Lynn Crawford recently left her prestigious post as the executive chef at the Four Seasons Hotel Manhattan and returned to her hometown of Toronto to open her first restaurant. It’s quite a departure for the George Brown graduate, who’d been with Four Seasons for 24 years.
“There’s an evolution to one’s life and career, and it was just time for the next chapter and challenge,” says Crawford, Canada’s first female chef to participate in the Iron Chef America competition.
Her restaurant, formerly The Citizen located at Queen and Broadview, is set to open in March, and Crawford is currently in the midst of renovating it with friend Cherie Stinson of interior design firm Yabu Pushelberg.
She’s also just bought the car she’s always wanted: a Mini Cooper. But it’s not just any mini. It’s a black 2009 Clubman with silver stripes, which Crawford currently uses to zip back and forth from her restaurant to Home Depot on building supply runs. “I just plug in my iPod, turn up the volume and the stereo is just perfect,” she says.
“One of the car’s selling features was knowing that I could fit eight cases of wine in the back with the seats down,” adds Crawford with a laugh. “It’s the perfect car for running around for the restaurant.”
And for someone who used to ride motorcycles, she appreciates her Mini’s manual six speeds.
“It’s got such great pickup. It zips,” she says. This is a woman who, during her New York days, drove a 1972 Volkswagen that she painted candy apple red and white. She clearly has fun with her rides.
Aside from her restaurant venture, Crawford has also ventured into television as the host of the Food Network’s new culinary adventure show Pitchin’ In, in which she journeys across North America in search of the best and freshest ingredients.
“For a chef to get to go back to the simplicity of what food is … I am so energized now and so rejuvenated and so excited to cook again,” she says.
“I can’t tell you the inspiration that an heirloom tomato has given me.”
– Heather Buchan is a Toronto-based journalist whohas worked at Homemakers,Canadian Living, Canadian House & Homeand, most recently,Hello! Canada, where she cut her teeth in the world of celebrities.