This podcast is dear to my heart – it’s about my Toronto home: Kensington Market. As a podcaster, I notice what I call “good talkers” in my daily life. Carlos Pereira is a character and a good talker. I’ve known him for about 40 years – since I moved into my beloved downtown neighbourhood. Kensington Market is a unique, colourful mix of old houses and small shops where waves of immigrants have long shopped and made their homes. Carlos started working at House of Spice as a teenager in 1977;...
Haven is just that: it's a downtown drop-in open 365 days/year offering hot meals and a warm welcome to marginalized men ages 50+. Lauro Monteiro, Haven Toronto's Executive Director, has a steely determination and a compassionate heart. I visited Haven to chat with Lauro and discovered how he cultivates hope and humanity amid Toronto's cruel housing crisis. But first Scott, a panhandler briefly shares his story.
Toronto street nurse Cathy Crowe is an author, filmmaker, activist and a distinguished visiting practitioner in the Department of Politics at Ryerson University. Cathy has been on the front lines of Toronto’s housing emergency for decades. Her new memoir A Knapsack Full of Dreams recounts her lifelong commitment to social justice. She has led a fascinating life and I feel lucky to call her a friend. We met at Cathy’s co-op apartment in downtown Toronto. Please listen until the end – it’s a...
We laugh, we cry. We talk peace, love and fibre. Mairlyn Smith's latest book, her eighth, is a love letter to your colon and a love letter to her late parents. I chat with my dear friend Mairlyn at her Toronto home. She explains her crusade to increase our daily fibre intake and outlines how to do it.
Florida chef Norman Van Aken had humble beginnings in the small town of Diamond Lake, Illinois. He remains humble in spite of his successful restaurants, cookbooks and his memoir, "No Experience Necessary." The renowned godfather of New World Cuisine, he co-owns two restaurants in South Florida. He's a reader, a thinker and a great talker. I interviewed him in Miami.
Andrew Coppolino is a chatty, affable food journalist based in Kitchener-Waterloo. His new book, FARM TO TABLE, is the brainchild of the Stratford Chefs School which celebrates its 35th anniversary this year. The book features profiles of producers like Ruth Klahsen of Monforte Dairy and Anthony John of Soiled Reputation along with their recipes. Andrew has a passion for the synergy between those who grow and prepare our food. He hopes the book will be a sustainable model for other...
In the kitchen at Sistering, they're cooking up a storm on a tight budget and they've been doing it for almost 40 years. The cooks at this drop-in and shelter never know how many mouths they'll have to feed. Homelessness in Toronto is a real crisis - and things are getting worse. Without enough affordable housing, people are forced to sleep outside or in overcrowded shelters. Sistering is struggling to provide assistance and dignity to women in cruel circumstances but, as you'll hear, the...
Anthony Rose and I both love old fashioned Jewish food. Anthony is a popular chef and restaurateur with a cluster of hip eateries on a gritty strip of Dupont Street in downtown Toronto. Rose and Sons, the original one, is a deli style diner featuring a mean pastrami sandwich, chicken soup with matzo balls and chopped liver. We met at his French-style bistro, Bar Begonia, to chat about his mini empire and his cookbook: The Last Shmaltz.
I met Gabriella, a fledgling food writer, at the James Beard Awards dinner in 2004. We caught up again in New York this year and chatted about our Jewish roots in Riga, Latvia, our affinity for Montreal and our mutual love of prunes.
It was a sunny day in Rob Firing's Toronto garden where he grilled a ribeye with service berries and garlic scapes on his humble barbecue - delicious! Meanwhile, he gave me a tutorial on his favourite topic: steak. His new book "Steak Revolution" explores the more unusual cuts of beef including my new favourite - culotte. His book introduced me to the best way to cook it - the reverse-sear method.
Chef Joshna Maharaj is driven by a passion for social change. She rejects the processed, dreary and bland food served in most institutions. She was chef at The Stop Community Food Centre in Toronto where she worked to re-imagine the traditional soup kitchen. Joshna has also revitalized campus food and the fare in hospitals. She is a compelling talker who expresses her spiritual beliefs eloquently. She says, “The intersection of food stuff and god stuff is my happy place.”
Award-winning journalist and Miami Herald food editor Carlos Frias reconnected with his ancestral homeland in his memoir, “Take Me with You: A Secret Search for Family in a Forbidden Cuba”. His restaurant recommendations included Miami’s Palacio de los Jugos and Empanada Harry’s – both fabulous finds. He shared his lively stories with me at the Herald newsroom on the outskirts of Miami.
Marlene Benedicto has been in a wheelchair since she was three years old. She lives with her boyfriend in downtown Toronto and has a day job. Since 2011, she has been writing a blog called 'Tasting Toronto on Wheels'. In it, she writes restaurant reviews, reports on food events and shares recipes. I chatted with her in the kitchen of her apartment.
On the second Tuesday of every month, homeless people and their advocates gather at the Church of the Holy Trinity in downtown Toronto. They read out names and honour those who have lost their lives on the streets of the city. Merylie Houston has been cooking lunch for the event for 15 years. The day before, I visited her at home as she prepared mac 'n' cheese for 100. During the communal meal, I spoke to several people who shared their stories.
Famous chef Massimo Bottura has received accolades and awards for his restaurants in Modena Italy and for his latest mission: recycling food waste. He and other top chefs, with their helpers, started feeding the homeless and refugees at Milan Expo in 2015 using only discarded food. This groundbreaking effort is documented in the stunning film 'Theater of Life'. Since then, his project has been duplicated in other countries. Massimo's most recent success is the brilliant cookbook 'Bread is...
Vancouver-based pastry chef Bruno Feldeisen has won major awards and has worked with top chefs in Paris, San Francisco and New York. He has appeared on TV shows like Beat Bobby Flay, Donut Showdown and Chopped. He is a judge on The Great Canadian Baking Show on CBC TV. Don't miss his inspiring story about redemption from childhood trauma.
Chef Lynn Crawford and I have been friends for decades. Our common bond is a love of humour and a passion for food and cooking. We talk about her path to celebrity, her TV career and our joint project raising funds for a new kitchen at the Sistering shelter in Toronto.