Mag: Why did you get involved with Eat to the Beat?
Angela: I think it is such a worthy and deserving cause. My aunt lost her life, I have cousins who are fighting it, and I saw a friend lose her daughter to it. It breaks my heart, and the memories stay in my heart.

416 Mag: How did you pull off making so many samples?
Angela: With the help of many caring hands.

416 Mag: It’s often thought that male chefs are dominant in the industry. How can women change that?
Angela: I don’t think women need to change this. I think today, professionals are looked on according to their accomplishments, and it does not matter whether they are male or female.

416 Mag: What is your favourite item out of all your menus?
Angela: The Moroccan maftoul, crispy on the outside, full of ground beef, Moroccan spices, raisins, cashews.

416 Mag: What are you most proud of in your career so far?
Angela: Using my efforts to assist others in making memories that last a lifetime. My satisfaction is not how much I can make but rather how much I can give.

You won't be disappointed. Reso link in bio. @dariona_n_3 #TheSultansTent

A post shared by The Sultan's Tent & Cafe Moroc (@thesultanstent) on

The Sultan’s Tent & Cafe Moroc French Moroccan 3-course or a la carte feast w/Belly Dancing in downtown Toronto! Lunch Tues-Fri Brunch Sat & dinner Tues-Sun!

416 Mag: What’s next for you?
Angela: I hope to share my experience and understanding of this industry with others who have a passion for it.

Nuit Regular is a chef at Kiin and Pai, two seriously-mouthwatering Thai restaurants right in the Entertainment District. I still have dreams about the Gaeng Kiaw Wan, served in a coconut. I chose the fish option, with green curry, bamboo shoots, kaffir lime leaves, basil leaves, green peppers, coconut milk, served with jasmine rice. The dish, again, comes in a coconut, so several blissful moments were spent scraping the inside of the coconut, getting chunks covered in curry. There’s no way that will be the last time I eat that dish! If you’re not a fish fan, you get a choice of chicken, beef, pork, or tofu & vegetables. And it’s definitely worth the short walk and sit-down, as the dish doesn’t come in a coconut if you’re ordering takeout or delivery!

Courtesy KIIN Toronto website co-owners Chef Nuit (right) and Jeff Regular

416 Mag: Why did you get involved with Eat to the Beat? Do you have any personal connection to the cause?
Nuit: I used to be a nurse in Thailand for ten years. I’ve always had a passion for health, cooking and helping people.

416 Mag: What inspired your SUPER FLAVOURFUL offering at Eat to the Beat?
Nuit: I really wanted to showcase the bold flavours of Thailand in one bite. In Thailand, our salads are great dishes to showcase this because all the flavours are mixed and balanced together.

416 Mag: How did you pull off making so many samples?
Nuit: We have a great team at the restaurants who also wanted to contribute to this great cause. They put in a lot of time to help me prepare for the event.


416 Mag: It’s often thought that male chefs are dominant in the industry. How can women change that?
Nuit: Actions speak louder than words. Keep up your passion, hone your talents, believe in yourself and never give up. Anyone that displays all of these will be rewarded regardless if you are a man or a woman.

416 Mag: What is your favourite item on your menu at Kiin and Pai and why?
Nuit: My favourite item on the menu changes from day to day and the also the season.
Right now, I’m thinking about the wing bean salad from Kiin because it brings back happy memories of when I taught myself how to make tom yum paste in Thailand. I was so proud because it tasted so good.

And the Northern Thai Sausage from Pai because it’s not only delicious, but it reminds me of my childhood and learning how to make this dish from my mom.

416 Mag: What are you most proud of in your career so far?
Nuit: When people tell me how much they love my food.

Kiin is at 326 Adelaide St. W., east of Peter Street. Pai is at 18 Duncan Street, east of John Street.



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.