After much anticipation, 1,500 of Toronto’s keenest foodies filled the Evergreen Brick Works this Saturday for the inaugural edition of the Toronto Underground Market. As the sun set, they snacked on crisps and dumplings, sipped local wines, gorged on beef and pork sliders and downed wholesome Ontario microbrews and locally roasted coffee. Some TUMers even shimmied to the music, all while 25 vendors cooked their faces off trying to keep up with the demand (it was an honourable defeat). The vibe was decidedly amusement park, with smiles all around and lineups snaking around corners.
Inspired by the epic all-night food raves in San Francisco, organizer Hassel Aviles set out to give home cooks—and professionals like Guy Rawlings—the opportunity to strut their stuff. By paying a $150 admission fee, vendors were given a table and access to a commercial kitchen, allowing them to get past public health impediments. Has Toronto’s long history of red tape come to an end? Probably not. But Torontonians are learning that there are always ways to get creative with the rules.