Financier and Fiore Group CEO Frank Giustra dishes about making meals that bring people together
I started cooking in my early 20s. I was barbecuing a salmon, and I thought I should probably get a little fancier with my approach. I had a cookbook there for some reason, and there was a very simple recipe. You just pour some mustard, pour some honey and squeeze a lemon in there, and voilà, you have an amazing sauce. My guests were really impressed, and I thought, well, I’m a cook now.
My family immigrated here from Italy, and we always had marvellous, marvellous food. So once I realized I was a wonderful chef, having made that salmon, I turned to my mother and I said, how do you make, say, meatballs? My mother never worked off of a recipe so I had to just pay close attention to what she did. Pretty soon I was making meatballs and I was making eggplant parmesan and all sorts of things. No one makes better eggplant parmesan than I do. It tastes like a soufflé. You can eat it with just a fork, without a knife, it is so tender and so delicious. It’s my signature dish.
For most of my life, cooking has been my way of bringing people together. I have lots and lots of dinner parties at my home where I do all of the cooking. It’s a form of relaxation for me. My dinner parties usually range from 10 to 30 people. I usually make four or five dishes throughout the day. I like to be left alone in the kitchen with my music until the very end where I put everybody to work.
I like to have everybody hang around the kitchen, not sitting at the table—everybody has to be standing around drinking wine and having conversation, and I like it very loud. It’s always a mad scramble at the end, so that’s when I solicit everybody to help. They really enjoy getting involved. I yell at people—and they enjoy being yelled at.
As well as financing mining companies, founding Lions Gate Entertainment and producing premium Domenica Fiore olive oil, named after his mother, Frank Giustra is involved in philanthropic enterprises that include the Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership (established with Bill Clinton) and the Radcliffe Foundation, which supports a variety of causes including aid for Syrian refugees.