Thomas Sokoloski was born and raised in St. Catharines, as well as Alberta and New York State. When he moved to Paris to continue his arts education, little did he realise that his annual summer retreat to a farm outside of Avignon would have such an impact on how he would understand life and food; every farmer’s philosophy was about terroir and the verb ‘to savour’.
After returning from his studies in France, Thom, like most aspiring artists, worked in a restaurant to keep the cash flowing. What he then learned as a waiter and Maitre d’ at Niagara-on-the-Lake’s Prince of Wales under the tutelage of Toronto’s once great restaurant pioneers David Barette and Nicholas Pearce, was the practice and discipline required to serve the public.
For Thom, the right hand had always been his passion for art and the left his passion for artisanal foods. But it wasn’t until several years ago when he walked into A Taste of Quebec that his left hand found its grip! Thom worked his way from the bottom-up to manager and then ‘fromager’.
During his time at ATOQ, cheese culture took off in Toronto and with it, Thom’s passion for cheese! The farmers and cheese-makers he continues to deal with have influenced him, if not entirely convinced him, that the process of cheese, like the process of art requires a commitment to form and content driven by one simple rule, – the love you give is the love returned.
Each of our cheeses, once under the nose and into the mouth, becomes a sensory poem, a narrative experience wound-up in one moment of sublime experience. As a result, there is nothing more fascinating than watching a friend, colleague or lover close their eyes as the cheese infiltrates their senses, followed by a sudden eye-opening expression that connects with the cheese-maker’s vision!