The #TKfam: What is a Transparent Kitchen Restaurant?

Transparent Kitchen
4 min readSep 13, 2019

We at Transparent Kitchen are incredibly proud to be rapidly growing our community — and we are doing it with purpose. A question we often receive is, “what restaurants belong on Transparent Kitchen?”, and we have put a lot of thinking into how we answer this question. Though we have an immense amount of respect for all food service workers, part of our goal in this project is to cultivate an intentional community of restaurants around a handful of principles that we believe will guide the next generation of diners to be more conscious consumers.

At the heart of our team, we understand the industry that we serve; not only from reports, statistics and stories, but because we are restaurant people ourselves. We have washed dishes, worked the line, served dining rooms, mixed cocktails, stocked inventory — even trained Michelin kitchens. This has given us unique insight into the reality of this work, and we know doing it right means that you’ve chosen to do it the hard way. That’s worth celebrating.

These are the 4 things we look for when building our community:

  1. A Unique Concept
ONE Restaurant, Toronto

We lift up independently owned restaurants and groups; a well-conceived idea brought to life through service style, artful decor, ambiance, and each and every dish. These restaurants are pillars of our communities, and they are up against the big marketing dollars of restaurant chains. We want to encourage diners to try something new, explore different cuisines, and support the “little” guys that are going the extra mile to do it right.

2. A Culture of Dining

Cava, Toronto

There is a lot of technology that is changing the way we get our next meal. Delivery services like Skip the Dishes, UberEats and Postmates have created exciting opportunities for restaurants to bring in new revenue, but this is not to the benefit of restaurants that really encourage a culture of dining out. Restaurants put a lot of effort into creating an atmosphere that is intended to be enjoyed — from music choice, to how they’ve trained their staff, to the art of plating dishes. These things can’t be experienced with a takeout container. We want to connect diners with restaurants that will give them a moment to remember, and in doing so, give them the opportunity to meet a neighbour and strengthen their community.

3. A Chef in a Scratch Kitchen

Chef Walid El-Tawel at Fairouz, Ottawa

Behind every great dish, there is a chef that has a unique, compelling story. We know that they have hustled through long and thankless shifts, studied diligently, staged around the world and experimented for years to bring that dish to fruition. They have a cooking philosophy developed through these experiences, and they create from scratch as best they can. We know that they survive on their passion. We also know that they rarely get the glory that they deserve. We encourage diners to see the person behind their meals, and we want to introduce you to them.

4. Intention Behind Sourcing Practices

Pure Spirits, Toronto

Last, but certainly not least, we work with restaurants that have intention behind their sourcing practices. These restaurants contribute to their local economy by supporting trusted local farmers. They have sustainability in mind when they source their seafood. They have ethics in mind when they choose a butcher. They minimize their waste and single-use plastics. Our platform allows our restaurant partners to highlight the suppliers that they trust, and then we build supplier profiles, too. We want to encourage diners to think about where their food is coming from, and we give them an opportunity to learn about products and discover restaurants that align with their values.

We know that every restaurant marches to the beat of its own drum — we also know that in some ways, something’s got to give. For us, it’s all about building a community of restaurants that live by their values, and ensuring that we effectively communicate those values to the diners that share them.

Do these criteria sound like a restaurant you know and love? They deserve a Transparent Kitchen profile. Let us know in the comments below!



Transparent Kitchen

Parent company of TABLZ, a premium guest service tool, changing your dining room economics….forever.