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Toronto Bartender Pushing the Boundaries on Culinary Cocktails

Toronto bar BarChef is a cocktail bar that specializes in culinary cocktails, which refers to the fusion of alcohol and food. Culinary cocktails often use a variety of foods to enhance flavours and aromas for an eclectic cocktail experience.

Co-owner and bar chef Frankie Solarik first experienced the complexities behind alcoholic drinks and cocktails when he was 18-years-old and working at a cigar bar in London, Ontario.

“I would hear the guests talk about their relationship and association with what they were drinking, be it Scotch, Port, Brandy, Cognacs etc., with what they were smoking,” said Solarik. “And that was the first time I really learned about aroma and flavour profiles and flavour pairings.”

For Solarik, “cooking cocktails” is about artistic expression.

“The whole reason we opened BarChef was essentially to create a cocktail bar that would allow free expression artistically,” said Solarik. “The idea was that we open this place with zero limitations and the idea to create a totally new approach to the medium of the cocktail.”

By opening BarChef, Solarik was able to step outside of the typical cocktail recipe and explore a world created by combining the kitchen and the bar. He aims to “challenge the conventional perspective towards drinks and the actual experience of consuming a cocktail.”

Inspired by places, experiences, and environments, Solarik emphasizes his wish to create personal and nostalgic experiences for his guests through “a visceral and emotional journey of taste, touch, smell, sound and sight.”

“I want to tell a story,” Solarik explained.

“I always say to the team ‘do everything with love, always with love’ because the guests can feel that passion.”

BarChef is located at 472 Queen St West, and serves up delicious, housemade cocktails Tuesday to Saturday from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m.

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