Tawfik Shehata

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Food Events

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Weekly Eater: Toronto food events for June 18 to 24

(To Make a Farm plays Thursday at the Royal Cinema)

Monday, June 18

  • 86’D With Ivy Knight: Watch top chefs compete for the finest in sustainable ceviche at this annual battle. The Drake, 1150 Queen St. W., 416-531-5042. Find out more »
  • Canadian Beer News Dinner Series: Amsterdam Brewery vs. Flat Rock Cellars. Beast restaurant hosts a four-course dinner with both beer and wine pairings. 96 Tecumseth St., 647-352-6000. Find out more »
  • Super Foods for Super Health Workshop: Join Marni Wasserman for a workshop about nutrient-rich foods and what they can do for your health. Marni’s Kitchen, 26 Lauderdale Dr., 647-477-8131. Find out more »
  • Piola’s Monday Night Mixer: Piola’s weekly aperitivo italiano, with cocktail and beer specials and complimentary snacks. 1165 Queen St. W., 416-477-4652. Find out more »

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The Dish

Openings

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Introducing: Osteria 55, the rustic Italian successor to the short-lived Bowery

The Bowery quietly morphed into Osteria 55 a few weeks ago

A couple of weeks ago, The Bowery, which opened last year on Colborne Street with Tawfik Shehata at the helm, was quietly transformed into Osteria 55. Uniq Lifestyle Entertainment Group is still behind the space, but they’ve brought in a new front-of-house manager and consultant, John Chetti, of the always-packed Queen Margherita Pizza. With Chetti in charge, the space has gone from a somewhat nebulous “punk-meets-farm” concept to an unequivocally Italian osteria, open for both speedy corporate lunches and dinner.

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The Dish

Restaurants

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Tawfik Shehata’s The Bowery to join Colborne Street restaurant strip

(Image: Rick O'Brien)

We’re not convinced that a genteel little section of the St. Lawrence Market district will ever pass for The Bowery, the NYC art and culture hub with a seedy past, but Uniq Lifestyle Entertainment Group and chef Tawfik Shehata are going to give it a whirl. Maybe they’ll prove us wrong—Uniq’s portfolio of venues includes Brant House, Maro, Cheval, Cobra, Jacobs & Co. and The Ballroom. Creating something out of nothing is what these folks do.

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The Dish

Openings

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Introducing: The Ballroom, the downtown bowling alley with UFC and gourmet chicken wings

Until recently, Bathurst Bowlerama—site of kids’ parties and seniors’ leagues—has been the only option for downtowners looking to play a few frames. That is, until now. The much-anticipated Ballroom is now open in the old Montana’s space at John and Richmond. It’s billing itself as “Toronto’s newest interactive entertainment centre,” and with 20,000 square feet of space, nine lanes, two floors, 52 big-screen TVs and seven 12-by-six-foot projection screens, the claims appear to be justified.

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People

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Former Vertical chef Tawfik Shehata brings locavorism to new downtown bowling alley

Chef Tawfik Shehata was supposed to be taking it easy after he threw in the apron at Vertical, but the ambitious owners of The Ballroom—a new leisure complex opening in mid-December in the former Montana’s space on Richmond—made him an offer he couldn’t refuse. They want him to create a menu of local, sustainable, serious and seriously whimsical bowling alley food (yes, there will be actual bowling, too). We’re talking suburban classics, like hot dogs and burgers made from cuts of local beef, all ground in-house.

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People

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Tawfik Shehata is out at Vertical

After four-and-a-half years, the mastermind behind Vertical’s Mediterranean-infused menu, Tawfik Shehata, is now a culinary free agent. The celebrated chef won’t go into the finer details of why he’s no longer at Vertical, simply saying, “myself and the owners weren’t seeing eye-to-eye, and we had different views of how things should be done.”

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The Dish

Random Stuff

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The great scapes: five ways that Toronto chefs are using garlic shoots

A bunch of garlic scapes (Image: Joe Shlabotnik)

For the past few weeks, garlic scapes have been cropping up on menus throughout the city. An early summer treat, these shoots are the sweeter, mellower off-growth of the more pungent bulbs that come later in the season (cutting them from young plants helps the bulbs grow plumper). But as they are delectable in their own right, scapes have lately found a following from locavore chefs. Below, five ways of the best ways to enjoy scapes in Toronto right now.

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People

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Marijuana and haute cuisine: Toronto chefs on how some top kitchens are going to pot

Who's hungry? (Image: Torben Hansen)

The correlation between marijuana and the munchies is no secret, but a New York Times article that went viral a few weeks ago is taking the link to new heights. In the Big Apple’s “new kitchen culture,” haute cuisine is being influenced by chefs and kitchen staffers who find culinary inspiration by indulging in a little weed. We talked to a few Toronto chefs about the emerging trend and its breakthrough potential in Toronto.

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The Dish

Neighbourhoods

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The Path Guide: 24 spots worth getting lost for

(All photos by Karon Liu)

Even those who were born and raised in Toronto have a hard time navigating the city’s underground labyrinth, with its dead ends, identical food courts and utterly useless maps—not to mention the complete lack of sunlight, which can drive a person mad. Still, the world’s largest below-ground shopping complex is like a city of its own, with lots of unique shops, restaurants and attractions that are worth the slight possibility of getting cabin fever. An added incentive for people going to a game or a concert: most of the restaurants offer free parking. Here are 24 places to check out.

The Dish

Restaurants

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Five 2010 trends to watch: we ask Jamie Kennedy, Anthony Walsh, David Lee and other chefs what to look for in the coming year

Bespoke Bread from Marc Thuet (Photo by Renée Suen)

Bespoke bread from Marc Thuet (Photo by Renée Suen)

It’s no secret that 2009 was rough for restaurants—“It’s a year a lot of restaurateurs are happy to see go,” says C5’s Ted Corrado—but with the new year almost a month old, optimism is back on the table. We talked to some of the city’s top chefs about five culinary trends for the coming year.

1. Less Is More
Small, chef-run restaurants that are down-to-earth in both atmosphere and culinary style. Chef Jamie Kennedy, who’s focusing on the Gilead Bistro, a decidedly more casual restaurant than the Wine Bar he sold last fall, anticipates more “chef-driven” spots like J.P. Challet’s Ici Bistro and Grant van Gameren’s Black Hoof. Claudio Aprile, who’s working on his second restaurant, Origin, agrees: “I’m hoping that we see a lot more restaurants that are open kitchen, 30 seats, three line cooks.”

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