Attention school groups – Teachers register at email@example.com to book your day
Chef Laura Petracca is a woman of many talents. Growing up, food and music were major passions within Laura’s family. Her uncle and grandfather were both drummers, while her mother and grandmother were known for their killer cooking. Although Sunday dinners at Nonna’s meant plenty of pasta and meatballs, they also presented opportunities to sneak down to the basement to tap away on the drumset. Throughout high school, Laura split her time between competing in battle of the bands and working in the kitchens of fast food joints and Italian bakeries.
After graduating from Humber College’s culinary arts program in 2002, Laura completed a year-long apprenticeship at Chiado, one of Toronto’s most acclaimed Portuguese restaurants, where she learned her way around the basics and butchery. She then moved on to stage at Jump, Oliver & Bonacini’s long-standing American bistro. She spent four years honing her skills and eventually worked her way up to Chef Tournant. At the same time, Laura’s music career was taking off. In 2007, she and her band took the leap and moved to New York City, where they spent the next eight years recording music and touring the U.S., Canada and Europe.
In 2016, shortly after Laura moved back to Toronto, she enjoyed dinner with her mom at Leña, where she was reunited with O&B Corporate Executive Chef Anthony Walsh who encouraged her to pick up her culinary career where she left off. After two tough rounds of interviews, Laura was hired as Sous Chef at Leña, where she worked closely with Executive Chef Julie Marteleira to execute a vibrant array of Argentinian, Spanish, Italian and Portuguese dishes.
In spring 2021, Chef Laura was tapped to take the lead at The Rabbit Hole, O&B’s new downtown gastropub. Working alongside District Executive Chef Ryan Lister, Chef Laura confidently executed a menu of traditional British classics with a wild and whimsical twist.
Now, having returned to Leña as Chef de Cuisine, Chef Laura is excited to be crafting dishes that are close to her heart and evoke such positive memories—from her very first ceviche enjoyed on the beach in Peru, to digging into her Nonna’s fettuccine smothered in homemade passata and Parmesan. She also looks forward to bringing her own influences and personality to the forefront of Leña’s menu, with the hopes that guests will fall in love with this style of food as much as she has.
When she’s not cooking or playing the drums, you may find Chef Laura pursuing her other passions: working up a sweat in the boxing ring, or sipping coffee on the porch with her parents while chatting about life.