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
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,
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