EMC Heritage – Lifestyle
Atomica Pizza and Wine Bar located at 71 Brock Street, Downtown Kingston draws inspiration from the American Italian classics. For over ten years, this trendy pizzeria has charmed with delicious food, and for three of them Chef Grace has been at the oven. Awarded the 2014 Trip Advisor Excellence Award this is a not to be missed dining experience.
Atomica is one of four sister restaurants owned by Tim Pater, including: Le Chien Noir, Harper’s Burger Bar and Diane’s Fish Bar. Grace worked with Chef Derek McGregor, of Le Chien Noir for a year, before taking over as Chef of Atomica.
“I didn’t know much about local food, and it’s importance until I trained with Derek,” says Grace. “In fact, I learned more from cooking alongside Derek than I ever did at culinary school.”
Grace grew up in a large Lebanese family in Sydney, Cape Breton. She graduated Nova Scotia Culinary College in 2005, and began working at Pines Resort in Digby. After a short stint in Halifax, she moved west to Jasper, Alberta with a culinary school friend. During the four years, she met her husband, Terry and worked at the Sawridge Hotel as a pastry chef, line cook and acting sous chef.
Atomica is her first restaurant where she has had the chance to operate things on her own.
“In the beginning, I would stop and ask myself, ‘Would Derek do this?’ Derek and Tim were really great, and helpful with ideas, by the third menu, I got the hang of things.”
For under $25, the Spring/Summer menu features fresh seasonal food such as; salmon arancini cakes dappled with snap pea, mint, baby kale & fresh chile salad, tarragon-lime crema, the prosciutto and melon salad, or daily favorites from the variety of pizzas, fresh pastas, (gluten free options available upon request) and fried olives, finish up with homemade biscotti and fresh pressed Illy coffee.
Try the fried stuffed olives on your next visit. They are made onsite by hand, stuffed with fresh Hanover pork fennel sausages, mixed with cheese, and then literally hand stuffed. They’ve become a signature dish at Atomica.
Although, not even the fried olives or wood fire pizza, aptly named after Chef Grace would satisfy her these days, given her insatiable craving for her grandmother’s lebanese fatayer. You see Grace and her husband are expecting their first baby.
“As a child I remember, making “fatayer” with my grandmother and the other family members. It was one of my earliest experiences with food,” said Grace. “Everyone would be cooking together, it takes almost six hours to make – the grand children would pat down, and flatten the triangles, which would be stuffed with lamb, spinach or beef.”
Family gatherings meant food, dancing and rum drinking. “Often more than 120 people would gather over the weekend to eat,” says Grace. “When my grandmother passed away, the story goes, they found at least six bottles of rum in the cupboard.”
I am lucky, both my parents cook, Friday’s ‘fatayer’ night, which they cook together. I am looking forward to my parents visiting when the baby comes. I am excited to teach our child about cooking.
In Grace’s absence, Chef Andy Kirby whom has also trained with both Chef Grace and Chef Derek for the past three years will be taking over while she is on maternity leave.
“Atomica will not miss a beat,” reassures Chef Grace.
Atomica is the best place for all occasions, whether date night, girl’s night, a quick drink or a place for the whole family. For more information about Atomica visit atomica.ca, follow them on Facebook. Restaurant is open 11:30 a.m. daily, menu changes with each season. Now available Kingston Olive Oil Company products.
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