Have you heard about Chef to Chef with Mark McEwan?

Getting to know a Torontonian chef isn’t the easiest endeavor. Usually, any details about them are captured in written media and center around their restaurant and its food. Sometimes these articles will include some tidbits about their past resume, but infrequently anything about their career journey or personal life.

Enter Chef to Chef, a new video documentary series by Mark McEwan where he interviews Torontonian at their restaurants. While there are the requisite food porn shots and discussions about the chef’s restaurant(s), a lot of the conversation is dedicated to their life – how did they become chefs, what are the highs and lows, and why they chose the food they use on their menus.

McEwan explains that in each interview he wants to get the interviewee to open up and honestly tell viewers how life is like being a chef. After all, with numerous restaurants, a catering company, and a luxury grocery store to his name, he has gone through the journey and knows it isn’t all roses. At the same time, he isn’t there to pry into personal details and wants them to feel comfortable.

The chefs he’s interviewed so far are very different: Grant van Gameren at Bar Isabel, Antonio Park at Pick 6ix, and Amanda Cohen at Dirt Candy (former Torontonian even though her restaurant is in NYC). Without giving up too much, there seems to be a common thread around all the interviews – that success is dependent on the people.

Whether it’s Chef van Gameren wishing the Toronto media would give his partners more credit when covering his joint ventures, Chef Park humbly giving credit to the teams that run his many restaurants, or Chef Cohen explaining why she chose to do away with gratuities at Dirt Candy and pay everyone a fair wage.

In November I had the pleasure of attending a party announcing Chef Suzanne Barr as the next chef Mark will be interviewing. Chef Barr is someone I’ve been hearing a lot about lately: she advocates for diversity in the kitchen and food security for all. From this, she has won so many accolades and to think she started out as an executive producer at MTV. I can’t wait to hear her conversation with McEwan!

You can find each episode on Amazon Prime or on their website. There’s no set schedule of when videos are released as this is a passion project where sponsors for each video must be found before it’s produced.

Maybe it has something to do with the interviewer being a fellow chef, but McEwan seems to know what to ask to tease further details out of everyone. It’s a program that people who love food should watch, it’ll help you grow an appreciation of how hard it is to open and run a restaurant. It’s also a great resource for those who want to become chefs and/or entrepreneurs, it’ll give you a small taste of the roadblocks to overcome.

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