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Gallery: Susur Lee, Michael Stadtländer and other notable Toronto chefs prepare soups of all kinds at Soupstock 2012

Soupstock 2012

(Image: Renée Suen)

An estimated 40,000 soup-seeking revellers and 200 chefs traveled to Woodbine Park last weekend to attend Soupstock 2012, the one-day culinary protest festival designed to raise awareness for the fight against the proposed mega-quarry in the Township of Melancthon. Building on the momentum generated from last year’s Foodstock, the Canadian Chef’s Congress and the David Suzuki Foundation convened the weekend’s festivities. Regardless of political affiliation, the sheer magnitude of the event was impressive: it’s a rare occasion that offers that many big-name city chefs (and, for that matter, that much soup).

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People

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Q&A with Bobby Flay: the Iron Chef talks to us about comfort food, Toronto dining and his Thanksgiving dinner for 55

Bobby Flay is a busy, busy man. In between flipping burgers with President Obama and opening up new restaurants (he launches his ninth Bobby’s Burger Palace next week), he finds time to shoot five TV shows and write cookbooks (he’s penned nearly a dozen). As if that weren’t enough, he also races horses and raises money for charitable causes. We caught up with the Iron Chef, who was in Toronto this past weekend hosting the Chef’s Challenge, a fundraiser that supports breast and ovarian cancer research at Mount Sinai hospital. Here’s what he told us:

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The Dish

Openings

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With Acadia, Scott Selland and Matt Blondin aim to shake up conservative Toronto palates

Blondin and Selland, fomenting revolution (Image: Will Fournier)

Despite the ethnic diversity of cuisine in Toronto, the city’s dining scene sometimes comes under fire for its lack of innovation. Acadia, a new venture by first-time owner Scott Selland (Splendido, Colborne Lane, Susur) and chef Matt Blondin (Colborne Lane, Senses, Rain), hopes to change that by bringing the unique flavour profiles of the east coast—from Louisiana and both Carolinas all the way up to the Maritimes—to Toronto’s sometimes conservative palate. We caught up with the pair to find out just what they’re up to.

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Food TV

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Top Chef Canada recap, episode 4: ethnic stuff white people like

The judges get their serious faces on as the losing teams walk out (Image: Food Network Canada/Insight Productions)

TOP CHEF CANADA
Season 1 | Episode 4

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First off, a confession: focusing on Top Chef Canada last night, as the ground-shaking results from the election poured in, was a little tough (we bet this episode’s ratings will agree). But fear not, election junkies–cum–Top Chef fans—we stuck it out so you didn’t have to (and then promptly switched to the CBC to find the Tory win had already been projected). Still, episode four—which featured Susur Lee, Toronto’s ethnic cuisines and, yes, more chefs in their underwear (hi, Dale!)—turned out to be pretty entertaining. After the jump, our recap of the Top Chef Canada episode you were too patriotic to watch.

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The Dish

Restaurants

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Wvrst, a new King West beer hall, to feature menu from “Southern Italy by way of Munich”

A couple weeks back, news broke that the space that once held Marc Thuet’s Conviction (which closed last fall and was previously Bite Me! and Bistro and Bakery Thuet) was turning into a loosely interpreted Munich-style beer hall called Wvrst. Recently, we caught up with chef and owner Aldo Lanzillotta to ask him about joining Hogtown’s sausage party.

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The Dish

Openings

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Introducing: Lee Lounge, the latest incarnation of Susur Lee’s King West space

Susur Lee presides over his new Lee Lounge (Image: Renée Suen)

After teasing a hungry public for over half a year, Susur Lee, arguably the city’s most internationally recognized chef, opened his newest venture Lee Lounge last week. Formerly Susur, and then Madeline’s, the room has undergone a striking transformation at the hands of Brenda Bent (Lee’s wife and business partner) and Karen Gable—the duo responsible for many of Lee’s spaces, including the neighbouring Lee.

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The Dish

Openings

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The latest on Susur Lee’s new restaurant: a name, a hallway and more

After weeks of speculation, we can finally report that Susur Lee’s new restaurant—the one opening in the same space as the original Susur and the short-lived Madeline’s—will be called Lee Lounge. The name may not earn five stars for creativity, but from what we hear, it is less about charting new territory and more about Toronto’s Asian sensation returning to his eastern roots.

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People

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Summit Scene: dispatch from inside the G20′s kitchens by local restaurateur John Lee

Flak jackets, photo badges and the K-9 unit are a rare sight at catering functions (more often a staple of the ensuing after-party), but they were in full force at Experience Canada, part of the G20 pavilion for the foreign press (think fake lake). I was there as a member of Nick Liu’s culinary team from the Niagara Street Café, invited to assist in presenting an Asian-inspired dish featuring local ingredients for international journalists. On the menu: General Tao sweetbreads on a bed of Asian slaw with jellyfish topped with cilantro, red pepper and sesame seeds.

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The Dish

Openings

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Just Opened: Knife, a Queen West shop devoted to the world’s best kitchen blades

Cutting edge: knives on display at Knife (Image: Jason Soo)

Tucked into a diminutive second-storey space at Queen West and Tecumseth, Knife feels like an art gallery: high-end Japanese blades are laid out on blood-red felt backdrops and showcased in white display cases. As the name suggests, this shop is devoted to the one truly indispensable kitchen tool: the knife.

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