A Creative Dining Experience with Chopped Champion Keith Pears at the SOCO Kitchen + Bar in Toronto

A Creative Dining Experience with Chopped Champion Keith Pears at the SOCO Kitchen + Bar in Toronto

I just got back from the most memorable trip to Toronto, Canada, thanks in large part to Chef Keith Pears and the staff at the SOCO Kitchen + Bar. It’s not often that you find yourself floored by the downstairs offerings of a hotel restaurant, but SOCO Kitchen + Bar is definitely the exception.

I was hosted for lunch with my parents while visiting Toronto and had the chance to meet Executive Chef Keith Pears. As the champion of Season 3 of Chopped Canada, Chef Keith is used to impromptu cooking challenges and last-minute tweaks. Unbeknownst to me, he was taking mental notes while we were talking, on everything from my distaste for raw fish to fondness for fresh basil. Armed with that knowledge, he then proceeded to go into the kitchen (despite having a staff of 70+ to do the cooking for him) and whip up dish after dish for me and my family.

I wish I could adequately describe the look on my parents’ faces as Chef Keith brought out one culinary masterpiece after another, taking the time to personally explain all the ingredients and cooking techniques. It was like we were judges on our own cooking show, and each dish was better than the last.

Chef Keith made our final day in Toronto one I will never forget, and I’m so grateful to the Delta Hotel for their generosity. Here’s what you need to know if you want to visit the SOCO Kitchen + Bar and catch a glimpse of Chef Keith at work!

Where is the Delta Hotel Toronto?

The SOCO Kitchen + Bar in the Delta Hotel Toronto is run by Chopped Canada Champion, Chef Keith Pears. If you're looking for a great place to eat in Toronto, make sure to stop by SOCO Kitchen and Bar and say hello to Chef Keith. Find out all the best things to eat. Save this to your travel board for a future visit to Canada.

The Delta Hotel is centrally located in downtown Toronto, right across from the Rogers Centre. It is the perfect home base for exploring the city and is only minutes from attractions like the CN Tower and Distillery District. Guests who are in town for a Toronto Blue Jays game can stop by the hotel either before or after the game to grab a quick bite or get a drink at the whiskey bar.

Finding accommodation in downtown Toronto can be costly, even with a favorable exchange rate, so it’s recommended that you book early, especially if traveling during peak season.

About Chef Keith Pears

Chef Keith Pears SOCO Kitchen and Bar

It’s hard not be a prodigy chef when your parents and grandparents are all chefs. Keith started working in a restaurant as a dishwasher when he was 14, but he fell in love with food long before that. He’s a sucker for his grandmother’s noodles and believes a good hamburger is all about the bun. This is a man that knows his food. It’s no wonder he was chosen to head up the SOCO Kitchen + Bar, in a hotel with more than twice the capacity of his last post.

Chef Keith Pears is only 35, but he oversees every aspect of dining, from the pastry chefs to the banquet chefs. He often works 12-hour days and is involved in all aspects of the menu, from design to execution. In his spare time, he speaks publically around the community and inspires young chefs to dream big. It’s a combination of his talent and work ethic that has gained Keith the respect of more senior chefs, and the eyes of a nation.

SOCO Kitchen + Bar

The SOCO Kitchen + Bar in the Delta Hotel Toronto is run by Chopped Canada Champion, Chef Keith Pears. If you're looking for a great place to eat in Toronto, make sure to stop by SOCO Kitchen and Bar and say hello to Chef Keith. Find out all the best things to eat. Save this to your travel board for a future visit to Canada.

SOCO Kitchen + Bar aims to be affordable, unpretentious and a little bit different. Chef Keith takes pride in using the finest ingredients, and just came back from a National Restaurant Association Conference in Chicago where he was scoping out new tools and innovative cooking methods. The pastas and breads are all made in-house, and the rotisserie chicken is slow-cooked daily.

Chef Keith has been at the SOCO Kitchen + Bar since April, and big changes are already underway. The Delta Hotel will be renovating their whiskey bar in the coming months, and Chef Keith is constantly supplementing the menu with specialty dishes and offerings.

Specialty Dishes

The SOCO Kitchen + Bar in the Delta Hotel Toronto is run by Chopped Canada Champion, Chef Keith Pears. If you're looking for a great place to eat in Toronto, make sure to stop by SOCO Kitchen and Bar and say hello to Chef Keith. Find out all the best things to eat. Save this to your travel board for a future visit to Canada.

I was in Toronto for Caribana weekend, a Caribbean celebration with parades and carnival costumes. Toronto has a surprisingly rich Caribbean community, and the event draws more than 2 million visitors to the city every year.

To join in on the party, SOCO Kitchen + Bar offered a twist on the classic chicken and waffles. Their chicken was jerk marinated, double fried and served with cornmeal waffles (pictured above). Dishes will vary depending on the season or special event, so it’s always worth stopping by if you’re in town to see what’s new. 

Know Before You Go

The SOCO Kitchen + Bar in the Delta Hotel Toronto is run by Chopped Canada Champion, Chef Keith Pears. If you're looking for a great place to eat in Toronto, make sure to stop by SOCO Kitchen and Bar and say hello to Chef Keith. Find out all the best things to eat. Save this to your travel board for a future visit to Canada.

The Delta Hotel has self-parking available in an attached lot. There’s also a valet parking option. You can opt to dine on the patio if the weather is nice. The restaurant is open as late as 2am on Fridays and Saturdays and serves everything from brunch to grab & go sandwiches.

Walk-ins are welcome, but you can make a reservation to make sure you’re seated quickly during peak hours. If you see Chef Keith, tell him I said hi!

Till next time, safe travels.

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*The Delta Hotel graciously hosted us for our meal. All opinions are my own.

The SOCO Kitchen and Bar in the Delta Hotel Toronto is run by Chopped Canada Champion, Chef Keith Pears. If you're looking for a great place to eat in Toronto, make sure to stop by SOCO Kitchen and Bar and say hello to Chef Keith. Find out all the best things to eat. Save this to your travel board for a future visit to Canada.
The SOCO Kitchen + Bar in the Delta Hotel Toronto is run by Chopped Canada Champion, Chef Keith Pears. If you're looking for a great place to eat in Toronto, make sure to stop by SOCO Kitchen and Bar and say hello to Chef Keith. Find out all the best things to eat. Save this to your travel board for a future visit to Canada.
The SOCO Kitchen + Bar in the Delta Hotel Toronto is run by Chopped Canada Champion, Chef Keith Pears. If you're looking for a great place to eat in Toronto, make sure to stop by SOCO Kitchen and Bar and say hello to Chef Keith. Find out all the best things to eat. Save this to your travel board for a future visit to Canada.

 

16 Comments

  1. Megha Ray
    August 15, 2017 / 2:51 pm

    Brilliant article Jen! Thanks for this…Megha

  2. August 15, 2017 / 7:20 pm

    Wow, that food looks so delicious. And to have it personally prepared by the head chef like that. I amvsurevit was a memorable experience

  3. August 15, 2017 / 11:55 pm

    Oh my gosh. This food looks INCREDIBLE! I have to do some kind of food tour of Toronto. The All-Eclair bakery and now this?? I need to visit Toronto sooner than later. I have a friend there I’ve been meaning to visit… I’m taking these posts as signs to get in touch. 🙂

    • August 17, 2017 / 1:48 am

      Tell me about it! I feel like all I did in Toronto was eat haha 🙂

  4. August 16, 2017 / 3:08 am

    Being foodie I only can say – this is yum

  5. August 16, 2017 / 2:35 pm

    OKAY GIMME that pizza! Actually all of it looks amazing! I’ve got to add it to my list when i visit again!!

  6. August 17, 2017 / 11:46 am

    Jenn, I’m so impressed with SOCO Kitchen and bar! I generally avoid eating in hotels (other than breakfast), because frankly, most of the time the restaurants just aren’t that interesting — they’re just okay. Obviously, so NOT the case at the Delta Hotel. Thank you for introducing us to Chef Pears. His food looks amazing!

  7. Ivy
    August 18, 2017 / 9:38 pm

    I loved watching Chopped!!! That’s so cool that you got to dine at SOCI and meet the chef. That chicken and waffles looks finger livkin good. And WHAT! What do you mean you dont pike raw fish 😛

  8. August 19, 2017 / 1:54 am

    Jerk chicken waffle looks really good. I love home made pasta too. Back in my younger days, when carbs were my friend, I could make homemade pasta from flour and eggs faster than I could boil a box of store bought pasta. The flavors and particularly the texture is what sets apart the fresh pasta. I guess I could still probably make pasta that fast, but I couldn’t do it every night.

    Chef Keith sounds like a really cool guy. I love hearing about the dishes from the chef himself.

  9. Julianne
    August 20, 2017 / 6:25 pm

    WOW, that’s incredible that Chef Keith personally cooked for you guys! How cool is that? I’m seriously salivating just looking at these pictures. We’re planning a trip to Toronto again next year, so will definitely have to add this spot to the list. Jerk chicken and waffles… mmm… I think I’m going to eat lunch now. 🙂

  10. August 21, 2017 / 3:22 am

    The chicken waffle looks delicious! I usually don’t eat at hotel restaurants, but seems like I’m missing out! I will need to make a trip to SOCO next time when I visit Toronto!

  11. August 21, 2017 / 1:47 pm

    You’re making me hungry! Love the look of the chicken and waffle!

  12. August 21, 2017 / 8:03 pm

    Yes! Definitely the experiences I like to have. I always geek out on very creative chefs, they are definitely the celebrities of my world!

  13. August 22, 2017 / 6:08 pm

    Wow this sounds amazing! My mouth is literally watering. I would love to try the chicken and waffles. Love that Chef Keith puts so much time and care into his dishes and customers. What an amazing restaurant!

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