Myself, Margaret Webb & Ivy Knight
Be it a free plate of waffles & perfectly poached pears after a particularly delicious hangover brunch at Aunties & Uncles, free dessert after a particularly drunken dinner at the Drake Hotel, or an 8-course dinner with 25 of the most influential food journalists, critics, artisanal cheese-makers, wine aficionados, sommeliers, and more in our beautiful province of Ontario, I have discovered that I can officially add one more talent to my already vast list of talents (ha). In addition to being a fantastic parallel parker, I also am very good at getting things for free.
I came to Toronto a year & a half ago with no real plan or vision & and even emptier rolodex. I had no money, no furniture, no friends, and no real prospects. Little did I know that 15 months later, I’d be sipping maple-bourbon sours & discussing “the reach-around” (look it up!) around the fire on the Drake Hotel Sky Yard with the likes of Corey Mintz, Arlene Stein, Rebecca Leeheup, & the gentlemen behind Good Food Revolution.
This week brought a lot of unexpected surprise into my life; a celebrated engagement with one of New York’s most celebrated food writers, too many tequila shots with too many of Toronto’s most celebrated chefs, and a four day foie gras hangover. I toured the Cheese Boutique cheese cave with Donna Dooher, ate prosciutto with Adam Sachs, and chatted “who have you fucked at the Food Network” over lamb bacon with Ivy Knight. I gave Corey Mintz a throat lozenge (and would’ve shared my apo-benzydamine if he trusted me in the least, which he doesn’t). I met Margaret Webb, the author of “Apples to Orchards” (which I’ve been carrying around in my purse for over a month now) & shared stories about the Halifax Farmer’s Market. While the Terroir Hospitality Industry Symposium may have been great for my career, the after-party was great for my sex life.
Needless to say, Terroir & related activities were a vast improvement over the way I usually spend my week; making veal stew eight ways at George Brown College. Instead, I ate Jonathan Gushue’s five-meat-feat for lunch (Wellington County Beef Tongue, Eversprings Farms Guinea Hen Ballontine, Elmhirst Resort Black Angus Beef Brisket, & Langdon Hall’s Blackbow Farms Cotechino) elbow to elbow with Chef John Lee and compared hangovers with Ancaster Old Mill’s Jeff Crump. I still owe Malcolm Jolley $10.
The purpose of this seemingly incredibly conceited blog post was not actually to make you all jealous who didn’t attend this week’s shit-show that was Terroir (although, I certainly can’t blame you for being mustard greens with envy). On the contrary, it was actually written with the purpose in mind to publicly thank those who have made the past four days possible for me (most notably, the ever-incredible Arlene Stein). At lunch with Chef Deborah Reid today over $7 green curry at Salad King, she put things into perspective for me: what I am doing by attending these events & engaging these people in conversation (whatever it be about) is like gardening. I am planting seeds. I have planted seeds with some very important people in the Ontario hospitality industry & beyond, but I need to not get over-zealous, as when you plant a seed there is often a long period of fruition before harvest. Good things will come of the fruits (get it?) of my labour, and if they don’t, I can always just drown my sorrows by swimming in a sea of Ivy Knight’s acclaimed ecstasy.
Word on the street is that she gets the best price in town.
Ivy Knight (food writer), Anthony Rose (Executive Chef, The Drake Hotel), John Lee (Proprietor of Chippy’s, former Susur General Manager), and David Mitton (Terroir’s #1 Good-Looking Man, and also Co-Owner of The Harbord Room)
For more photos of the Terroir After-Party & Ivy Knight’s slutty corset, click here.
Last Sunday, A. & I attended a venison butchery demonstration at Parkdale’s very own Cowbell, courtesy of Chef Mark Cutrara & his in-house butcher & breadmaker Ryan Donovan (formerly Head Babe, I mean.. Butcher, at the Healthy Butcher on Queen West). We were on our best behaviour (not), as Mark had warned us beforehand that not only the National Post would be there, but Global News would be as well. Fortunately for the gentlemen attendees, my best behavior included my best see-through black dress.
Fresh from our bacon-inspired photo shoot, A. & I grabbed a cab over to Parkdale to get the party started. Like a herd of eager cattle, Cutrara & Donovan led us (and the television cameras) down to the basement where all the magic takes place.; there lay the New Zealand Red deer that Donovan would take apart from head to toe. While this certainly wasn’t the first naked body I had in front of me that weekend, it was definitely the most beautiful.
Head Babe Ryan Donovan started with the neck, a job he usually hands down to his apprentices (A. not withstanding, to date his only apprentice to wear shortie shorts under her apron). Working with both his hands and his boning knife, Donovan proceeded to debone & rip apart the beauty’s flesh with ease, while I stood by wishing he’d do the same to my dress (Kidding, D. I know you love your wife!). Both Donovan & Cutrara answered our questions with ease, not only from the media but from the other 8 or so “commonfolk” in attendance; most being home chefs & other interested parties. Cutrara was adamant about explaining uses for each part (including using the bones for stock), so that by the end of it all typically <1% of the animal received at Cowbell would go to waste. That evening, the waste bowl contained 3.3% of the animal’s 90lbs. Donovan shook his head, rooting around the bowl for useable collagen & meat scraps to be made into sausages (or into ground venison that we lucky ducks would take home wrapped in butchers paper).
Two mouth-watering hours, and one ten minute interview with Global TV later featuring yours-truly, we were coralled upstairs where we were presented with a pint & some charcuterie, crostini, and pickled veg (all made in-house). I hung out in my mink hat in the basement with A. while she cleaned Donovan’s boning knives. We chatted with our fellow attendees, including Carrie Oliver, while snacking on lardo and sipping out beer; revelling in what we had just witnessed before our very eyes.
Afterwards, we kidnapped one of Cowbell’s most knowledgeable servers for a night on the town at the Dakota Tavern, where we proceeded to hand out raw hunks of venison to unknowing strangers after one-too-many mint juleps. Ending the evening at 4:30am over a bowl of vegan tomato soup at the Lakeview Lunch, A. & I were still as drunk as we were high from the whole experience. Thanks again Mark. C for a spectacular evening. You, my deer, are a real fucking treat.
For a link to the National Post article, written by Lia Grainger, click here.
For a link to my see-thru dress featured on Global News, click here.
For information on Cowbell’s next butchery demonstration, please contact them at (416) 849-1095, or follow Mark Cutrara on Twitter.
On Sunday, Febuary 1, 2010 A. & I participated in a photo shoot for up-and-coming stylist-cum-photographer-cum-artist Jessica Upton Crowe. Jesse has recently gotten into photography, has purchased a Canon 30D & has been using it as of late to capture photographs of her friends “doing ordinary things with extraordinary hair” for her portfolio and her blog. As a stylist at the wildly successful Dundas West salon The Grateful Head, Jesse has been cutting my hair for the year & a half that I’ve lived in Toronto. It should be of note that we met (and fell in love) over a couple too many bottles of Babyduck at a party four days into my arrival in the big city. When Jesse asked me to be her latest subject for a photoshoot, with hair and photography done to be done entirely by herself, I jumped at the chance and said “yes”.
Jesse arrived shortly after noon, toting a set of hot rollers, perm rods, blow dryers and her shiba inu Takara. After setting my hair in perm rods, she got to work on A.’s gigantic mass of brunette glory into hot rollers. She photographed us doing what we do best(and what we would normally be doing on a Sunday morning): cooking bacon. Along with the half lb of double-smoked bacon, out came the lard, the flour, the sugar, the salt; A. made a batch of her famous pastry dough.
As to not detract from the epic-osity (is that a word?) that was our hair, I wore a simple American Apparel wide-necked shirt. As usual, A. was wearing something vintage right down to an apron from my own secondhand collection. To see more photos, including one featuring my leopard print & lacy underwear, check out Jesse’s blog at www.struttersandhead.blogspot.com. It is with deep pains of anguish that I have to announce that my beautiful stove, as pictured above, met its demise with a junkyard on the weekend. Fortunately, Jesse was able to capture it, in addition to us, in all of its glory before its deathbed was met. RIP.
Note: All pictures are courtesy of Jesse Crowe, and if for some bizarre reason they end up elsewhere on the internet, please grace her with a photo credit. She’s also taking new clients, so hit me up if you want an awesome haircut!
I apologize for this super-sized nap that A. & I have taken from Fat & Alone. I would like to say that I’ve been too busy, being in school all summer & all, but that simply isn’t true… or at least it wasn’t.
Truth is, between 25 hours a week a week at school & 25 hours a week drinking red wine in the park, this summer flew by quicker than that fateful time I lost my virginity. Our 50 hour “work” weeks have now been traded for 50 hour… work… weeks. I am now cooking at one of the best restaurants in Halifax, Nova Scotia; a chef apprentice in a vintage headscarf. A. is now making sauerkraut & elk chops under the direction of one of Toronto’s most innovative & eclectic chefs in the heart of Parkdale.
I promise to make more time for you all in the (very) near future. Like with plants, pets, or boyfriends, a blog is a big responsibility and there’s a reason my herbs didn’t last past the second week of June this year. I promise to try harder.
Love & cold beet lemongrass soup,
Hello bloggers & blogettes. Welcome to Fat & Alone, the baby born from one-too-many 8am classes and one-hundred-too-many-too-late-nights. Follow the lives of two disgruntled, single George Brown College culinary school students as they sift through the bullshit that is Scantron sheet tests and middle-aged chefs that ogle our (chicken) breasts.
From culinary school gossip, to some tips on dining alone and a list of delicious things to eat off the bodies of your loved ones, we personally guarantee some luscious recipes to give your boyfriend a bigger beef heart-on than Ron Jeremy himself. Our posts may come after a long day with greasy fingers in the kitchen, or a long night with wine lips in the bedroom; regardless, we hope you find us interesting even after one bourbon, one scotch, one (ginger) beer.
Coming soon: Top 5 Hottest (and by that, we clearly mean “best-looking”) Chefs in Toronto, What (Not) To Do in the Case That You See Teo Paul on the Street, Why Veal Stew Made Us Cry, and much more.
I hope our milkshake will bring y’all to our yard. Or at least our cement patio (We are in Toronto, after all).
Fat & alone,
Disclaimer: FYI, all. I’m totally digging my bodacious bod these days so no need to send me FOUR HUNDRED Facebook messages informing me “I’m not fat” in several differant ways, and two different languages. This a blog written by two single (and fabulous) ladies who just happened to dip their bread into some duck fat at the exact same moment. I can ride my bike and have sex (more than) comfortably, and I look great in vintage lingerie. Everything’s gonna be a-ok.