A Q&A with Hexagon’s Jordan Wilkinson, TL Insider’s second chef-in-residence for January
TL Insider is thrilled to be launching some brand-new initiatives as part of the membership program, including our new Chef-In-Residence program powered by the city’s most talented food folks. Each month, a different chef will create exclusive programming, including private dinners and workshops. Up first are award-winning chefs Rafael Covarrubias and Jordan Wilkinson from Oakville’s Hexagon. We chatted with sous chef Wilkinson about what he has planned for Insiders.
Where were you cooking before you moved here?
I was working as a chef in the oil industry. I was at a camp that was basically in the middle of nowhere, cooking boring food—roast beef, stews—I was so sick of it and ready to move onto something more interesting.
Was transitioning from basic stews to high-end dishes challenging?
When I got here I didn’t know if I was ready, but I’ve always liked the feeling of being uncomfortable—I know it’s good for me. But there were definitely days where I didn’t know if I could do it. Raf believing in me helped a lot, that’s for sure.
Did you want to move to Ontario?
It had always been a dream of mine to be in Toronto, but I just thought it was impossible to make it in this industry here.
Now that you’re here, what do you think of it?
The city has exceeded my expectations. I love how there’s no shortage of things to do and how Toronto has a small-town feel, even though it’s a big city—I run into people I know everywhere. It reminds me of being back home in Saskatchewan. I didn’t even run into people I knew when I lived in Calgary.
What do you think sets Hexagon apart from other fine-dining restaurants in the GTA?
The kitchen crew is a big part of what makes us different. Most of us have been here since we opened, and that working chemistry means that we’re able to put out a next-level type of food.
What do you think of how the Toronto Life Insiders Program is bringing your customers into the kitchen with you?
It’s good! And for this event we’ll be teaching people how to make some Hexagon-level food, but it’ll be with recipes that are achievable. I feel like sometimes classes attempt to teach people dishes that they’ll never be able to replicate, but we want people to go home cook these dishes for themselves.