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What superchef Anthony Bourdain really thinks of Toronto

Anthony Bourdain

Ivy Knight/The Globe and Mail

Chef Anthony Bourdain's show No Reservations was nominated for four Emmys last week. How did he celebrate? With a peameal bacon sandwich from St. Lawrence Market's Carousel Bakery, of course. The famed U.S. writer and television host was in town this past weekend to shoot an episode for the second season of his other hit show, The Layover. Ivy Knight sat down with the outspoken chef over beers at The Gabardine to get his take on Toronto.


I like the niche mentality here, that you'd have a place dedicated to porchetta [Mr. Bourdain hit Dundas Street's Porchetta & Co. while in town] or hipster poutine or a truly great tostada, I always like to see that. The general sense that anything is possible, the attitude of do it yourself that seems new to me from the first time I came here.

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It is a city of surprises. The fact that over 50 per cent of the residents of Toronto are not from Canada, that is always a good thing, creatively, and for food especially. That is easily a city's biggest strength and it is Toronto's unique strength.


I'm intrigued by the fact that this is not a good-looking city … your English-Presbyterian past has not served you well architecturally. Like Sao Paulo, another city I really love, it's not a place that looks anywhere near as cool as it really is.


Celine Dion is not popular here, which I think speaks well of the city. I've met many people here who are proud to say they are not fans – I couldn't find anyone who would say that in Montreal.

Photo gallery from Ivy Knight's day with Mr. Bourdain.

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