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You may recognize the three enterprising men as the force behind Terra Restaurant in Thornhill, their culinary crown jewel that has stood two decades strong despite a changing city, fierce competition and diners’ heightening palates. And while the fine-dining flagship continues to attract a local and downtown crowd with its pan-roasted gnocchi and exotic offerings like ostrich and wild boar, Terra is proof that good things come to those who stay laser-focused on their dreams, every day and every hour. “Just this last weekend we had a sellout for a communion at Terra with the same clients that had their child’s baptism with us. There are kids that actually grew up with us — kids who we’re now catering their weddings,” says De Tommaso. “Terra is our essential. It is our goose that laid the egg,” adds Perrin, whose adventurous foodie spirit complements De Tommaso’s charm and Chase’s collected nature.

Since the acclaim that came with the meteoric rise of Terra, the trio has expanded their portfolio to include the aforementioned Sarpa, the upscale pub-style Rusty’s at Blue in Blue Mountain Village and Francobollo Posto Italiano, their newest, trend-bucking instalment in North Toronto — now all united under the recent and aptly named Substance Food Group. They also have a successful catering division, Terra Parties, for events big or small. Looking back, it’s clear that their love of food has allowed them to evolve into a culinary collective driven by passion, guided by quality and led by stellar service.