Savoia Hors D'Oeuvres Inc. is a successful, innovative company based at 247 Bunting Road in St. Catharines, Ont. Under the direction of world-class chef Oscar Turchi, the company produces exquisite hors d'oeuvres for wholesale and retail clients throughout Niagara and the GTA.
Savoia has grown rapidly since its humble beginnings in 2002, when Turchi alone did all the work, from buying supplies to making hors d'oeuvres to delivering them.
Today, staff members include Turchi (whose duties now range from shopping to payroll to new product design) as well as a driver, dishwasher, manager, sous chef and food preparation assistants. Savoia delivers to Toronto six days per week, with most staff arriving for work at 6 a.m. to ensure product freshness for that day's deliveries.
Savoia's business is about 75 per cent wholesale, in Toronto and Niagara; and 25 per cent retail, in Niagara only. During the busy season, between retail and wholesale, Savoia sells an average of 5,000 hors d'oeuvres per week!
The company is ahead of schedule in projected annual revenue and its reputation is spreading rapidly among wineries, restaurants, hotels and banquet halls as well as individuals who entertain. Among top clients is a major European airline that serves Savoia hors d'oeuvres on a complimentary basis to its first-class passengers.
Savoia offers a choice of more than 250 vegetarian, meat- and seafood-based hors d'oeuvres, some of which are featured on the Gallery and Menu pages of this website. Turchi invents new hors d'oeuvres on an ongoing basis, and frequently custom designs exclusive products for wineries, hotels and other clients.
Turchi launched Savoia Hors D'Oeuvres because he saw the business opportunity, having previously, as a chef, bought hors d'oeuvres from other companies. Also, he wanted to be his own boss, allowing him to spend more time with his family.
The little boy who grew up, as food writer Sara Waxman once wrote in the Financial Post, "with the truffles of Alba, the famous wine centers of Asti, Barolo and Barbaresco, the peasant cooking of tiny villages in the Italian Alps, and the finest French-style delicacies in Turin," was now a chef as well as an entrepreneur. He was shaping his own destiny, and the performance of his company since its launch proves that he is equally talented in business, flavor orchestration and food design."
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World-class chef Oscar Turchi is a legend in the making. His reputation as a culinary genius is spreading rapidly throughout Niagara and the GTA.
The owner and operator since 2002 of Savoia Hors D'Oeuvres Inc. in St. Catharines, with wholesale and retail sales in Niagara and Toronto, Turchi offers an exquisite array of handmade hors d'oeuvres that fill a previously empty market niche in Niagara. Thanks to natural talent and two decades of tutelage under top Italian chefs on both sides of the Atlantic, Turchi tantalizes even the most sophisticated palates with morsels that both surprise and satisfy.
Discerning chefs throughout the GTA are snapping up his miniature creations by the thousands, glad to present them as their own, while sparing themselves the creative effort and time-intensive preparations. Meanwhile, Savoia hors d'oeuvres are a highlight at private parties fortunate enough to enjoy Turchi's culinary touch.
Turchi's story begins in Turin, in the Piedmont area of Italy, where he grew up as the youngest of three children in a close-knit, loving family. He spent time in the kitchen with his mother from a very early age, especially on weekends, when, by tradition, Italian mothers prepared a week's worth of fresh pasta for their families. The young chef-to-be asked his mother many questions about food. Why did she do this? How did she do that? At age six, he announced he wanted to become a chef one day.
In pursuit of his dream, Turchi as a young man earned his hotel and food services diploma in Torino. He practiced his art at various five-star restaurants and hotels in Italy during the 1980s, gradually working his way up the culinary ranks to the level of sous chef. Eventually, broader horizons and greater opportunities beckoned, and he immigrated to Canada in 1992.
Turchi spent his first year in Canada as executive chef at Ristorante Giardino at the Gatehouse Hotel in Niagara-on-the-Lake. From there, he moved to the Toronto restaurant Borgo Antico, where he won rave reviews; and then on to the Oro Restaurant, also in Toronto, where he truly came into his own as a neo-Italian chef de cuisine.
By 2001, Turchi had all the experience and skills necessary to be the star chef at Toula, an internationally acclaimed Italian restaurant that was making its North American debut in Toronto. Food connoisseurs griped about jousting with bellboys and luggage racks to get to Toula, on the 38th floor of the Westin Harbour Castle hotel; but Turchi's food, as always, had everyone glowing. "Trust me," wrote food writer Sara Waxman in the Sunday Sun. "It's all worth the trip."
Today, more than 10 years after immigrating to Canada, Turchi's taste memories of Piedmont remain strong. Many an ecstatic diner, in eating his pasta or nibbling his hors d'oeuvres, has felt transported to Italy. Savoia hors d'oeuvres, in fact, are the concentrated essence-the reduction, if you will-of all that Turchi has learned, both in Italy and Canada, about flavor orchestration and food design. His bite-sized morsels are elegant, intricate artworks. Their masterful use of color, line and shape feeds the eyes as surely as their flavors and textures ravish the palate. At Savoia, satisfying the appetite is only the beginning!