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Two more Whole Foods outlets are coming to Toronto

(Photo by Paul Heaberlin)

Organic über-market Whole Foods is continuing its march toward world domination by doubling its number of GTA stores. The Post reports that the two new locations, which will be the same size as the downtown outlet, will open at the Hullmark Centre near Yonge and Sheppard (right where the rumours dictated) in 2013 and at Square One next year. The suburbanization of Whole Foods comes after the company discovered that many of its Yorkville customers presently drive  in from the city’s fringes. The openings are in contrast with the strategies of such supermarkets as Metro, Loblaws, Longo’s and Sobey’s, which are focusing on downtown expansions. Of course, Whole Foods has never been afraid to do things a little differently: the CEO recently announced that the store would base its employee discounts on workers’ BMI indexes.

Whole Foods to double its GTA footprint [National Post]
• Whole Foods to give greater employee discounts to workers with lower BMI, cholesterol [New York Post]

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The 13 weird things we learned about John Mackey, Whole Foods honcho

John Mackey: fan of frolf, Freidman and food (Photo by Joe M500)

John Mackey: fan of frolf, Friedman and food (Photo by Joe M500)

The New Yorker’s recent profile of John Mackey, the CEO of Whole Foods, makes one thing pretty clear: American Apparel and Dunder Mifflin have a new rival for the title of World’s Kookiest Boss. The massive article shines some light on the enigmatic businessman, and we took particular interest, as rumours are still circulating about a third GTA location of Whole Foods.

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London named world’s top vegetarian city, banning Christmas cookie decorations, more French wines under $30

Beware the bedazzled cupcake (Photo by Ilena)

Beware the bedazzled cupcake (Photo by Ilena)

• How safe are dragées, those weird decorative silver balls that often find their way onto desserts during the holidays? The FDA suggests that they should be used only for decoration, and they’ve disappeared from California after a lawyer argued that the silver could build up toxicity in the body over time. We couldn’t help but wonder who would miss the gaudy garnishes, but some are apparently enamoured with them. “I think Christmas is going to have to come to an end,” said one melodramatic caterer of California’s dragée ban. “How can we decorate cookies without those silver balls?” [Epicurious]

• London, England, has been declared by PETA to be the most vegetarian-friendly city in the world, beating out New York, Melbourne and even Mumbai. PETA cited London’s pantheon of meat-free restaurants and its variety of meatless ethnic cuisine as reasons why it trumped all other cities. The famously vegetarian Paul McCartney lauded the decision: “After 40 years of touring as a vegetarian, I’m proud to say that when it comes to eating, there’s no place like home.” [Daily Telegraph]

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Whole Foods gets some competition, Rosie DiManno’s Halloween hijinks, rethinking turkey dinners

Fowl fun: Daniel Boulud, Wylie Dufresne and David Shea put together turkey dinners for New York magazine (Photo by Doug Shick)

Fowl fun: Daniel Boulud, Wylie Dufresne and David Shea put together turkey dinners for New York magazine (Photo by Doug Shick)

• New York challenges three chefs to create a Thanksgiving meal using such classic ingredients as turkey, brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, stuffing, pumpkin and oysters. It’s a bit late for the Canadian version of the holiday, but it does give us plenty of time to prepare for Christmas dinner. [New York]

• After taking her niece and nephew trick-or-treating on the Bridle Path this weekend, Rosie DiManno concludes that the residents are “pikers and meanies, folks who’d begrudge a youngster a licorice swirl.” Most homes, in fact, weren’t handing out sweets at all, and one of the children declared it the “worst Halloween ever.” [Toronto Star]

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Black garlic takes Toronto, Christopher Walken chickens out, the world’s largest hamburger

• Christopher Walken has posted a YouTube video showcasing his cooking skills. In the video “Man Makes Chicken With Pears,” Walken walks viewers through the whole recipe. Emeril he is not. His kitchen reminds us of our first apartment, complete with cat sniffing around the food. Our favourite quote? “I love this chicken neck,” he says with his trademark spookiness. “It’s great.” [YouTube]

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Robot chefs, 10 best American restaurants, Whole Foods boycott

Meal-o-matic: is this the future of food?

Meal-o-matic: is this the future of food? (Photo by Bonnie Burton)

• Chinese restaurant chain I Robot is being picketed by chefs who say their robot counterparts—which each do the job of five humans—are putting them out of work. The restaurants in Guangxi province need only one lonely food chopper to stock ingredients; the robots prepare whatever the waiter punches into a computer. Manager Huang Xianghao had discouraging words for the disgruntled chefs: “The robot chefs are more efficient and hygienic. And they don’t complain.” [Austrian Times]

Bon Appetit has named its favourite 10 new American restaurants and recommended dishes to try at each. Manhattan didn’t make the cut, but Brooklyn’s No. 7 represented the five NYC boroughs with its pumpkin seed–crusted tofu. The clam and calamari seafood stew got Mado of Chicago on the list, alongside Hungry Mother in Cambridge, The Greenhouse Tavern in Cleveland and Bar Jules in San Francisco. [Canadian Press]

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Seth Rogen as Martin Picard, obtaining a perfect peach, America’s most bizarre restaurants

Life's a peach: this year's crop is the best in years (Photo by Bruce Tuten)

Life's a peach: this year's crop is the best in years (Photo by Bruce Tuten)

• The cool, rainy spring that kept tomatoes green has actually been good for the peach crop. The New Jersey Peach Council says this is the best peach season in years. While the Peach Council may be biased, we say bring on the cobblers. [New York Times]

• With the success of Julie and Julia, the National Post is predicting that more foodie flicks are on the way. Brad Frenette wonders why no one’s made a movie about Marie-Antoine Careme, the orphan turned pâtissière who cooked for Napoleon, George IV and Tsar Alexander. Other suggestions: a film about wild chef Martin Picard played by Seth Rogen, and a Daniel Craig rendition of Gordon Ramsay. [National Post]

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Mark McEwan predicts that Torontonians will “get” his North York version of Dean & Deluca

Mark McEwan, shopkeep

Mark McEwan, shopkeep (Photo by Nikki Leigh McKean)

We’ve been hearing about McEwan—Mark McEwan’s proposed gourmet grocery store—for what seems like eons now. News about it broke in late 2007, with an opening date set for January 2009. But then we were told we’d have to wait another five months. Now, even though controversy is brewing over the store’s gentrifying effects, we are told that the suspense is almost over. Come June, the Bymark chef will open the doors to his supermarket at Lawrence and Don Mills. He envisions the size of his store as somewhere between Pusateri’s and Whole Foods, with aisles of gourmet ingredients and prepared foods tended by employees offering restaurant-style service.

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Canada’s top chef announced, Whole Foods beats the odds, food bank use increases in Toronto

• City hall is considering an Urban Food Production policy that will allow Torontonians to sell veggies they’ve grown at home. [Town Crier]

• Calgary chef Hayato Okamitsu beat out five other top toques this weekend, including Senses’ Patrick Lin, at the Canadian Culinary Championships in Banff. [Calgary Sun]

• Cutting back on costs to accommodate the needs of frugal shoppers has benefited Whole Foods, whose quarterly profit exceeded Wall Street estimates. [Reuters]

• The use of food banks across Toronto has grown by 7.6 per cent over past year, with the largest increase in Scarborough. [Toronto Star]

• A new study by the University of Michigan shows that for every fast food restaurant in a neighbourhood, the risk of stroke in the community increases by one per cent. [eCanada Now]

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Obamamania on the Danforth, Ontario’s teen super-chef, Maple Leaf’s $27-million payout

A whole new way to do proscutto (Photo by sniffette)

A whole new way to do proscutto (Photo by sniffette)

• We predicted Obamamania spawning “yes we can” ad campaigns and a surge in sales of political T-shirts, but we didn’t foresee it giving the restaurant industry a boost. The Obama Café is set to open its doors at Greenwood and Danforth this week. [National Post]

• It hurt at the time, but Torontonians can now consider themselves lucky to have lost Virgin Atlantic’s direct flight to London. The inflight meals are unpalatable, at least according to one passenger’s hilariously detailed letter of complaint to Richard Branson. [The Telegraph]

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