Love Lights Up at Selva in Toronto

Make no mistake, Chef Nuit Regular is one of Toronto’s best chefs, with a recently awarded Michelin star to add to the countless accolades she has received building her home-cooked Thai empire across twelve restaurants around the city. Currently manning the kitchen at Selva, a trendy, experiential restaurant in Toronto’s downtown core, Regular spoke to KIND about kitchen victories, family connections and why love is always her secret ingredient in every dish she prepares.
KIND: Coming into the one year anniversary of Selva, what are some things you are most proud of?
Nuit Regular: One year goes just like that, and I am so, so proud. This beautiful space has inspired my menu and pushed me outside my natural limits.
KIND: It’s quite a mash-up, getting Chef Nuit to make ceviche and tacos!
NR: The first thing I did at Selva was introduce my South American cuisine because it’s what we love to eat at home and it’s been such a pleasure to get to share that with all our guests.
KIND: The experience has been celebrated by the media and guests alike. What makes it so special?
NR: The immersive dining experience makes great food and drink, especially last year, when we couldn’t really travel, an opportunity to really leave the city without having to go very far. I love that you can escape any situation and immerse yourself into this beautiful art with my cooking. That’s something that you just can’t find anywhere else.
KIND: You were bestowed recognition on the Michelin recommended list. How did that make you feel?
NR: It’s such an honour, of course. Our restaurant Pai is home-cooked style, very simple, so I wasn’t expecting to be recognized. What matters most to me, above any recognition, is simply that our guests feel welcomed and get good food, good service, and a good overall product; any recognition beyond that means, to me, that we are doing the right things.
KIND: What's your advice for someone who wants to cook at home this spring?
NR: Try and hit on all the notes of flavour: sweet, sour, spicy and tart. Flavour combinations really bring out the excitement and it doesn’t have to be that difficult—look at the papaya salad recipe and you can see how to simply balance the flavours you want to achieve.
KIND: You are known for the wish for food to be art. What does that mean and how has it inspired your dish creations?
NR: Cooking is art—art we can all share—and, at Selva, we want guests to experience the full experience of the finest food and drink.

KIND: Experiences are increasingly what guests are looking for. What makes a perfect culinary evening for you?

NR: Atmosphere. A great atmosphere sets your emotions, the music you hear, the lighting, the way that you’re treated. All of that combines with the food in building a wonderful night out—something we all need.

KIND: You’ve been developing some new things for your menu. Can you give us a window into these dishes?

NR: I was in PEI recently and this is one thing I love about Selva, because now I can offer up oysters, lobsters and beautiful crabs. I’m really excited about delicious seafood moving forward—talking about it makes my mouth start watering, and that’s always a good sign.

KIND: You’re always such a breath of fresh air and leading light even beyond the kitchen, simply in your approach to life. What’s your biggest wish for the universe in the new year?

NR: Everything starts with love. From love, everything grows brighter—to your family, to your neighbours, to your community—love yourself, and give love to those around you. Love is all we need.

Selva is located at 221 Richmond St. West in Toronto. For Nuit Regular’s Selva menu, please see