At the Pass with Alison Iannarelli

At The Pass With Alison Iannarelli.jpeg


Executive Chef, Centennial College - The Local Cafe and Restaurant (also open to the public) and The Centennial College Event Centre.


Worked in the private golf club industry. Last position was with The Summit Golf and Country Club in Richmond Hill.

Favourite dish to make right now 

Anything local. I love to see what Ontario has to offer all year round

Last cookbook bought 

Culinology: The Intersection of Culinary Art and Food Science by Research Chefs Association. It’s not really a cookbook - more of a reference book.  It’s focused on the world of culinary and food science.

Have you read it/tried any recipes

I have learned a lot about food science and am using my knowledge to improve how I approach my recipes.  

Name one dish or ingredient you’d like to see gone from menus

I think that everything has its place. Everything can be reimagined or presented in so many different ways. Every customer has a dish or item that they love, and I think that is what we as chefs need to focus on.

And one dish or ingredient that you’re excited about right now and would like to see on more menus

So many things are changing everyday in this industry. Dairy-free, grain-free, and plant-based items are up and coming and we really have boundless opportunities and it is really exciting seeing what our industry is coming up with.   

If you could eat at any restaurant in the world

I would love to eat at Joia in Milan.

The last thing you ate

Baked Ontario apples and Sheldon Creek yogurt. 

Three must-have ingredients always in your fridge

Cheese, eggs, milk.  

Guilty pleasure 

I love anything food. Sound like a typical answer for a chef, but it’s true.  

Top 3 favourite Toronto restaurants

I’m a new mom. I don’t get out much!

Top 3 favourite Toronto bars 

See above.  

Your go-to drink

Wine. Red, white, rosé - doesn’t matter!

One habit you have in the kitchen that you should lose, but can’t seem to shake 

Need for perfection and being hard on myself. 

One habit you have in the kitchen that will inspire young chefs

Calmness. I have always been good at keeping calm in any type of situation.

Best career advice you ever received

The best advice I ever got was from an old mentor in college.  He said that in the kitchen, you never stop learning. If you ever think that you know everything there is to know, you will never get far. Everyday you learn from everyone you meet and to grow and become an amazing chef, you need to keep learning, and keep teaching and you will go far. 

Worst career advice you ever received

I spent some time in Italy after college. I studied and worked hard there for two years. I was 23 at the time. When I returned home, I was applying for senior line cook positions.  I was told by one chef at the interview that I was “delusional” if I thought that I would ever get a position like that.  

One week later I was hired as a sous chef at an Italian restaurant and four years later I was an Executive Chef at a private yacht club.  

He was wrong.

Your advice for a young cook starting out in the business

My advice to all of the students that do their work integrated learning with us at The Local Café and Restaurant and Event Centre is take pride in their learning, take advantage of every work experience, and most of all love what they do.