Chef, Rag Doll Eatery.
Favourite dish to make right now
There are infinite flavour combinations to play, with and to me there is nothing more comforting than tucking in to a big bowl of pasta.
Last cookbook bought
Vegan 100 by Caz Oakley, Vegan Comfort Classics by Lauren Toyota, Kitchen Magpie by Karlynn Johnston, and Matty Matheson: A Cookbook by Matty Matheson.
Have you read it/tried any recipes
I’ve never been good at following recipes... I’ll set out to try them out but always end up putting my own spin on things. I’m working on veganizing my family’s comfort classics, so I take inspiration from everywhere to do that.
Baking is where I follow the recipes pretty close and the Snickerdoodles from The Kitchen Magpie are addictive!
Name one dish or ingredient you’d like to see gone from menus
I’ve got nothing but love for food and what people are doing with it. If it gets you going, then go for it... forget what the haters have to say.
And one dish or ingredient that you’re excited about right now and would like to see on more menus
Korean flavours in general, I just can’t get enough of lately.
My Mom and my Gramma are the biggest influences on my life in general, food and otherwise. Food wise, it was always Bourdain. Food just made sense to him... and he understood that food is something that ties us all together in so many ways, and is the one medium that has the power to bring very different people together for a common purpose.
If you could eat at any restaurant in the world
It wasn’t a restaurant but it bustled like one. If I could eat anywhere it the world it would be one more meal around my Gram’s table with my big crazy family bustling about.
The last thing you ate
Pizza from Auroura’s Pizza in my home town. If you are from Sault Ste. Marie, you understand pizza to be a certain way and everything else pales in comparison.
Three must-have ingredients always in your fridge
Good quality Ontario maple syrup, eggs, and a couple of good hunks of cheese.
Chocolate. ALL THE CHOCOLATE. But I don’t feel guilty about it... life it short and chocolate is delicious.
Top 3 favourite Toronto restaurants, in no particular order
Brick Street Bakery for warm fresh pastries on Sunday mornings while I’m walking my dog; The Corner Place for a bite with the family when I get a night to spend with them; and Myato Gastropub for my Korean food fixes.
Top 3 favourite Toronto bars
I’m a homebody and not much of a drinker so the bar scene is not something I really know much of.
Kilkenny. It’s my beer.
One habit you have in the kitchen that you should lose, but can’t seem to shake
I’ve got a loud voice and a mouth like a sailor. My habit of yelling, “FUCK YEAH!” when we’re pumping out a service is probably something I should tone down... but I just can’t.
One habit you have in the kitchen that will inspire young chefs
I lead by example, am crazy organized, and am very solution driven. I will take any time that my young chefs need to teach them my approaches to things and demonstrate what I need from them.
Name one hidden talent
I can dance. My wife and I were together for seven years before she found this out.
The best career advice you ever received
Never stop learning. Read all the books you can get your hands on and if you ever stop loving it, then stop doing it. Chef Anthony Walsh said this to me when I was a young cook and it stuck with me.
The worst career advice you ever received
I try to only hold on to the positives, so I can’t really remember the bad advice. I know I’ve gotten some... but I let it go when I realized it wouldn’t serve me well.
Your advice for a young cook starting out in the business
Do what you love and love what you do. It’s the only way this works. Even on my worst days... getting to work, putting on my apron, and feeding people is the only thing that makes sense for me.