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By Robin Van Der Vleuten

‘Culinary’ cooking is often defined as an art form which utilizes the sciences, to create dishes that tantalize your taste buds.

Kosta Ristevski, chef and owner of Pickles and Olives Bistro, with his wife and business partner, Anika, has mastered this, throughout his resplendent career in the food industry. His passion for food began as a young boy growing up in Yugoslavia. He would spend quality time cooking with his grandmother, who worked in the culinary industry after World War 2. As a teenager, he spent his summers working in the chocolate factory, where his mother worked, learning to make candies and chocolates. Kosta attributes his love of food and cooking to them both. “They inspired me to be in the industry. I loved learning. The love of food stayed with me for many, many decades.” said Mr. Ristevski.

Working in a resort in Dubrovnik and hotels in Croatia inspired him to enrol in culinary school. Upon immigrating to Canada, in 1980, he worked in various restaurants, often under the guidance of renowned chefs. Working as a sous chef at Cullen Country Barn and being the executive chef at Cullen Gardens were some of the highlights of his culinary career.

Keeping up to date on the industry is very important to Kosta. He constantly takes courses, many at George Brown College, “It is all about passion. I will never stop learning about the food, the science of the food, the different things about it and the quality of it.” The quality and presentation of the food are essential to him. “A menu consists of me, being up to date on industry changes, and the quality of the food and products available on the market. It is an ongoing process we use to get our inspiration," stated Kosta passionately.

As partners in the food industry, for almost 38 years, Kosta and Anica have opened various restaurants, ranging from a Fish and Chips restaurant to the Kaneo Restaurant in Oshawa. Working together as a team allows them to share their passion for this industry with many people, including their children. “We are very proud of our family members, Niky (Kitchen Manager), Michelle (Server) and Amy (Front of House Manager) who work with us and are consistently dedicated.” added Anica.

Kosta and Anica create the perfect recipe for success. Kosta cooks with ‘Passion and Soul’, creatively presenting the food in a manner which guides the patron’s eyes and stirs the anticipation for a tasty meal. Anica mates the pleasure of the food with the overall dining experience, creating a beautiful environment for people to feel welcome. “We are proud to have such a great staff, many of whom have been with us for over a decade, and former staff members who have returned. It makes us very proud of our work environment. It creates an ambience for people to feel connected to us. They want to celebrate key events in their lives with us.” shared Anica.

Together, they exemplify the perfect blending of ‘Passion and Soul’.

Robin Van Der Vleuten is a retired teacher, children’s author, artist, and photographer. (

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