Alumni Feature: Beja Cassiano | SCS Class of 2012

December 2, 2019

“I grew up in a household full of good food, a love for travel and great books. I knew from a young age that I wanted to work with some facet of food. Through my time at SCS I developed a strong culinary repertoire and a curiosity for international cuisine. My career has allowed me to travel the world learning from chefs, street and market vendors, and I’ve made friends along the way. I’ve always enjoyed the continued learning that comes with being a chef, so deciding to transition to the world of culinary teaching is an exciting next step in my career.”

Beja is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Education at Queen’s University!












What is your favourite restaurant?

Wok In, Kingston ON

What is your favourite cookbook?

Pimentos and Piri Piri

What is your guilty pleasure food?

Ketchup Chips! So good!

What food did you think was over-rated until you tried it?

Fois Gras. I remember thinking there is no way an ingredient can be that versatile, decadent and satisfying, but it is! I still get excited every time I get to work with it.

Favourite knife or kitchen tool?

I won a hand made Japanese knife in Calgary some years ago. My Gyuto by Fujiwara Maboroshi is an absolute dream to work with.

What restaurant dish seemed the most intimidating, but is actually really easy to make?

The perfect bowl of Ramen always seemed intimidating to me. It is so satisfying, full of depth and tradition. I wouldn’t say Ramen is easy to make, but I have had a ton of fun playing with flavours while introducing local ingredients into the traditional recipes.

Favourite ingredient you can’t get enough of right now?

I have been obsessed with Kaffir Lime Leaves for years. Their aroma, flavour profile and complexity are captivating to me. Kaffir can be used for both savoury and sweet applications and present different personalities in either role.

What is a new technique/flavour you are experimenting with currently?

In recent years I have been incorporating expended commodities into my baking. Collaborating with breweries and utilizing their spent grain in preferments has been an incredibly interesting experience.

Are there any recipes from SCS you still use?

I absolutely still use recipes from SCS. All of the bread recipes I have developed are adaptations from recipes I learned there.

What is your best SCS memory?

In first year we had a guest chef from Italy [ed: Michelin-star chef Ricardo Camanini] that changed forever how I cook and greatly influenced how I now approach teaching culinary techniques. He talked to me about how a dish should be interactive, beautiful and approachable. He then demonstrated how all of this could be achieved by simply grating a lemon over top of risotto. This little finishing touch, attention to detail and the affect it had on my enjoyment of the finished dish forever changed how I approach a plate.

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