In the Spring of 2007, Chef John Cirillo, C.C.C took the first steps towards the building of his lifelong dream. Now, a full year since it was first revealed, Cirillo's Culinary Academy (CCA) is set to open its doors! Combining his background in classical European cuisine, with a flair for innovative Canadian cuisine, and 25 years of culinary experience Cirillo's Culinary Academy will be a warm, inviting, and state-of-the-art teaching facility where students can slice and dice, sizzle and frizzle, puree and soufflé to their heart's content-all with the supportive and nurturing guidance of one of Toronto's top chefs.
Located at 4894 Dundas Street West, Cirillo's Culinary Academy is the first cooking school in Toronto helmed by a chef with Cirillo's credentials, which include team captain of Culinary team Ontario of the 2004 Culinary Olympics. Cirillo will be joined in the venture by wife Margit Cirillo who brings over 25 years of international experience in the hospitality industry to the table.
CCA will be located at the former site of Kirby Hardware, a landmark in Toronto's Islington Village. Situated on Dundas Street between Islington and Kipling, the area is home to myriad of interesting and ethnically diverse restaurants, shops and services.
"It's been a year full of ups and downs," explains Cirillo, "but being a part of this community - particularly in helping to preserve this landmark property - has been my dream, and it has been worth the wait."
Glen Peloso, who has been a featured designer on The Food Network's Restaurant Makeover, is currently putting the finishing touches on the design. Passersby will be able to look in on the classroom, which will have 12 cooking stations able to accommodate 24 participants. There will also be a staging area for Chef Cirillo and guest celebrity chefs. The classroom will feature upscale decor and residential grade cooking equipment. The academy will also have a boutique and a cozy lounge area where students can enjoy their culinary creations and peruse some of Chef's Cirillo's favourite cookbooks.
Programmes to be offered will run the spectrum from cooking classes catering to individuals, couples, and even kids. Corporate team building will be a special focus of Cirillo's Culinary Academy which offers a unique hands-on setting and opportunities to host private Chef's Table culinary events.
Chef Cirillo will continue to offer the popular "black box party", a concept derived from international culinary competitions, at the academy or for in-house cooking demonstrations or catering intimate events. The "black box" program, which challenges Chef Cirillo to make a delicious meal from the unknown black box contents, is a fun, creative and entertaining way to experience the culinary arts.
Please visit www.cirillosacademy.com for complete listing of personalized classes and Cirillo's Culinary Academy's Gourmet Club.
About Chef John Cirillo, C.C.C.
John Cirillo's role in promoting the culinary arts has been recognized by his peers with awards and medals in culinary competitions. He is a two-time honoree of the Escoffier Society as Toronto "Chef of the Year (1998 and 2003). In addition, as Team Captain of Culinary Team Ontario at the 2004 Culinary Olympics, he led the team to victory, winning 2nd overall (regional) as well as two Gold and one Silver medal.
His dedication to teaching has been evident in his hiring and training culinary team members at both the Hilton Toronto Airport and Hilton Toronto, where he also developed an apprentice program. He has also taught courses at Humber College and a number of local area schools.
Chef Cirillo grew up in a Toronto household where food took centre stage. His mother's Sicilian roots filled home-cooked meals with Mediterranean style while his father, originally from Italy's Pulgia region, was a cheese importer whose store featured deli meats and a popular take-out section. Early aspirations of becoming a carpenter or drummer were replaced with a desire for a culinary career when a teacher at Bramalea's North Peel High School enthralled the young chef-to-be with stories of working in hotels and kitchens in different countries, and competing in the Culinary Olympics (1972, 1988). At 17, Chef Cirillo began an apprenticeship at the Hilton Toronto Airport under Marcel Rothlin. He then traveled to Europe, learning his trade at the Hilton on Park Lane in London, England and then Switzerland's Hilton Basel. He returned to Toronto to complete a Certified Chef de Cuisine (C.C.C.) diploma at Humber College. Between 1994 and 1996, he was Executive Sous Chef at the Hilton Toronto working under the legendary Chef Albert Schnell. At 31, Chef Cirillo returned to the Hilton Toronto Airport as Executive Chef. Four years later, Chef Cirillo was appointed to the position of Executive Chef of the Hilton Toronto, where he redefined Canadian cuisine until his departure in 2006.
John Cirillo is an active member of the Canadian Federation of Chefs and Cooks, Escoffier Society of Toronto, and the international organization, Les Toques Blanches. He and Margit live in the Toronto area with their 3 budding home Chefs Monika, Stefanie and Erika Cirillo. For more information please visit, www.cirillosacademy.com.