When I first met Ange, there was this warmness about her that just drew me towards her. Having no idea why or who she was, we chatted for a few minutes and in those few minutes she was able to touch my heart by the words she spoke; she is one of the most peaceful, kind souls I have met thus far. It was shortly afterwards she invited me to her restaurant, which I soon came to find out was award-winner for most romantic fine dining restaurant in the heart of Toronto, La Maquette.
It would only be natural that the warmness I felt when I first met Ange would be the same warmness I would feel when visiting La Maquette and indeed it was. It just made perfect sense.
Given Ange’s background in nutrition, her passion for luxury ingredients, her spirituality, her gifts in intuition and medical insight as well as her healing mediation circle that she leads on a weekly basis, Ange had created a very unique sanctuary for the entire soul through La Maquette. During my interview with Ange (You can find the full interview with Ange Kanavas, Owner of La Maquette further below) she explained that she mediates every morning before each day begins and asks for the light to surround, protect and bless her staff, her restaurant, each meal and all guests that come for a visit. She stressed that she doesn’t want the environment to be filled with any sort of negativity and to be solely surrounded with feelings peace and serenity. My guest and I were clearly able to feel the serenity of the atmosphere during our dinner experience which left us in complete relaxation mode.
The presentation of the food and flavours were phenomenal – so fresh and just out of this world with very rich palettes of creative mixtures and flavours. After my 3-course dinner, I felt a feeling of euphoric satisfaction as opposed to the feeling of heaviness and guilt from eating out elsewhere. An important fact to know especially for those who are health-conscious, like myself, is that Ange shops every morning at the Ontario Food Terminal buying fresh organic vegetables, aromatic herbs and sweet juicy fruits. You can only expect the best quality, nutrition-focused meals at La Maquette.
What my guest and I ate:
The interior of La Maquette:
Full Interview with Ange Kanavas, Owner of La Maquette:
Q. You have a background in nutrition and gifts in intuition and medical insight, how do you incorporate this into your menu?
A. A lot of it is nutritionally balanced. We have a lot of organic produce and meats, like our chicken is organic, some of the fish is organic or organically farmed but also the combination like certain meats with vegetables.
Q. What is the most important thing you want your guests to feel when they come to La Maquette?
A. I want to make sure that they have had a wonderful experience, that they felt the energy first and foremost, that their meal was exquisite and obviously the servers were very attentive and courteous.
Q. Can your servers speak French?
A. Half of them do - normally I have 3 on staff that do. I also have 1 Italian, 1 Romanian, 1 Spanish - we have the United Nations. (laughs) We also have Jamaican, we have Greece - which is me and 2 other waiters.
Q. Do you set a goal every year? Have you set a new year’s resolution?
A. We do but it’s not on a yearly basis - it’s on a monthly basis and it has to do with menus and they are usually reflected on the prefix which is we change it on a monthly basis - it’s actually bi-monthly. We also do specific promotions whether it would be an anniversary promotion or the birthday promotion – when it’s your birthday, your meal is free. So there is always some kind of an incentive going on. As far as the restaurant, the esthetics, there is always every 6 months – we do painting, we do redecorating, the chairs get upholstered. There is always upkeep.
Q. What inspires the options that you have on your menu?
A. The items on the menu reflect the seasons more or less, duck is more of a fall item, in the winter time, after December we go more into the beef, stews – things that would be more comforting for the winter and you’re looking for something heartwarming in a meal. For the summer we do a lot of grilled fish and salads, steamed vegetables.
Q. Do you take part in Summerlicious or Winterlicious?
A. The menus are already submitted for Winterlicious. It is always a good turn out and for me, Summerlicious and Winterlicious is actually the biggest promotion – it is my chance to showcase because I want to entice people to come back or book their events. Normally they may not come otherwise but this is a very good way of showcasing and I do get a lot of events from them. Out of Summerlicious and Winterlicious I don’t know how many weddings we’ve had but we’ve had a lot of weddings because they came, they tried, they liked and they booked.
Q. Anything else you’d like to add?
A. I just would like guest to come in and really relax. It’s not a loud restaurant and it’s not a pick-up bar, it’s a place where you come in and you need to really let your guard down and just enjoy the harmony of everything and it’s really just reflecting within to celebrate life, celebrate whatever the occasion may be but it is about taking that experience for we can give that to the guests, it is also very important that they are looking to create that for themselves. So if you’re coming in an expecting a loud, pick-up bar kind of thing – you’re not going to get it because it’s a very distinct feel.
- Jennifer aka FAB Jenetics
All photography by: Jennifer Cortez