Action! The Kitchens for Tiff12 Toronto International Film Festival

I started to document the dance that takes place in the kitchen of Chef Brad Long’s Cafe Belong last year during the Toronto International Film Festival.

This year for Tiff12, I selected those restaurants where you will most certainly have great food, meet the team at these restaurants who are really a lot of fun, with great chef’s, and most importantly great food.

Daily, you’ll see the kitchens at work while films get screened, so when you are hungry, these kitchens will look after you.

I had my own place in Monte Carlo, and my all time favorite place is still La Colombe d’Or (St-Paul-de-Vence, France). So yea, I have standards.

All the spots are meant to let you explore Toronto, and I know everyone at these places, so if you go you will really have a great meal and good time.

Toca – Ritz Carlton – Toronto

The kitchen is great and the team and chef’s of the Ritz Carlton are catering the very exclusive Ball to which a private jet thanks to Bombardier is flying in with stars. They would not be doing it if they did not know food. ( Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner )

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Nyood

Talent is all around the kitchen, vibe is great, the food is great.
(Dinner)

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Ursa

The bar will make you killer cocktails, and the kitchen here well Lucas and Jacob Sharkey-Pearce and the team will make sure you have a great time. (Dinner).

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Acadia

Little Italy, catch the buzz and the food without question you will enjoy. (Dinner)

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Kanji

The sushi is so fresh the fish is still fluttering on the kitchen table. Chef James from Nobu in New York, need I say more. (Lunch – Dinner)

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County General

Food, drinks, feel like your in Santa Monica. (Brunch, Lunch, Dinner)

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Maizal

Great place if your running around and need great Mexican fresh. The designers of Prince love this spot (Lunch)

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Cafe Belong

As always great food, it like being in Big Sur at the Post Ranch Inn.
(Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

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Ravine Valley Vineyards

Finished with your gig at the festival?, then head out of town to my friends Vineyard. Great food, it’s like being in Napa.

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Special Thanks To The Sponsors

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Little Bit of Country by Grand Canyon at The Drake Hotel

In Los Angeles, I lived in the hills above Sunset and could go see several bands in one night from the House of Blues, to the Viper Room.

Since arriving back to Toronto from Los Angeles I have been wanting to go to The Drake Hotel and see what’s up. It’s taken a while to get there but I am glad that it happened on an evening when a friend of mine the very talented Jessica Mitchell was opening for Grand Canyon a country band comprised of Courtney Farquhar & Chris Seldon.

Never rush things in life, that is my motto, things will happen when the universe wants them to happen. For me I was not meant to walk into The Drake Hotel till this moment, where magic was at play with the music of Grand Canyon and the voices’s of Courtney and Chris blending like fine aged whiskey.

From the moment I walked into the The Drake, I was pleasantly surprised and instantly helped and guided by Sonia at the door. A musician whom I had seen play live was tending bar. My friend Jessica Mitchell was the opening act, and talented photographer Michael Patrick a very good friend had also arrived. The lighting in the room was perfect and I was at home at The Drake.

Courtney Farquhar & Chris Seldon are two very nice human beings, and when you listen to them perform it will sound as if they have been together forever yet they have only been together as Grand Canyon for a year and a half. Chris talked to me about country music and connecting with the audience, and this duo connect. If you have been around country music you will find everyone is just nice pleasant and Courtney and Chris are no different. The Grand Canyon is a MUST see if you are in the city, you really don’t want to miss the magic they perform on stage at The Drake on any given Tuesday.

The Grand Canyon is all about keeping the magic of music alive and they perform magic because they believe that magic is real and dreams do come true at the right time. Courtney Farquhar & Chris Seldon’s time has arrived. Have a listen from last night as they perform ‘The Departed’.



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Abracadabra at Czehoski !

Jeffery a film producer from Los Angles was on the phone as I stood on a chilly sunny day outside Czehoski. While it was important to see how one could convince Tom Cruise to bring the production of Top Gun to Toronto it was not urgent. Paramount to me was to seek solace within Czehoski the Queen West, bar,and restaurant.

Entering Czehoski, it seemed I had been transported to the middle kingdom with a wave of a magic wand someone going abracadabra. No there were no provocatively clad women in lipstick red party dress’s. No smell of perfume. No mascara laden lashes. It was Sunday afternoon, it was Toronto, Hollywood North.

Robin the dragon tattooed bar manger the Merlin of elixirs, was busy setting up and displaying a portion of his full dragon tattoo to two dynamic-duo women at the bar. Michael Patrick the Toronto avant-garde fashion photographer was seated at the bar looking notoriously elusive while awaiting his infusion of alcohol to propel him into motion.

My father had taught me at an early age that sitting at a bar stool can be more productive then sitting at an office desk. It is where you’ll end up doing more business, just make sure it’s the right bar. Czehoski is such a place in Toronto and one never know’s what can happen or what to expect. As in my case it was two alluring women, which was wholly unxpected that led to an avalanche of conversation, laughter and discovery.

The ladies from advertising and interior design were in full recovery mode and as any decent person would do after any late Saturday night, start Sunday with a bottomless Bloody Mary’s. My new found friends had Advil, cigarettes, and other accouterments while progressing to wine and beer. After all who want’s to live forever.

In the kitchen the butter melted, while brown sugar caramelized, the milk thickened. There was no drag everything at Czehoski was profluent. Czehoski any given Sunday. Great drinks, food, music and people on both sides of the bar.

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Oh So Delicious ! Abu Dhabi to Toronto!

Abu Dhabi to Toronto is an effortlessly seamless transition as if walking from Soho to Midtown Manhattan, Mayfair to Chelsea, Alexander Platz to Postdamer Platz, made possible thanks to Etihad Airways. Going from a table at Frankie’s at the Fairmont to embark on a three day delicious food show in Toronto. Chef to Chef. Farm to table. Fairmont to Fairmont. How simple life can be and how much fun. Yet nothing is complete without food, it is the essence of life, and if you don’t like eating then I don’t want to know you. Toronto has it Delicious Show and you don’t want to miss this experience, of wine, cocktails, beer’s, foods, cafe’s, and learn how to cook without oil or butter without comprising taste. The Dj’s get the party started, and from start to finish it’s just one big party the kind you don’t want to miss.  I recently got inspired to look into kitchens of Chef’s thanks to a brilliant stage play The Kitchen. During the Toronto Film Festival My Name is Khan featured the kitchen of Toronto Chef Brad Long’s Cafe Belong with films of the day. In Abu Dhabi it started with Kings of Pastry a 2009 Documentary  about collar awarded to the winner of the Meilleur Ouvrier de France  the ultimate recognition for every pastry chef,  it is a dream and an obsession. Along came films and the Chef Marco Pierre White food and films, and so the journey seems seamless as the thread that connects is food.  The adventure of discover and the party never stops at My Name is Khan.

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