Story and Video By Dave Koski
Photos By Dave Koski and Terry Crompton
With a self-described “Hell’s Kitchen-esque” introduction to the world of fine dining, Giorg Ristorante’s Terry Crompton began his career as a pot washer in the kitchen of the Airlane Hotel more than 20 years ago. He gives credit to the strict training he received there for showing him the proper discipline of a professional kitchen. “I’ve always enjoyed cooking. You get to work inside, you never go hungry, and you get to work with a lot of pretty women,” he says.
From the Airlane, Crompton went to work at Giorg Ristorante for seven years, beginning in 1991, then going on to teach at Confederation College, and act as food and beverage manager for various local golf courses and banquet facilities. Through all these other employers, however, Crompton maintained a connection to Giorg Ristorante and now conducts all of Giorg’s Monday cooking classes and helps consult to develop the menu. “We use our daily specials to try out new dishes, and anything that catches on is brought in as a regular menu item,” he says.
Crompton’s self-proclaimed signature dish is osso bucco (cross-cut veal shanks), although he also counts duck and fresh pasta as a long-time favourites as well. His cooking style is the same whether cooking for customers or cooking for his family. “My children’s teachers have often commented on the quality of the lunches I send them to school with,” he says. Crompton’s philosophy to cooking is fairly straightforward—”fresh is best!”—and makes a daily trip to Maltese Grocery and other local suppliers to hand-pick the fresh ingredients for that day instead of buying food by the case-lot.
2013 marks Giorg Ristorante’s 25th year being one of Thunder Bay’s stars of fine dining.