Jim Loat grew up in Winnipeg, where his first job was in a local restaurant. His love of food and the chaos of the restaurant scene caused a shift from his studies in Engineering at the University of Manitoba to a career in food service.
After attending chef school and an intensive apprenticeship at various restaurants, Jim moved to Ontario where he earned an Honours degree in Hotel and Food Administration at the University of Guelph. Jim continued to work in various restaurants in Guelph and Niagara before taking the role of Executive Chef at Appetizingly Yours Events and Catering, helping to turn that operation to the premiere caterer in the area. His years at AY saw the founding of Taste of Guelph, and his continued involvement with Toronto Taste.
Over the years, Jim has been honoured to serve celebrities, world class musicians, sports stars and past prime ministers. He has also been privileged to work with some of North America’s finest chefs, including Umberto Menghi and Charlie Trotter. He has made appearances in magazines, cookbooks, television and radio.
Jim’s former projects include The Borealis Grille, a restaurant concept featuring local Ontario products almost exclusively on the menus and wine lists, as well as serving as leader of Slow Food Guelph. Slow Food is a non-profit, eco-gastronomic member-supported organization that was founded in 1989 to counteract fast food and fast life, the disappearance of local food traditions and people’s dwindling interest in the food they eat, where it comes from, how it tastes and how our food choices affects the rest of the world. He was also a member of Conestoga College’s Culinary Program Advisory Committee.
Jim is currently pursuing his Sommelier certification through the International Sommelier Guild, and spends much of his free time outdoors with his wife and dogs, foraging for indigenous foods.