Sense & Seasonality

Check out Chef Tawfik on Le Gourmet TV!

Celebrated Chef Tawfik Shehata joined the Vertical team in March 2006. His culinary style can best be described as “sense and seasonality” which refers to his use of the freshest seasonal ingredients available and the desire to create simple, flavourful dishes in which the ingredients work in harmony. This refreshing approach has earned him many accolades and is a perfect fit with the vision of the cuisine at Vertical.

Born in Egypt and raised in Canada, Shehata’s interest in a culinary career began with his mother’s passion for food. He began his education at the Cordon Bleu in Ottawa and then undertook an apprenticeship at Scaramouche in Toronto while completing the Chef Apprentice Programme at George Brown College. Following graduation, he studied at Café Asia under the guidance of Andrew Chase, followed by a stint at Auberge du Pommier and later a Sous Chef position at the five-star Cambridge Beaches Resort in the Caribbean.

Returning to Canada, Shehata furthered his culinary journey at some of Toronto’s finest establishments including Winston’s, The Rosewater Supper Club, Boba and Truffles at The Four Seasons. He returned to the Caribbean to serve as Restaurant Chef at The Grand Lido Negril Resort in Jamaica, earning “Best Restaurant in Jamaica” award under his leadership. In 2002, he became the Executive Chef at Eau Restaurant and was voted as one of the “Top Ten Chefs in Canada” by enRoute Magazine. Eau was described by Report on Business Magazine as the “hot new place to go” and also received four-star ratings from many of the city’s food critics. Shehata was also rated as one of the “Top Ten New Chefs in Toronto” at the Gourmet Food and Wine Expo and Zagat Guide 2003 highlighted him as a “newcomer to watch”.

Tawfik then spent two seasons in Muskoka at Taboo Resort as Chef of Elements, the resort’s newest restaurant concept. He has appeared on Food Network Canada on “Christine Cushing Live” and “Cook with Me” and was a regular Guest Chef on CBC’s daytime “The Gill Deacon Show”. At the 2007 Gourmet Food and Wine Expo, Tawfik was voted one of the “Top 9 of Dine”, highlighting the hottest up and coming chefs in the Toronto area. He has been featured in the 2007 National Post story on noteworthy young chefs as well as a similar feature in the North Toronto Post. Tawfik also made an appearance as a guest judge on an episode of “Chef School” on Food Network Canada.

Under the direction of Chef Shehata, Vertical has received excellent reviews from Toronto Life, The Toronto Star, National Post and The Globe and Mail. Vertical was #4 in Toronto Life’s list of “Best New Restaurants 2007” and was named by enRoute Magazine as one of 25 restaurants across Canada that will shape the dining scene in 2007 and beyond in their “Where to Dine Next” feature. In November, Tawfik will be a regular judge on the show “Pressure Cooker” on SUN TV, a reality show competition for up and coming chefs. The show can be seen Sundays at 10pm on SUN TV.