This school year, Riverside Secondary welcomed a new ‘Red Seal’ assistant chef to the cafeteria. On October 17, Red Seal certified Chef, Tony Crisaifi, had his first day as the new assistant chef in Riverside’s cafeteria. As it’s been almost three months since Crisaifi started working at Riverside, he has become used to the rhythm of how things work in the kitchen. Every weekday Crisaifi preps, cooks, and works as a cashier during the lunch hour. Crisaifi found the job on an online posting. “I had to go to the District 43 human resources office, and I had two interviews,” said Crisaifi.

Crisaifi first started his cooking career by getting his Red Seal certification in baking and cooking in Montreal. To be certified it requires a minimum of 5,000 hours of work experience, and also three years of culinary school. Although it is Crisaifi’s first time working in a school cafeteria, he has plenty of work experience as he’s been cooking for 25 years. Mainly working in fine dining restaurants and hotels, Crisaifi has worked all over Europe in countries such as Germany, and he was a head chef in France. He has also cooked for five Canadian prime ministers, including Pierre Trudeau. He even cooked for the Dalai Lama.

Working in Riverside’s cafeteria is quite different from Crisaifi’s past experiences. “It’s different. I don’t like it better or worse. I enjoy cooking, so I like learning new ways to do it. I also like working with the students,” said Crisaifi. Since he started working here, he has been implementing new ideas for lunch specials, such as chicken & waffles and curry chicken. His new ideas are appreciated by staff and students, and he’s a great addition to Riverside Secondary.