Toronto Life Insider Chef's Pantry curated by Rob Gentile

The Toronto Life Insider Chef’s Pantry

The Toronto Life Insider Chef’s Pantry features recipes and ingredients curated by Toronto Life's Chef-In-Residence. Every month will feature curation by a different marquee chef in the City of Toronto. We hope you enjoy it.

This month's theme is Late HarvestFrom intimate picnics to BBQ celebrations, the Toronto Life Insider Chef's Pantry has you covered.

Toronto Life Chef-In-Residence

Chef Rob Gentile
Twitter: @ChefRobGentile
Instagram: @rob_gentile

A first generation Canadian, born to Italian parents, Chef Rob Gentile’s earliest memories are from his grandmother’s garden and kitchen.  Combining those skills learned at home and a passion for food, Rob took his first restaurant job at the age of 13.  He inherently knew his career would revolve around food and after working in restaurants throughout his teenage years entered George Brown’s Culinary School.  By 18 he found his first role in a professional kitchen at North 44, under celebrated Chef Mark McEwan.  After just 10 years, he advanced from line cook to Chef de Cuisine at McEwan’s top restaurants and joined Peter Tsebelis and Gus Giazitzidis at The King Street Food Company to take the helm at Buca. Opened in 2009, Buca quickly became one of “Canada’s Best" and a highly sought-after dining destination.

Rob Gentile, now Chef and Partner of Buca Restaurants, has earned critical acclaim for his disciplined craft, determination to source unique, local ingredients and visionary approach to Italian cuisine. Since Buca’s opening, diners and critics alike have taking note of Rob Gentile’s culinary direction and creativity, resulting in Canada’s 100 Best naming Buca Osteria & Bar (Yorkville) second in the country (2016), honours from the Ontario Hostelry Institute’s Gold Award for Independent Restaurateur (2015) and a prestigious Pinnacle Award from Foodservice and Hospitality naming The King Street Food Company 2014’s Company of the Year in Eastern Canada. The Buca collection has grown to four locations across Toronto, each with a unique offering and atmosphere, with a fifth Buca concept Cucina Buca, set to open in 2020.

Chef Rob’s September / Late Harvest Ingredients:

  • Tomahawk Ribeye
    I BBQ all year around but for the fall season, my go to dish is a really beautiful Tomahawk Ribeye, just season with salt and pepper and grill to medium rare - my preferred colour of choice for ribeye. In a ribeye steak you have more connective tissue and fat than other cuts which lends itself to a further caramelization.
  • Shishito Peppers
    September is pepper season and my favourite pepper to cook at home are shishito peppers. I lightly sauté them with olive oil, finish with sea salt and eat them whole.  They’re so delicious I can eat a whole bowl in no time.
  • Locally-Grown Hot Chilli Peppers
    These peppers are available for such a short time during the late harvest season and I take advantage of it as much as I can. Chop them fresh and add to any recipe for an extra, delicious kick.
  • Vine-Ripened Local Tomatoes
    September/early October marks the end of local outdoor grown tomato season and that time of year is always special to me.  It’s a yearly ritual for me to take the last remaining tomatoes from my garden, cook them into a sauce and have a nice bowl of pasta.  There is no better dish that a simple pasta made with late-harvest tomatoes from the garden, this is an ingredient that’s really sacred to me so I always make sure to appreciate those last homegrown tomatoes of the year.

Exclusive Recipes

Red Curry Pork / Gaeng Phed Moo

Buca’s Pizza Burrata   

Since late harvest is tomato season and fresh basil is still available from the garden, September is a great time to make Pizza Burrata at home with the family and a perfect late summer / early fall pizza.  You can make the dough fresh or buy it at the store, make a simple tomato sauce or passata using diced fresh tomatoes or purchase a jar.

Below is everything you need to buy to make Pizza Burrata from scratch, we also have our Buca Pizza Burrata Kit available for purchase on, our kit comes with all of the ingredients we use at the restaurants as well as fresh dough and instructions by our team of chefs.   Please note that you do need a pizza tray or stone at home to make this dish.

Ingredients to make Buca’s Fresh Pizza Dough:

• Bread Flour  • Sea Salt  • Milk
• Olive Oil  • Instant Yeast  • Water

Pizza Burrata Toppings:

Fresh Basil Leaves
Crushed Tomatoes / Passata (made from fresh tomatoes or store bought)
Burrata cheese
(dough recipe + pizza recipe included below)

BUCA – Pizza Dough Recipe & Instructions:
(To yield 4 doughs at 195gr each)

  • Bread Flour - 450gr
  • Sea Salt - 10gr (1 ¼ tsp)
  • Instant Yeast - 1gr (1/4 tsp)
  • Olive Oil - 15gr (1 tbsp)
  • Milk - 60gr
  • Water - 280gr
  1. In a mixing bowl add milk & water. Then mix in flour & yeast until combined. Note: if using dry active yeast, follow directions on the package and proof in a small amount of warm water from the recipe amount.
  2. Start mixer on speed 1 and allow to come together slowly. Once dough begins to form, then mix in olive oil and sea salt, mix for 2-5 min longer or until dough has reformed has fully absorbed the olive oil.
  3. Turn mixer to speed 2 and mix until dough comes away from the bowl completely. Approximately 5 more minutes.
  4. Total mixing time 12-15min
  5. lightly flour dough inside bowl while on speed one, this will coat the inside of the bowl and help to remove the dough easily.
  6. Place dough in a lightly olive oiled bowl, lightly oil surface of dough as well and cover the bowl with cling film.
  7. Allow to rise at room temperature until dough has doubled in size, approximately 6-12hrs depending on ambient temperature.
  8. Remove dough from bowl and portion into 4 equal weights (approximately 190g each) and place on a lightly oiled tray or individual containers.
  9. Allow to rise a second time at room temperature until doubles again approximately 2-4hrs and use on the day of or refrigerate for up to 24hrs. If refrigerating, remove 1 hour prior to use.


BUCA – Pizza Burrata Recipe & Instructions:

What you’ll need at home:
• An oven
• Pizza stone or sheet tray
• Oil for sheet pan method

Ingredients for Pizza:
• Tomato passata (made with fresh tomatoes or store bought)
• Burrata cheese (enough for 4 – 6 large tablespoon dollops per pizza, or to your preference)
• Extra virgin olive oil
• Fresh basil leaves (approx. 6 leaves to finish on each pizza, or to your liking)
• Fresh pizza dough (homemade or store bought)

Cooking Method:
Pre heat oven to 500* or the highest setting - if you are using a pizza stone add stone to oven while preheating.
# Stone Method
Turn dough onto a heavily flour-dusted tray or wooden cutting board. Stretch dough as evenly as possible (leaving no thin spots) with your fingertips to achieve a 12” round circle with consistant thickness but slightly higher edges for crust development. Remove dough from flour and place dough on the back of another lightly flour dusted tray or pizza paddle. Top with tomato sauce & olive oil. Once ready to cook, the pizza must be carefully transferred from your tray or pizza paddle onto the stone in one quick move. Stone will be hot and pizza will puff up right away. Cook pizza until golden brown, remove from the oven and finish with burrata and fresh basil leaves.
# Tray Method
Turn dough out onto an oiled pizza tray. Stretch dough as evenly as possible (with no thin spots) with your fingertips to achieve a 12” round circle with consistent thickness but slightly higher edges for crust development. Top with tomato sauce & olive oil. Bake pizza in the oven until golden brown, remove from the oven and finish with burrata and fresh basil leaves.


To learn how to cook these amazing recipes, please join TL Insider for Serving Knowledge Virtual Supper Club featuring Rob on September 23rd at 5:30pm. To sign-up simply provide your email and we'll send you the event details.



Looking for more items? Then explore Door2Door Fresh for more fresh meats and produce selections.