Paul Chiapetta has been Executive Chef at Quattro Vinotecca for seven years now. During the past two years, he and his colleagues have been working on a special farm-to-table project that is bringing top quality local food to their menu. Their goal is to bring the best quality, tastiest food to customers of both the Quattro Hotel and Conference Centre and to the Quattro Vinotecca restaurant. They’re doing that in a very unique way for a chef and restaurateur. Quattro Farms was created out of a desire to be able to have direct input into the quality of the food on the menu.
All of the chicken, pork, and rabbit served is raised at Quattro Farms near Thessalon, Ontario, located in the District of Algoma. The project has been so successful, that it has grown from one farm producing food exclusively for Quattro to five farms in the area who have met the strict standards of the program, all this in the year and a half the farms have been supplying Quattro Hotel.
I had the chance to sit down with Chef Paul and talk about his background, his current project, and his future plans for Quattro. He is a Sault Ste. Marie native and a graduate of the Chef Training program at George Brown College. Paul spent three years as a chef, working on Grand Cayman in the Cayman Islands, and 10 years in the Kitchener Waterloo area. The Sault brought him back to work at Crimson Ridge, before the new owners of Quattro Hotel and Conference Centre invited him in to the business as Executive Chef. He was involved in the complete renovation of the hotel and restaurant, now ranked highest in the Ascend Hotel Collection.
The popular farm-to-table concept has been around for many years, however it's one that not all restaurants and chefs in the Sault have yet grasped. I was very intrigued to talk about Quattro Farms to learn how it evolved. Chef Paul said that he has known farmer Mark Petingalo for a number of years. From this relationship, he learned that the way animals are treated, raised, and fed can affect quality. It makes good sense to ensure animals raised for food production lead stress-free, happy lives. The better they’re fed (Quattro Farms animals are fed a non-GM0 peas/barley blend), the better tasting the product. In fact, he indicated that stress releases an acid into the meat, causing the tissue to break down, thus producing a lesser quality product. Bottom line, Quattro Farms’ main objective is to provide the animals with a clean diet and stress-free daily routine. They believe that since animals are giving the ultimate sacrifice, they deserve to be treated with respect and appreciation.
“Consumers are also much more educated now than they were just a few years ago,” said Chef Paul. “They expect their food to be raised responsibly and humanely. They want to know where the food was sourced and how it was farmed.” Now, Chef Paul and his staff can answer those questions proudly and confidently.
That walk-the-talk learning and practice is part of the Quattro Farms mission and vision statements:
Vision: To provide locally sourced and responsibly farmed food.
Mission: To deliver patrons and customers of Quattro Vinotecca, and Quattro Hotel and Conference Centre with locally sourced and sustainably farmed quality food products that are non-GMO, free from chemicals, antibiotics, hormones, or bi-products.
The feedback from customers has been overwhelmingly positive. With all of this support, he has seen a steadily increasing and high rate of returning patrons.
It’s been a big undertaking to get Quattro Farms up and running, but with knowledgeable and dedicated farmers taking the lead, it’s been highly successful and satisfying. Next on the list of sourcing food locally is the addition of vegetable and fruit crops to the menu from Quattro Farms. That is something Chef Paul says is definitely in the works and that we’ll see very shortly.
Recently, I had the pleasure of dining at Quattro Vinotecca for the first time. I made sure I ordered from the “Quattro Farms” portion of the menu. What an absolute treat! Everything was so delicious. I, along with my dinner companions, are looking forward to our return.
Their wine list and building wine cellar is outstanding and boasts more than 75 types of reds and 25 white wines, with some labels found exclusively at Quattro. Sault Ste. Marie residents, along with visitors, truly have a top quality fine dining experience in their backyard.
Tourists and local dining customers can book a reservation at Quattro Vinotecca by calling (705) 541-0311, or by going to their Facebook page and sending a private message.