At The Pass with Chef Tara Lee

Chef Tara Lee by Stephanie Dickison.JPG


Eastbound Brewing Company, chef


Cowbell, Skin & Bones, BarHop BrewCo

Favourite dish to make right now

We’re relaunching our brunch menu, so I’m playing around with our own steak sauce. Vinegar is my favourite ingredient.

Last cookbook purchase

Homegrown: Cooking from My New England Roots by Matt Jennings 

Have you read it/tried any recipes 

Not yet, still taking it all in.

Name one dish or ingredient you’d like to see gone from menus 


And one dish or ingredient that you’re excited about right now and would like to see on more menus

Whole roasted everything! 

Biggest influences

Chris Cosentino, Cortney Burns, Gabrielle Hamilton, April Bloomfield, Alida Solomon.

If you could eat at any restaurant in the world 


The last thing you ate 


Three must-have ingredients always in your fridge

Mayo, pickles, hot sauce. 

Guilty pleasure 

Peanut butter chocolate chip ice cream.

Top 3 favourite Toronto restaurants, in no particular order

Maple Leaf Tavern, Descendants Pizza, Terroni. 

Top 3 favourite Toronto bars

BarHop, Bar Volo, Pinkerton’s Snack Bar.

Go-to drink

A beer! Or G+T. Or an Aperol Spritz.

One habit you have in the kitchen that you should lose, but can’t seem to shake

Definitely drinking too much coffee, not eating for 8-10 hours at a time. I’m going to pass out one of these days.

One habit you have in the kitchen that will inspire young chefs

Outside of the kitchen I try to keep an active lifestyle. I run 5-6 days a week. I want them to see that it’s not all late nights and too much beer.

Name one hidden talent

Somehow these past few months I’m managed to work about 70 hours a week and run between 50-60k a week as I train for my next half marathon!

The best career advice you ever received

You have to learn to be boring. It was from my first chef ever. He just meant you have to build a solid foundation, or you’ll just be stumbling through your career after that. 

The worst career advice you ever received

None that I can think of, hopefully I haven’t followed any of it! 

Your advice for a young cook starting out in the business

Be patient. Work hard. You’ll never learn anything if you aren’t in the kitchen, hands on. Travelling is great, but you also need to put in time in kitchens. Read. A lot. Taste everything.