We asked Proof chef Tim Dunnill some questions about Proof, the upcoming menu and more. In anticipation for Proof’s official opening, get to know Tim below:
What did you do before Proof?
I was the Executive Chef for the Old Mill Inn and Spa in Toronto since 2008, where I worked with an amazing team to orchestrate over 450 weddings a year. Prior to that, I was the Executive Sous Chef at the Air Canada Centre overseeing 3 restaurants and a large catering department. While I worked at the ACC I was under the mentorship of Chef Brad Long, where I honed my passion for local, sustainable, and ethical food.
Why do you love what you do?
I have always had a passion for food, wine and the people that are involved in the industry. It’s a community. I have always thought of being a chef as an opportunity to be a part of something special, creating special memories. Whether it’s a simple night out for a couple or a wedding for 300 people, I have the opportunity to help create that moment that people will remember for the rest of their lives.
Do you have a specialty?
I wouldn’t say I have a particular dish that I would call my specialty, more a cooking style. I like to take traditional items or dishes and put a twist on them. I also like to use foods that were a favourite as a kid and update them. A good example of this is the Gingersnap S’mores on the Proof Menu: it’s gooey goodness, but in an adult version.
Do you have a favourite food or dish to eat?
A good curry is one of my favourites, the combination of flavours and spicy heat really appeals to my palate. I also love Lamb Kofta. The gaminess of the lamb mixed with Middle Eastern spices is a great combination.
Having worked in Toronto for the past 20 years, I am getting to know the area. I’m really drawn by the sense of community here and that has lead me to investigate more about what the restaurant can be doing locally. The suppliers have been amazing. Local is easier and more accessible here than it is in Toronto, so I’m looking forward to working with local farmers and suppliers. I think it’s an excellent opportunity to help build a great restaurant that has connection with the community.
What can we expect from the Proof menu?
We’re going to be about using local ingredients and infusing global flavors. We want to establish partnerships with the farmers. And I also really believe that the health-conscious aspect of our lives has gotten a foothold. We’re getting away from heavy sauces and cream sauces and trying to do some interesting things such as an olive oil-poached salmon, for instance. We’re also doing a cold-smoked pork chop that not only imparts a nice, gentle, smokey flavor, but doesn’t require a heavy sauce. Light, fresh and healthy.