Samantha Medeiros

Born and raised in the multicultural city of Toronto, I knew the moment I graduated from Culinary School, I wanted to learn about different cuisines. From helping open a bistro in Grignan, France, to moving to Hong Kong, where I became a Tournant for a Restaurant Group. I worked in Vietnamese, Cantonese, Italian, and Indian restaurants. From there, I traveled across 29 cities throughout Asia and Europe, before I returned to Toronto and became a Sous-Chef at age 23. I recently won first place in the Chef Collective Culinary Competition in Toronto and KML’s Top-30-Under-30 for Food Service and Hospitality. By the end of 2022, I moved to Melbourne, Australia, seeking a better work-life balance and exploring new avenues of inspiration.

When it comes to food, I aim to highlight the simplicity of ingredients through exciting techniques. Without a story to share, the dishes we create can feel like a bunch of ingredients on the plate. I share my personal experiences and travel memories through my food.

Early in my career, I overcame moments when my gender acted as a barrier to pursuing my passion. I faced discrimination from chefs, including comments like ‘You’re the only girl chef I’ve never made cry’ and experiencing sexist slaps on the bum. These challenges fueled my determination to advance and assume a management role, where I am dedicated to fostering an inclusive, welcoming, and safe environment for my team, regardless of gender, background, appearance, religion, or sexual preference.

I hope to see the industry shift away from the reliance on tipping. Tipping has long been a controversial issue. I wish restaurant owners would stop leaving it in guests’ hands and pay their staff a livable wage, recognizing the many skills and responsibilities involved in the culinary profession.

What is your favorite street food?


Which restaurant or food stand do you recommend? (Different from yours) (Add its Instagram handle if possible)

One of my favourite restaurants I’ve discovered in the city is Embla in Melbourne. Great food and service, and always consistent – which is key! @embla_melbourne

What is your guilty pleasure?

I have the biggest sweet tooth, and will always always always end every meal with a dessert.

What ingredient do you find overrated?

Caviar. It doesn’t need to go on everything

What ingredient do you think is underrated?

Lemons. Despite not being super unique or interesting – it will forever be my favourite ingredients and I’m constantly finding new ways to utilize it in my food.

What is your favorite kitchen tool?

My taco press

What is your worst kitchen nightmare?

Emptying a deep-fryer on the ground while the oil is still hot. Or of course, any sort of slicer accident.

Is there someone you would like to nominate for an interview? (Add Instagram handle)

Farzam Fallah. He’s my partner and has also moved to Melbourne with me. He’s been in the industry for over 15 years, and is an incredibly creative and talented pastry chef and bartender.