RICKY AND OLIVIA ARE A CHEF DUO BASED IN AND AROUND TORONTO. WITH A FOCUS ON ONTARIO’S FOOD AND SUPPORTING LOCAL FARMERS, THEY TRY TO CELEBRATE TORONTO’S DIVERSITY IN PLAYFUL BUT THOUGHTFUL WAYS.
YOU CAN FIND THEM AT VENUES ACROSS TORONTO AND ITS PROVINCE SHOWCASING THEIR COMMITMENT TO SOURCING ONTARIO FOOD AND DRINK THROUGH THEIR POPUPS!
Chef and Owner
Similar to most chefs, Olivia cooked at home quite often with her family. Her mom’s side of the family is Eastern European and food was always the main event at their gatherings. She developed a true appreciation of how to connect with people through food and different cultures.
Olivia went to school for food science and nutrition at George Brown College, but ended up in the kitchen and fell in love. What also sparked her interest was the experience you can create with people and the ability to connect with complete strangers on a common level: food.
She has worked in many kitchens in Toronto, some including; Bar Buca, Oliver and Bonacini Catering, Saturday Dinette and Hawthorne Food and Drink. Olivia also travelled and lived in New York City, staging and working in some of New York’s finest; including Dirt Candy, Mission Chinese, and Blue Hill Stone Barns.
Chef and Owner
Ricky was always a bit of a jokester in school and gravitated towards athletics and sports as opposed to his academics. He admits “I didn’t really have the grades to go to university, but luckily colleges don’t care as much! So going to Culinary School at George Brown was the easy, and well, only option haha.” He also states, “I thought the parallels of playing sports like lacrosse and being a chef were so similar. Being a good captain and teammate translates to being a good leader and Chef, It’s like being part of a team again. But most importantly, I was always told girls love a guy that can cook, so that pretty much made my decision for me…”
After bouncing around restaurants and catering, he found himself at Hawthorne Food and Drink where he worked with notable Chefs such as Eric Wood, Bihn An Nyugen, Jared Braithwaite, Mark Cutrara and Martha Wright. He eventually climbed the ranks and took over as Executive Chef at the young age of 23. Besides his duties as Chef he was also a teacher and instructor as Hawthorne doubled as a training facility for youth and those on social support. His past trainees can be found across the city in restaurants and hotels today.
After 3 years Ricky decided to leave Hawthorne to his then Sous Chef Olivia Simpson and took a partnership role at AFT Kitchen and Bar. After sometime, he asked Olivia to join him as Co-Chef. Eventually they felt like they needed to create their own path, which is why they decided to create their own start-up: Ricky+Olivia.
Chef Ambassadors for FeastOn, supporting Ontario’s farmers while celebrating Toronto’s diversity