BEYOND OTR : Julian Bentivegna

Outfit:  Frame Denim Shirt, Rag & Bone Jeans, T-Shirt


Ten seats, ten courses, ten restaurant. Catch the concept? Head to Ten and you’ll discover a charmingly discreet fine-dining restaurant located at College and Dufferin. In the kitchen, and behind the chef’s counter, you’ll find chef Julian Bentivegna and team delicately plating ten beautiful courses of ‘vegetable-forward’ cuisine. As the name ‘vegetable-forward’ suggests, Julian’s goal is to put vegetables first when building a dish to showcase their true potential and versatility. This young chef has done exactly that and his efforts have been recognized by Michelin Guide Toronto in both 2023 and 2022, Toronto Life’s Best New Restaurants in 2020, and Air Canada enRoute’s Best New Restaurants in 2019. 
We got to spend the day with Julian to chat and learn more about his journey, craft, and of course - his style. Julian also created an Over the Rainbow Gift Guide - Julian’s Picks - to help you prepare for this holiday season! 


Shop his outfit: Frame Varsity Jacket, Patrick Assaraf SweaterHiroshi Kato Jeans


Toronto-born, Calgary-raised. What other stops have you made on your way to ten restaurant? 


I grew up in Calgary and started cooking professionally at the age of 15 while in high school. After graduating, I decided to go to culinary school. During that time I realized that, not only was this something I wanted to do with my life, it was also something I seemed to have a knack for. Once I got my Red Seal and graduated from culinary school, I had the opportunity to work/live in France. Throughout that period I worked in a small town in the south of France, Lyon, and Paris. After returning home, I learned about Grace, a three-Michelin-star restaurant based in Chicago. I really connected with Curtis Duffy’s food and wanted to learn from him. I made the move to Chicago and was lucky enough to get a chef de partie position there. It was at Grace that I really started viewing vegetables in a different light and recognizing their versatility. After my visa expired, I came back to Toronto, started with Alo, and instantly fell back in love with the city. In my spare time, I hosted pop-ups around the city which slowly transformed into the concept and restaurant, Ten. 


Shop his outfit: Frame Varsity Jacket, Rag & Bone SweaterHiroshi Kato Jeans


You’ve worked back-of-house in many capacities throughout your career. Dishwasher, line cook, chef de partie, sous-chef, chef and owner. It’s safe to assume that throughout that journey, you’ve experienced some challenges and learned from them. What’s something you’ve learned and continue to practice at ten? 


Work-life balance is paramount. At one point, I was working 12-14 hour shifts, 40 days straight. Like many, I’ve gone through the cycle of burnout. Once you experience that, you don’t want to put others through that environment (or go through it again). At ten, we decided to open with a four-day work week / three-day weekend. I wanted to create a restaurant that provided comfort to the team, but also could be used as a model for other restaurants to follow suit. 


Shop his outfit: Armor Lux Jacket, Hiroshi Kato Hammer Jeans


As a twenty-something chef, you’ve got a lot to be proud of - Michelin Guide, Toronto Life, Air Canada enRoute. What is something you’re proud of outside of cooking? 


During the pandemic, all of our day-to-day operations shut down at ten. Alongside my friend Jalil Bokhari, who also works in the industry, we created a mutual aid initiative called Community Fridges Toronto (CFTO). This network of community fridges, the first one being right outside ten, was created to support the growing food insecurity problem in Toronto. While being just a bandaid solution, I am very proud of what it’s grown into and the good that it’s done within the community. 



The menu at ten restaurant is constantly evolving based on seasonality and the creative forces behind it. We are curious to know if you have a favourite dish to serve. 


With an ever-changing menu, it’s tough to figure out a dish that you can serve year-round. My favourite dish is our maitake mushroom dish as I feel it’s a great reflection of what we can do here at ten. The maitakes are cultivated in London, Ontario and we prepare them by gently cooking them in seaweed oil for 8 minutes and finishing them on top of our applewood grill. As they cook on the grill, we continuously glaze them with a reduction of a mushroom stalk, malt vinegar and soy. We serve them on a sauce made from celery root and burnt lemon. This has slowly become our signature dish due to the fact these mushrooms are available year-round and because it’s simply delicious. 


 Free and Easy Hat

What one fashion item can you not live without?


A baseball cap. 


 Far Afield Jacket, Rails Shirt



As a chef, we assume 99% of the time you’re in chef whites. Outside of the kitchen, where can we find you and what are you wearing? 


After service, you can usually find me grabbing a beer at Black Dice Cafe or scarfing down tacos at Piñata Tacos. With clothing, I typically go for comfort - something I can throw over a white t-shirt and jeans. I get cold easily so tend to use layering in a lot of my fashion choices. 


Rag & Bone Jeans


To help make holiday shopping easier, you’ve put together an Over the Rainbow holiday gift guide. Can you speak to a few of the pieces in your gift guide


That was a lot of fun! Everything I’ve chosen is a great gift for the chefs (or chefs-at-heart) in your life. For example, the Salt and Seat candle by Sweet Water Decor has the perfect aroma for those who can’t live without salt. 


The Rain’s Hilo Weekend Bag is the perfect addition to any last-minute trip. Travel and food go hand-in-hand. 


When I step outside of my clogs after a long shift and before I login to my favourite video game (World of Warcraft), I throw on a pair of comfy North Face Base Camp Slides.



 Shop Julian's Gift Guide Here!


Photography: Noah Davis
Producer: Brenna Gray
Hair and Makeup: Tenzin Palkyi
Stylist: Axl Dominic Castro