Guest Chef

Zane Ca­plan­sky’s

Canadian Cycling Magazine - - CONTENTS - By Me­lanie Cham­bers

Zane Ca­plan­sky’s white borscht

Maybe it was the wine, but af­ter a lav­ish din­ner in L.A. a few years ago with fel­low chefs and friends Bob Blumer and Jeff Mahin (co-founder of Chefs Cy­cle for the No Kid Hun­gry char­ity ride), Zane Ca­plan­sky, the Toronto deli king, signed on to ride 300 miles in three days. The char­ity ride raises money to erad­i­cate child­hood hunger.

About 90 lb. over­weight at the time, and with­out a bike, Ca­plan­sky fin­ished about 75 per cent of the event. “The ride was one of the most pun­ish­ing and most phys­i­cally de­mand­ing things I have done in my life,” he said.

In 2019, he would re­turn to Chefs Cy­cle. This time, he trained, lost the weight and rode the en­tire race on a Gi­ant Defy Ad­vanced 2. “Be­ing able to pedal on the up­stroke and not hit my gut was amaz­ing,” he said. Next year, he is rid­ing again, in Ore­gon.

The bike is more than a work­out – it’s helped him en­dure per­sonal strug­gles and nav­i­gate a whirl­wind food ca­reer. Deli is in his blood. His great-grand­fa­ther owned a kosher deli, and his great-grand­mother sold deli sand­wiches on Spad­ina Street in Toronto. Af­ter sell­ing sand­wiches out of the city’s Monarch Tav­ern, he went on to open his own deli, Ca­plan­sky’s Del­i­catessen, on Col­lege Street in 2008. A dis­pute with the build­ing’s land­lord led to the clos­ing of the deli in 2018. He’s ap­peared on nu­mer­ous Food Net­work pro­grams, such as Din­ers,drive-in­sand­dives. Now, he has a deli at Toronto’s Pear­son Air­port and a kiosk at the sta­dium where the Blue Jays play.

His next rein­car­na­tion is the launch of a na­tional mus­tard tour. (Ca­plan­sky’s Mus­tards are sold in in­de­pen­dent gro­cery stores and on­line.) “I’m just look­ing for the per­fect mus­tard mo­bile,” he said. The tour will also in­clude two bikes, a Globe and Werk­cy­cle, painted mus­tard yel­low with front bas­kets for de­liv­er­ies.

He re­cently pur­chased a cy­clocross bike – some­thing he plans to ride on the beaches of his new home­town of Tofino, B.C. “The bike ride in 2016 was a spark,” he said. “A whole bunch of other things had to spark be­fore it be­came a flame. It has been life-chang­ing.”

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