Tony Loschiavo, 51, worked his way steadily up through the food-world ranks before founding of one of Toronto’s most respected custom catering firms. The Italian-born businessman got his start as a busboy and founded L-Eat Catering in 1983 as a sandwich-delivery service for downtown hair salons. The hairdressers introduced Loschiavo to their well-heeled clientele, and “I went from making sandwiches to cooking in some of the finest homes in the city,” he says.
Today, L-Eat is the in-house caterer at some of Toronto’s most highly regarded event spaces, including the Carlu, the Royal Ontario Museum, and the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts.
For the Carlu’s 10th anniversary bash last May, L-Eat prepared treats such as avocado ice cream and lobster popcorn. At a March event for Bell, the menu included unusual desserts such as hickory-smoked s’mores. In September 2013, the company unveiled a new division called the Great Gobbler, offering full-service, year-round turkey dinners with 72 hours’ notice.
Loschiavo also owns the Italian restaurant Paese and the grab-and-go café L-Eat Express. In the future, he believes the catering and restaurant worlds will collide. “I picture events with more interactive cooking—where the chefs are part of the entertainment, like an open-kitchen concept in a restaurant.”
He also sees event fare becoming more health-focused. “The new normal will revolve around showcasing your knowledge and genuine concern for the guests’ wellness,” Loschiavo says. And his team is already on its way. Currently, L-Eat uses local, seasonal ingredients whenever possible, composts waste, and has energy-efficient vehicles. It also operates a 3,000-square-foot garden in North York, which grows heirloom tomatoes and hosts small events.