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The List: 10 things chef David Adjey can’t live without

Ten things chef David Adjey, star of  the new Food Network show The Opener, can’t live without

The best perk ever
I used to work as Dan Aykroyd’s personal chef in Kingston, and then I decided to move to Santa Barbara to cook at a resort. He gave me a car as a goodbye present and said, “If you’re gonna live in California, you’re gonna need a California car.” It was a gold ’66 Impala—the same car a lot of L.A. gangsta rappers drive. I keep the licence plate in my office.

A badass leather jacket
I got this jacket in 2003 when I was going through a rebel phase. It was the same month I separated from my ex-wife, opened my restaurant Nectar, and got signed to Restaurant Makeover. It cost $1,000—which was huge money at the time—at Due West on Queen Street. I love that it’s worn in and a little beat-up. I’m too old for it now, but I bust it out once in a while.

Kitschy collectibles
I have been collecting antique egg cups since the early ’90s. I got the idea from the Park Avenue Café in New York, after I ordered the flan and it was served in an eggshell set inside an egg cup. I thought this was fantastic, so I started scouring flea markets and garage sales. Now my mom and friends are on the mission, too. My favourites are from post-war, 1940s Japan; they say “Made in Occupied Japan” on the bottom.

Mont Blanc pens
Mont Blanc comes out with an outrageously priced Writers Edition pen every year. This one is called the William Faulkner, and it has signed just about every deal I’ve ever made, including my contract for The Opener.

My booze bag
I travel a lot, and I’m a big wine guy, so I pick up nice bottles wherever I go. The special carrying case I use is called a WineCruzer. It’s the only way to properly transport wine on a plane—it’s insulated, and you can lock it and check it.

My knives
A chef’s knives are like an artist’s paintbrushes. I designed my own prototypes. The weight of a knife is important: mine are light, with very
soft neoprene handles you can hold onto all day.

Luxe skincare
I splurge on Crème de la Mer moisturizer—it’s $290 a pot at Holts. Whenever I have a girl over, I have to hide it.

My cooking inspiration
The Elements of Taste changed the way I thought about food. Gray Kunz, the crazy New York chef who co-wrote it, talks about flavours in terms of pushing and pulling and which tastes are interacting in your mouth. It’s the one book I tell all chefs who work for me to read.

My latest tech toy
I got an iPad at the Eaton Centre as soon as they came out. I use it to watch the unedited footage of my show and to read the Globe and Mail and the New York Times. It is so incredibly handy to have my newspapers and 400 books in one place, and I don’t get ink all over my fingers. I justify the cost by thinking about how much money I’m going to save on wet naps.

My mid-life crisis car
I’ve dreamed about owning a Corvette since I was a kid. I finally got one, a 2010 Grand Sport, and I’m totally in love. It’s a two-seater, so my three kids asked where they’re supposed to sit. I told them, “In your mom’s car.”

(Images: Jamie Hogge)

  • Rena

    I love this guy! Gives it to you straight no chaser. The opener is a great show.

  • Sandy Brillo

    i saw on the foodnetwork site they are looking for people to be on the show – check it out here

  • K0

    Further confirmed my inclination that he’s a douche.

  • Fiona

    He has got to be the worst poster boy for Crème de la Mer moisturizer I’ve ever seen…his face looks like an old piece of shoe leather… :(

  • andrew

    @Fiona: but his hands, oh those hands…

  • Fiona

    @Andrew: Snicker Snicker…

  • Debbie

    David Adjey rocks. I love him on Restaurant Makeover and The Opener. He’s funny, passionate about cooking, and says it like it is. Frankly I like his rugged handsome face. Men aren’t supposed to have skin like a girl.

  • Nonhipster

    This guy is so cliche. His ex-wife and kids are better off without him.

  • MadSot

    I was impressed with David A. im not chef or something similar just for casuality i saw The Opener Show, i admire him dedication,knowledge and expertise, i can realize his passion about his profession is based on hard work and sacrifice.
    Phisically my point of view: his so manly, very handsome, have a great voice, for this reason him is on tv.

  • Geoff

    Back in the late 70s Dave got all the neighbourhood kids into skateboarding way before it became mainstream in Scarborough. Good to see he is still setting trends.

  • Harry

    He forgot to mention cocaine. And his ego.

  • Sonam

    I love his show ‘The Opener’ very much. His passionate in cooking, frank and raw suggestions/views which is very essential. One day I would very much like to meet David and see his work in live.

  • Natalie Luffer Sztern

    If I didn’t know better I would say David Adjey is akin to a Jewish American (Canadian) Princess…La Mer skin cream he buys at Holt’s, he carries a Louis Vuitton briefcase, he drives a two-seater car most of us want when our kids finish car-pooling and a Mont Blanc pen…he could be my best girlfriend ever…:)) we have the exact same accessories including the leather jacket but mine is not motorcycle chick it’s just plain calves leather….

  • Michelle

    I think David is great at what he does I would love to have meal preparde by him and doent we all do some crazy things in our younger years keep doing the good shows David and hope to maybe see new ones


  • tash

    Lol! This article should have been titled “I’m better than you because:”

    a) I have a $1000 jacket (and I bought it back when that was a lot of money)
    b) I splurge on a $290 face cream at Holt’s
    c) I bought an IPad as soon as it got out as I had to have it first
    d)Mont Blanc comes out with an outrageously priced Writers Edition pen every year, and naturally, I had to have it
    e)I drive a two-seater Corvette which is too hot for my kids. They are mom’s business anyways.

    LoL!!! He’s pathetic!

  • Marie-Claire

    I love watching David Adjey and will really miss his show “The Opener” Bring him back. He knows what he’s doing and is an excellent chef. Those who criticize him are jealous of his talent and rugged looks. Bring him back Food Network.

  • KSD

    ALL WRONG – TOTAL WASTE OF MONEY. You mentioned you were a “quiet” group. David explained to us how much he hates “quiet” groups. He came right up to me and my sisters to chit chat from the beginning. We each volunteered for a meal. There were a couple of others who were chatty like us, which made the process more engaging. But really, David Adjey is an arrogant, self-obsessed lousy host. He embarrassed my sister twice by mocking her in front of the class and making sly remarks. Whatever. We could handle that. Then he started bashing other food network chefs. Not exactly “tips for how to be a Food Network Chef”, as the description promised. And there were no “Chef David Adjey’s signature cocktails available for purchase”, as the description promised. Just Jackson Triggs Red & White at $8 for a half glass.
    But even still, we were making the best of it. David’s assistants did most of the cooking, in addition to us “involved” audience members. Here’s the best part: As he’s talking to me and one of my sisters, making jokes to try to get a laugh out of the otherwise dry audience, we shrug it off and say “hey, it doesn’t matter to us”. About 5 minutes later, just before the third course, one of his assistants comes up behind us and says “we are free to leave if we don’t want to be here”. We are stunned and ask what the hell she is talking about. She says “David motioned to her that we may not be having fun and feel free to leave”. Of course we stayed. I was shocked though. And it ruined the rest of our experience. He is making jokes with and at us all evening, and when we say something back, jokingly, he “motions” for his assistant to “confront” us. IT WAS A BUNCH OF BS. As she is passing by, she looks at us and says “don’t shoot the messenger”.
    After the class, we stood in the line up where ppl were gathering to take their picture with David. We stood patiently and when we got to the front, I begun to express my anger an disgust over being asked to leave, even though he had been using us as his entertainment puppets all night. He cuts me off and doesn’t let me finish. His assistant says she is calling security. We expressed our outrage at and left. Outside, we saw a security guard poke his head out. We went up to him and told him what happened. Not only did he say that the assistant described us as obnoxious drunks (Two of us had one glass of wine and the other had nothing), but they say that we were out of control. He is laughing with us at this point, because we are a) not obnoxious drunks and b) he has heard this story before. DAVID IS A SELF-OBSESSED LOUSY HOST. HIS COOKING CLASS IS A HUGE WASTE OF TIME AND MONEY. I HAVE MORE FUN AND LEARN MORE FROM WATCHING THE FOOD NETWORK AT HOME. DAVID ADJEY IS A JOKE EXPERIENCE. :)