Executive Chef Lynn Crawford has always dreamed of returning home to Four Seasons Hotel Toronto. This Canadian born chef is currently the only female Executive Chef at Four Seasons worldwide. Chef Crawford has made an indelible impression throughout the company, as well as establishing a tremendous presence in Canada’s largest city, Toronto.
“I have always loved the arts,” says Chef Crawford, and that is where it all began. In university when studying fine arts, she would travel to the farmers’ market and pick the fresh Ontario products to prepare dinners for her friends. “There was always something about going to the market and seeing fresh organic products and then creating a meal from these incredible foods,” says Crawford, “Fall in Canada is where the bounty of products grow.” Her friends encouraged her to follow her passion in the world of cuisine.
Crawford moved to Toronto and applied to George Brown College’s acclaimed culinary program. During her studies, she explored Toronto’s finest restaurants, working with and receiving classical training from the city’s premier chefs, and experiencing the culinary diversity of Toronto had to offer.
Upon graduation, Crawford spread her wings and traveled throughout California. While female chefs were still an anomaly, Crawford added to her culinary knowledge by voraciously consuming culinary books and working with strong female chef role models. Working with Alice Waters in San Francisco had a great influence on Crawford, who taught her to learn by doing, seeing and tasting. Barbara Tropp was another chef that impacted Crawford’s career, and they spent many hours discussing the art of food.
Crawford soon discovered Four Seasons, a company that produces the best of the best. She began her career with Four Seasons in Montreal and carried on to properties in Nevis, Vancouver and Toronto, where she became the Studio Cafe Sous Chef just over 12 years ago.
Crawford transferred with the company to New York, where she held a high-profile position as Executive Sous Chef at Four Seasons Hotel New York. In 2002, Crawford was promoted to Executive Chef at Four Seasons Hotel Toronto. With New York’s diverse culinary scene under her hat and inspired by international travel and dining experiences, Crawford thrives on spontaneous creativity in the kitchen. “The art of layering flavours in fresh, regional ingredients highlights the quality of contemporary Canadian cuisine,” says Crawford, “And this standard in quality is recognised in Four Seasons hotels and resorts worldwide.”
Over the past 17 years, Crawford has received critical acclaim from major food media. She is a board member of Women’s Chefs and Restaurateurs, George Brown Culinary Advisory Committee and Humber College Culinary Board of Directors. Crawford has recently brought her culinary expertise to bear as guest chef on The Food Network’s Restaurant Makeover, an entertaining and fast-paced look at how local eateries can be transformed into restaurants that matter, setting the path for their future success.
Crawford has very simple beliefs and philosophies on food. “I have always thought of food as an expression of art,” she says. “I feel so lucky to have the opportunity to fuel my passion every day. I express myself best by using beautiful products. I want to leave an impression, create a memory, and nothing matters more to me than a beautiful dish. I adore food!”