Above is the photo that was used in the April 1989 edition of Toronto Life. Do you know what dish you’re holding (no zooming in)?
I sure do, that was a whipped mascarpone mousse with a quince puree and a rosemary tuille!
What was it like to be told you were going to be on the cover? Was this your first cover?
That was one of my very first ‘holy $*(& moments” in my career. It was a really big deal and such an honour. Chefs didn’t have the celebrity status that they do today. It was a big moment.
A lot of people think North 44 was your first resto, but you were the co-owner of Pronto in 1989. Who was your business partner, and what made you decide to move on from it?
I had two great partners but at one point you’ve got to take the leap and go out on your own and that was my time.
Above is the review of Pronto from that April ’89 Toronto Life. Do you remember that salmon paillard? Still make it from time to time?
You never forget a good review…that paillard haha, there are somethings that always stand out. I also realize, looking at that review how “wordy” we were in that time when it comes to describing dishes.
The SkyDome opened in 1989. Were you a big Jays fan back then? Have you been to a game recently? What do you think of the food options there now?
Loved the Jays especially in the “BIG” years. I used to go and watch them play a lot. I still like the team, but to be honest, it has been a long while since I have sat in the stands with a glove in my hand!
Pictured above is the most famous car of 1989. Do you remember what you were driving?
I remember the velour interioir like it was yesterday! In 1989 I drove a Silver Ford Taurus Wagon.
Art Eggleton was mayor of Toronto in 1989 and is seen as one of the fathers of Multicultural Toronto. Is there an ethnic style of restaurant (other than Italian) than you could see the McEwan Group exploring one day?
We have a really good thing going on at McEwan with the curry bar. I eat from it about 2-3 times a week. Chef Shen’s recipes are hard to beat. I think I would have to clone him though to make a whole restaurant possible.
People who were born in 1989 are 23 years old. What were you doing when you were 23, and do you have any advice for today’s 23 year-olds?
I moved out on my own at 19 and lived in High Park. I was the Sous Chef at the Constellation working my ass off. If there is any advice that I could give to today’s 23 year olds it is that there is a lot of pride that comes with doing things for yourself. Do not rely on someone else for your bills to be paid or your bed to be made, get out there and start making an impact.