The dream of opening Tutti Matti Restaurant in Toronto, Canada came to Chef Alida Solomon during her six years working in the kitchens and fields of Tuscany. She was inspired by Tuscan gastronomic culture — not just the food — but also the way that wine relates to food, food relates to wine, and how the lifestyle is inspired by both.
When Solomon first started developing her idea for the Toronto‐based restaurant, she knew it wouldn’t be easy. She wanted to provide an opportunity for North Americans to experience Tuscan food with authentic seasonal ingredients and true Tuscan gastronomic principles and flavors.
“The view of olive trees on hillsides, cypress trees, and vineyards was central in my mind as I developed the menu for the restaurant. The focus was the dishes and wines of Tuscany. I believe we have succeeded.”
While staying true to the Tuscan concept, Tutti Matti’s menu has continued to evolve. Some dishes are permanent productions of our kitchen — gnudi, pinci, papardelle, tagliatelle — all made in‐house. Others are more seasonal, like stuffed zucchini flowers in the summers and polpetta and hearty soups in the winter. From day one, we have served venison, wild boar, fennel pork sausage. We love to produce delectable trays of antipasto and they change seasonally and daily (sometimes even mid‐service!)
Our wine list has grown from eight reds and eight whites to hundreds of reds and not as many whites; ranging from 1985 Brunelli to the present. Of course the collection continues to grow. One of Chef Alida’s joys has been teaching people about the wine of the region, and we regularly host wine tastings at the restaurant to showcase wines that pair well with the spectrum of flavors unique to Tuscan cuisine.
Soon after opening, Chef Alida realized that to truly understand Tuscan culture, her staff needed to experience Tuscany for themselves. So, we have travelled in a group on several occasions, singing, tasting, sipping, and reveling. What comes out of our kitchen has the fresh authentic aroma of Tuscany because we have experienced the real thing together.
In the summer of 2010, we visited Dario Cecchini’s famed butcher shop in Panzano in Chianti. He welcomed us to an early morning feast of an all‐night roasted porchetta. All the kitchen staff of Tutti Matti stood in front of our rented vehicle, swooning over the warm, savoury, mouthwatering pork. Now, in Tutti Matti’s kitchen nearly 10,000 km away, we find ourselves often reliving the moment, when we stuff a piglet with fennel pollen and seeds, fresh rosemary, garlic, fresh chili, bay leaf, and clove. When customers say that our restaurant compares with the best of Tuscany, we are humbled.
Alida Solomon is one of only a few women chef/owners in Canada. In November 2012, Solomon celebrates Tutti Matti’s 10th anniversary. Since its opening in 2002, Tutti Matti has been hailed by critics and received both local and national awards, including the prestigious 2009 “L’Eccio D’Oro” for Osteria of the Year (an award previously won by Mario Batali and Alain Ducasse). But most important to Solomon, Tutti Matti has stayed true to its roots — serving food and wine that honours the spirit and culture of Tuscany.