A big slice of nos­tal­gia from Chef Rose

The Last Sch­maltz has the great­est hits from Toronto chef An­thony Rose’s restau­rants James Beard Foun­da­tion to di­ver­sify its cov­eted awards

StarMetro Vancouver - - THE FEED - Karon Liu CHEF AC­CO­LADES Tim Carman

The first time chef An­thony Rose had a patty melt was at the Amer­i­can diner chain Mel’s Drive-in while he was work­ing at var­i­ous San Fran­cisco kitchens af­ter go­ing to culi­nary school there in the early ’90s. He was skep­ti­cal as the big guy with the vo­ra­cious ap­petite often went for the big ba­con cheese­burg­ers. But af­ter see­ing ta­ble af­ter ta­ble order the sim­ple sand­wich, a hy­brid of a burger and a grilled cheese, he fell in love with it: the juicy patty sweet­ened with grilled onions and melted cheese be­tween two slices of but­tered toast. When he opened his first restau­rant, Rose and Sons, he knew he had to put it on the menu.

Rose’s cook­ing very much veers into the din­ers, drive-ins and dives cat­e­gory as shown

Get the recipe for Rose’s clas­sic patty melt at

in the recipes in his de­but cook­book, The Last Sch­maltz, co-writ­ten with Toron­to­based food and travel writer Chris Johns. It’s a compendium of recipes from Rose’s mini restau­rant em­pire in Toronto: Rose and Sons, Big Crow, Fat Pasha, Sch­maltz Ap­pe­tiz­ing,

thes­tar.com/food

Bar Be­go­nia, Madame Boeuf and the for­mer Swan diner, which re­opened as Le Swan un­der restau­ra­teur Jen Agg at the end of Septem­ber. The dishes are clearly in­spired by some of the city’s beloved and old­est restau­rants be they a chopped veg­etable salad from Chi­nese restau­rant/steak house House of Chan, or the now-closed Steak Pit, which Rose calls in the book “the best worst steak house ever” that was fa­mous for its ribs with a “Mexican”style sauce. The places that in­spire Rose aren’t top­ping any best-of restau­rant lists, but are re­mem­bered for their kitschy decor and com­fort­ing and in­dul­gent clas­sics.

“I like these old-school places with the red vel­vet and mir­rors, where you’ll get gar­lic bread and chopped veg­eta­bles to start your meal,” he says. “These restau­rants look fancy but it’s just about eat­ing sim­ple, good food, and the food at Rose and Sons has that sim­ple rich­ness. You know what you’re go­ing to get when you go there.”

Nos­tal­gia plays a big role in Rose’s cook­ing, which ex­plains why the book is laid out like a scrap­book with art­fully stained pages, hand-scrawled notes and pho­tos with a yel­low tinge. Adrian Miller, who won a James Beard Award in 2014, wel­comed the changes be­ing made by the James Beard Foun­da­tion. More than two-thirds of the win­ners at this year’s James Beard Awards were women or peo­ple of colour or both — a dra­matic shift for a cer­e­mony that has his­tor­i­cally re­warded the ef­forts of mostly white, mostly male chefs.

The Beard Foun­da­tion wants to make sure its awards gala — often con­sid­ered the Os­cars of the food world — was not an anom­aly, but an early sign that the or­ga­ni­za­tion will con­tinue to hon­our the ever-ex­pand­ing di­ver­sity of the culi­nary and food-writ­ing com­mu­ni­ties.

To that end, the foun­da­tion has an­nounced changes to its poli­cies and pro­ce­dures to pro­mote in­clu­sion at all lev­els of the awards process. Among the changes are ef­forts to di­ver­sify the pow­er­ful com­mit­tees that help de­cide the nom­i­nees.

Read more at thes­tar.com/life

AN­DREW FRAN­CIS WAL­LACE/TORONTO STAR

RYAN DEARTH/NEW YORK TIMES FILE PHOTO

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