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Splendido scoop

It seems Yannick and David have sold Splendido to Carlo, the manager and Victor, the chef de cusine in order to focus their attentions on Nota Bene and perhaps pursue other ventures with Franco Prevedello. James Chatto has confirmed this bit of news in today's blog.

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  1. Wow!! No way?!!! What a weird business decision! Selling Toronto's best fine dining establishment! May be its because of the economy downturn, people shying away from fine dining?!
    Can't imagine eating at Splendido without Yannick and David at the helm?!
    Jean George Vongerichten, Daniel Boulud, Thomas Keller, Alain Ducasse, Joel Robuchon or anyone with Michelin stars under his belt, please come to Toronto ASAP and fill the gap!!

    2 Replies
    1. re: Charles Yu

      Considering the drop in the menu price recently, economic troubles could be the reason for their departure from the venture. Unless they're opening another higher end restaurant, I think it's a shame to lose Yannick and David to Nota Bene (which is not a true showing of the talent involved in Splendido, even if it might be more financially successful at this point)...

    2. That is late-breaking. Yannick was there last week when I went to Splendido.

      1. or reading between the lines... they do not think highend fine dining is going to be profitable in the resession and they dumped a ton of money into Nota Bene so they offloaded Splendido before t drained them completely.

        1. Get ready for Nota Bene to go to an even higher level, I suppose.

          1 Reply
          1. re: childofthestorm

            IMO, Nota Bene too big a space and too many covers to operate at 'fine dining' level without compromising in food and service quality!

          2. Perhaps it's simply the evolution and progression of the junior team. Splendido has been open for more than twenty years, and David and Yannick are not the original folk.

            Also on the Franco resume, Centro is on it's fourth or fifth team and is still going strongly, and while Pronto is no more, the team that successfully ran it seems quite well set Across the Road.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Snarf

              I agree, you have to give more credit to the team that's there under the executive chef. If there's already a chef de cuisine around then they basically take care of the day-to-day duties and have a big hand on controlling the quality of the food that goes out.

              It doesn't matter how good the chef is, if the team under you is crap you can only do so much.

            2. Just wanted to state, for the record, that Victor has been doing an admirable job.I've been a couple of times when David was not (apparently) in attendance and once when David left 'early' - presumably to transfer to Nota Bene. And, to my tastebuds, the quallity didn't suffer at all.
              And, of course, the rest of the team is still in place.
              I'm just giving thanks that we do have two restaurants this good (but different) in Toronto.

              1 Reply
              1. re: estufarian

                I'm watching this space with keen, keen interest.

                I wonder how the staff will react to such huge news. Could be a curious time on Harbord St.

                These rumours were swirling for about 6 weeks though.

              2. Interesting....I was deciding between Splendido and Blacktree for an up coming dinner, but this may tip the scales...

                Although the commute to Blacktree is not helping their cause.

                Has anyone tried Trevors kitchen? How would they compare?

                Decisions, decisions....

                4 Replies
                1. re: Sadistick

                  You cannot even begin to compare Trevor's Kitchen to Splendido, they are that far apart.

                  1. re: Sadistick

                    Trevor's has passable food, poor service and the space (in every incarnation) has always been one of my least favourite in Toronto - it's claustrophobic.

                    1. re: estufarian

                      Echo the comments re: poor service and VERY dark (at least in the corner I was in) claustrophobic space.

                      1. re: LTL

                        The space is overwhelmingly claustrophobic. My table was split on the food. Some enjoyed it others were really dissapointed and I thought the service was fairly good. Unfortunately from my seat the only view I had was a couple who thought it would be cool to grind on each other then stare longingly into each other's eyes.

                  2. Folks, if you have confirmed information to share about David and Yannick's plans, please feel free to share. However, this board is not the right place to speculate or spread rumours.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: The Chowhound Team

                      I don't believe there has been an official announcement, but the sale of the property is widely known at this point.

                      Just waiting for the official release.

                      1. re: The Chowhound Team

                        One very tanned, very chipper Chef Lee confirmed the news to me last night.

                        1. re: rich_ie

                          Confirmed which news? New restaurant? Sale of spendido etc.. lots of "news" was posted here

                          1. re: OnDaGo

                            I've heard no news of a new resto.

                            Sale of Splendido is the news I'm aware of.

                      2. Two questions:

                        1. As of now, is David still in the kitchen?

                        2. Now that they've reduced the price of their tasting menu have they also reduced it in terms of quality or quantity?

                        Thanks in advance!

                        12 Replies
                        1. re: Notorious P.I.G.

                          David hasn't been in the kitchen at Splendido for some time - he's at Nota Bene.
                          I had the 'reduced' tasting menu this month - certainly wasn't smaller and I didn't notice any drop in quality.

                          1. re: estufarian

                            What is the new executive chefs full name? Where else has he worked?

                            1. re: OnDaGo

                              Victor Barry
                              He's not on chefdb.com.

                              1. re: foodyDudey

                                Interesting wonder what is background is... he was not even listed as a current employee of Splendido..

                                1. re: OnDaGo

                                  sure he is listed. Go to the CONTACT page, he is there.

                                  1. re: foodyDudey

                                    I was refering to the list on Chefdb which is usually pretty up to date....

                                    1. re: OnDaGo

                                      Well my post was deleted earlier, but here is a portion of it that won't get the chop...

                                      The reduction in the tasting has to do w/ expensive ingredients rather than portion size or quality of preparation. Notice there are no foie, caviar, etc.....It's just a sign of the times.

                                      It's interesting when people think the "celeb" chefs of the city are back in the kitchen touching each dish before sending it out. Most of the big names including David aren't in the kitchen much. They have bigger fish to fry than plate your appetizer.

                                      Brian Semenuk was chef de cuisine for the last while until he left in December. He was basically running the show until Victor took over. Yannick and David were rarely if ever there. That doesn't affect their quality control.

                                      Chefdb is a user updated site, not an official listing for restaurant employees. Most listings are posted by the workers themselves, and not everybody in the kitchen will or want to post their entire career history on a website for all to see.

                                      1. re: OnDaGo

                                        He has been there for a while and ChefDB is not always accurate.

                                2. re: OnDaGo

                                  I know he's been at Splendido for quite a while. I met him last year soon after Nota Bene opened.And I think he was at Splendido for some time before that.

                                3. re: estufarian

                                  Thanks for getting back to me. Very much appreciated.

                                4. re: Notorious P.I.G.

                                  I was there on Saturday and Victor was the Chef. The Tasting Menu was still excellent, as were the wine pairings. I will continue to go to Splendido (when my budget permits) unless my taste buds tell me otherwise.

                                  1. re: always_eating

                                    Nice, thank you as well for your input. It's reassuring to hear.

                                5. Four of us had the $98 tasting menu in February on a Thursday evening. We had never been to Splendido but expected a great experience. What we got was a solid 8 out of 10. There were a few missteps in ingredient choices, cooking technique and service. I left that night saying, "I bet you Splendido closes down by June." So, I'm not surprised to hear of the sale.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: Food Tourist

                                    We mentioned we love foie gras, so they included an additional course of a charcuterie platter at no additional cost. This was definitely the highlight of the evening - both in terms of food and service.