Our interview this month features compelling culinary writer and food enthusiast Kimberly Toureiro of the Kitchen Sprout. For longer than I can remember, her original recipes and reviews of restaurants throughout the Toronto area have kept me coming back for more. Add to this that her food- and drink-related Twitter offerings are always insightful, humorous, and never fail to make me glad that I came to follow her, and it’s easy to see why I was excited for this interview. Kimberly talked with me on topics including her restaurant bucket list, food and wine pairing, and her personal childhood influences with regard to cooking and eating.
Flavorful World: In 2014, you attended a media tasting at an establishment that you wrote about, stating it had been on your bucket list for quite a while. What are the top three restaurants currently on your bucket list, and what aspect(s) of each place is the biggest draw for you in terms of wanting to eat there?
Kimberly Toureiro: My top 3 bucket list restaurants in Toronto all fall in the same category, I am not one who possess a “sweet-tooth” but a “BEEFTOOTH” I have chosen the 3 top rated steak-houses. These three establishments Carmen’s Steakhouse, Morton’s Steakhouse, and Hy’s Steakhouse are known as Toronto steak-staples and are an integral part of our “food scene”. The TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival) is upon us, it is for certain that one if not all three of these steakhouses will be catering to the plethora of stars that have landed in our city. Each of these steakhouses have been hailed as the BEST STEAK in our city, for over 30 plus years. Ideally, I would like to taste all three in a week and finally come to my own conclusion, of the ULTIMATE STEAK in Toronto.
FW: August 1st marked Food Day Canada 2015. Outline a 3-course menu to observe the holiday and tell us why those foods are fitting for the occasion.
KT: The 3 course meal I would recommend for “Food Day Canada” is our three staples of all that is “Canadiana”! The appetizer is our famed Poutine originating in the province of Quebec, made with french fries, cheese curds, topped with a light brown gravy like sauce. This Canadian classic has come a long way from the basic description, we now have poutine that are gourmet, topped with lobster, beef cheek, foie gras, the list goes on and on. A true, must have! The entree would be either Cedar-Plank Salmon or Lobster, both our West and East coast are abundant in these two delectable delights. Lobster is such a staple, that this summer McDonald’s for the month of July created a “Canadian Menu” and of course there was a lobster roll. Lastly, for the quintessential dessert of Canada it is our famed Butter Tarts. The tart consists of butter, sugar, syrup and egg, filled into a flaky pastry and baked until filling is semi-solid with a crunchy top. These tarts are celebrated every year in May, there are several “Butter Tart” festivals all throughout Canada to salute this iconic palate pleaser.FW: How would you describe Toronto cuisine to someone who has never visited the area, and what would be the first three dishes you recommended new visitors sample?
KT: Toronto is one of the most muti-cultural cities in Canada, there are several options of cuisine to choose from. To be honest, there is no describing it’s cuisine, it’s so eclectic, there truly is no borders. One can have Greek, Italian, Indian, Spanish, Caribbean, Thai, Filipino, Russian, etc. As for recommending 3 dishes to a tourist, it is truly up to their palate, again the selection is so vast. There is not a dish that I call Toronto, in fact, Toronto dining is simply; GLOBAL.
FW: Wine love is a frequent subject of your tweets. Tell us what wine you would pair with each of the following 3 foods, and why you chose it: 1. Garlic shrimp linguine. 2. Beef teriyaki. 3. Grilled rosemary lamb chops.
KT: Garlic Shrimp Linguine would be served with a Pinot Grigio, it pairs effortlessly with light fish dishes. Light seafood dishes seem to take on more flavor when matched with equally delicate white wines, such as Pinot Grigio or Arnels from Italy or Chablis France.
Beef Teriyaki my pairing would be a Malbec, the ripe fruit flavors in the wine match the sauce’s sweetness, the oak influence in the wine compliments the smoky, grilled flavors, and the full body helps it stand up to the teriyaki’s intense profile.
Grilled Rosemary Lamb Chops this pairing depends on the rub or marinade. If it’s spicy you’ll need a wine with some sweet fruit like a Chilean Carbernet, Pinotage or an Austrailian Shiraz. If it’s marinated, Greek-style, with lemon and herbs look for a wine with a bit less fruit and a bit more acidity. (Italian reds such a Chianti, Barbera for this description). Crisp Greek wines like Assyritko and strong dry roses are also enjoyable.
FW: In a recent post, you call being exposed early in life to bold flavors like Tabasco sauce one of the guideposts to your current vocation. What other childhood eating/cooking influence(s) do you credit as having had the greatest effect on your culinary writing and recipe development?
KT: My father was my greatest influence for writing and cooking. He himself was a double English major with a Latin back, his command of the English language has bewitched me my entire life, naturally I too was a double English major with a Latin back. As for the cooking aspect, my father is a very passionate and animated individual, when my mother prepared a meal to his liking, the accolades and praise were so boisterous that I am sure it echoed through the neighborhood how content he was. I as a little girl, was ignited by seeing his enthusiasm for eating, I made my mind up then; when I cook, I want whom ever the recipient, to respond in the same fashion.
FW: Your NFLFemale.com Official Fan Reporter bio references your mother’s Latin roots and your father’s German heritage. If you were to develop a single recipe that embodies the fusion of both parts of your background, what would the dish be?
KT: Ironically enough, Guatemala’s #1 country that they export their famed black beans to is Germany. That being said, I would do a spin on German Sausages and Guatemalan black beans. I would choose a Bratwurst with a beautiful snap on the skin, season the black beans with onions, garlic and fresh cilantro, equating in the ultimate play on pork & beans; fusion style. At times, the greatest form of sophistication is found in simplicity.
FW: What food event have you not yet attended but would be a dream come true to go to someday? What makes you want to attend this one more than any other?
KT: The food event that I would love to partake in was actually executed last night at Toronto’s Waterfront. It’s a uber exclusive invite only for “Diner en Blanc”, with a back drop of the CN Tower. Now in their 5th year, at the last minute, the location is given to thousands of friends and acquaintances who have been patiently waiting to learn the “Diner en Blanc” secret place. Thousands of people, dressed all in white, and conducting themselves with the greatest decorum, elegance, and etiquette, all meet for a mass “chic picnic” in a public space. Le “Diner en Blanc” recalls the elegance and glamour of court society, and diners engage one another knowing they are taking part in a truly magical event. Over the course of the evening, the diners enhance the function and value of their city’s public space by participating in the unexpected. Beyond the spectacle and refined elegance of the dinner itself, guests are brought together from diverse backgrounds by a love of beauty and good taste.
FW: Excluding the name of any of your pre-existing blogs, websites, or print/online personas, tell us what name you would give to your memoir about your culinary exploits?
KT: I feel that “Epic Eats” would be most suited, for I may be invited to several menu launches and restaurant openings but I only will write about the ones that actually evoke me to share with the world, whats emanating from their kitchen. If I don’t like a menu or restaurant, I dare not write a review for the thought of someone’s livelihood being affected by the power of my words, is too much for my conscience.
FW: When you aren’t cooking and/or eating delicious foods to enjoy with delicious wines, how do you most enjoy spending your time?
KT: When I am not attending menu launches, grand openings and wine tastings, I am found hosting elaborate dinner parties at least 3 times a week. Once again the satisfaction I gain from watching people eat, is beyond words. I also am fortunate enough to have several peers whom have either cottages or boats, as weekend escapes from the hustle and bustle of downtown core living.
*Note to Readers: Kimberly Toureiro is The Kitchen Sprout, your source for eating your way through Toronto in style and leisure. Kimberly Toureiro is also an Official Homegating Fan Reporter for NFLFemale.com, with a knack for posting recipes that make me hungry. Visit her there, that she may do the same for you. Then head over to follow her on Twitter and you’ll be able to rest assured that your have vastly improved your access to great eating and drinking, whether you choose to dine in or out.