Places We Make Art

This is one hell of a salad, but can you call it art?

Hang out in the kitchen with top Toronto chef Victor Barry. Art makes people feel, and that's exactly what he does with food.

Hang out in the kitchen with Victor Barry. Art makes people feel, and that's exactly what he does with food

Hang out in the kitchen with top Toronto chef, Victor Barry. Art makes people feel, and that's exactly what he does with food. 1:50

Can you really say that the culinary arts are, well, art?

It's something to consider on this episode of The Places We Call Art, as Toronto chef Victor Barry invites you inside his Annex restaurant, Piano Piano, where he'll make you one of the most popular items on the menu: a grilled Caesar salad with pork belly.

[Art] invokes emotion, and that's what we do with food.- Victor Barry, chef

"For a long time, when I was like a young cook, I always thought cooking as an art was like, kind of stupid," says Barry, who's been working in kitchens since he was 11, helping out at his uncle's pizza place in Niagara-on-the-Lake.

"But it is!" he says. "It's an interpretation of myself that I put onto the plate and I serve to my guests."

Before Piano Piano, Barry's Harbord Street location was home to Splendido, something of a foodie institution in Toronto. He started there in 2005 as an assistant pastry chef, and by 2009, he bought the place. Piano Piano, which offers casual Italian fare, opened in 2016 — and across the street from its airy dining room, Barry has also opened a flamingo-pink French bistro, Café Cancan.

"I want people to feel," Barry says in the video, describing why he cooks. "And that's what art is. It invokes emotion, and that's what we do with food. We invoke emotion."

Take a peek inside the restaurant.

More episodes of The Places We Make Art:

This artist is making a big name for himself from a tiny Toronto apartment

She's still working out of her dad's basement but not for the reason you might think

For Ekow Nimako, this is the best place in the world to play with Lego

Think you can handle a visit to this artist's kill room?

This artist gives us a whole new way to think about 'house painting'

She's done music videos for Drake and Miguel, but every idea starts at home for this makeup artist

See how this Toronto design duo surrounds themselves with unlikely inspiration

The Places We Make Art is a CBC Arts web series about just that. Profiling Toronto artists from a multitude of disciplines, step into their creative lives by exploring the unexpected spaces that inspire them the most.

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