World Chefs: Guy Rubino gets lost and found in translation

Tue Oct 6, 2009 6:13am EDT
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By Claire Sibonney

TORONTO (Reuters Life!) - How did Canadian celebrity chef Guy Rubino reinvent himself in the middle of a recession?

With three restaurants and an international television series behind him, Rubino has joined the ranks of high-end chefs doing more approachable food by overhauling the avant-garde space and menu of his pan-Asian restaurant Rain and reopening under a new name.

At Ame, which launched in September and translates as rain in Japanese, Rubino is retiring his famous three-way plating (one main ingredient served in three applications) in favor of his personal take on authentic Japanese fare -- at prices more affordable to diners.

He's been described by critics as a culinary wizard but among Rubino's latest gadgets is an ancient robata grill that uses oak-based binchotan coals imported from Japan to make traditional delicacies such as sea bream and wagyu beef.

Rubino spoke to Reuters about his new concept and working under the spotlight.

Q: Was the plan to make Ame more approachable than Rain?

A: "We were known for doing our tasting menus that would go on for two and a half, three hours. I didn't want to lose that side of the business but I wanted to open up another side of the business where it was more democratic, as you said. The price points vary considerably, so coming to Ame now, you're not committed to spend a lot of money."

Q: What has been the reaction?   Continued...

<p>Chef Guy Rubino poses in the newly opened Ame Restaurant in Toronto September 25, 2009. REUTERS/ Mike Cassese</p>