It’s halfway through the year and it’s time to get to know a bit more about the talented chefs who have been making the tasty dishes the school has enjoyed so far. Johnny Wong and Tony Crisafi have extensive culinary backgrounds and are excited to be working at Riverside’s cafeteria.

Crisafi first came to Riverside in 2016 as the culinary assistant under teaching chef Mona Garga. He is now teaching the culinary students at the school and taking his PDP (Professional Development Program) to get his official teachers’ certification.  “I like being at Riverside because it lets me develop connections with students in the school when I see them buy their breakfast or lunch,” said Crisafi.

Crisafi found a love of cooking from his Mom and his Italian background. He would work with her to create fresh pastas and Italian food. Crisafi started his career at an early age, in Montreal, working at a bakery when he was just 13 years old.  “When I was 16 years old, I worked at a restaurant, then graduated and attended culinary arts school. I received my Red Seal, and I was fortunate to work at hotels across Canada,” said Crisafi.  A Red Seal chef is a national standard trade certification and examination that lets skilled workers to work across Canada. Later in his career, Tony went back to study pastry, and then worked at pastry shops in France.

Wong comes from an experienced culinary background as well. He owned a restaurant thirteen years ago, and then attended the Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts in Vancouver. Wong later became an apprentice at different hotels. “I have also received my Red Seal at the Vancouver Community College,” said Wong.

“I am excited to be at the cafeteria for two reasons: the opportunity to welcome students and cultivate their interest of cooking, and to be able to create dishes and menu that students will love,” said Wong.

Students will continue to look forward to the cafeteria’s breakfast and lunch menu!