Rob Gentile on Cooking, Gifting, and Fatherhood
Being one of Toronto’s most popular chefs certainly keeps Rob Gentile busy, but a focus on work-life balance keeps him grounded as a professional and a father.
We asked the Executive Chef of Buca restaurants a few questions about food, gifts, and being a Dad.
Why did you want to become a chef?
As far back as I can remember I’ve loved food and everything about it. After school I would watch cooking shows instead of cartoons and help my grandmother in the kitchen and garden. Needless to say, it was my calling, I knew at a very young age that my life revolved around food, it’s what inspired me the most and I wanted a career in it.
Who in your family taught you to cook?
I was always in the kitchen with my grandmother, my mom and aunts preparing meals, so they are the ones that taught me everything and sparked the passion.
Do you do all the cooking in your family?
I cook as much as I can when I’m at home but during the week it’s not always possible because of work so my wife and I tend to split the cooking 50/50. On my days off though, I do all of the cooking.
What is the best gift you have ever given?
My wife’s engagement ring.
What is the best gift you have ever received?
I love experiences. My wife recently got me a racing package for the track and I’m a huge fan of cars. We’re going to spend the weekend in Niagara and I’ll have my first crack at Nascar racing, I can’t tell you how excited I am.
Do you want your child to grow up to be a chef?
I believe that you should choose a career in whatever you are most passionate about and for my daughter if that means becoming a chef then that’s amazing. Either way, whatever she chooses I’m going to support her so long as it makes her happy.
What is the best thing about being a dad?
I mean everything is the best. There’s always something new and exciting about being a dad. I love watching her navigate life, discover and experience things in her own little way. The first time she spoke to me stands out as one of the most incredible moments I’ve ever had on this earth.
How do you balance work and family?
The key word is balance and it’s necessary. You need to prioritize both and make sure you aren’t neglecting either. It’s important for me to focus on my craft and my career as a chef but it’s also a priority to make sure I’m present at home with my family. I just make it work, it’s non-negotiable for me.
What is your favourite thing you cook for your child?
She’s absolutely obsessed with broth and pasta, and of course I love making her food that she’s excited about. So soup and pasta is on the menu at my house regularly these days.
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