The Chefs' House has now been re-imagined as TCH Market
Like everything else on the planet, Canada’s top culinary schools have been deeply impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, including the iconic George Brown College Centre for Hospitality and Culinary Arts in downtown Toronto.
Classes were abruptly cancelled back in March, and the institute scrambled to reschedule everything — keep in mind, the myriad of kitchen laboratories where students, in proper whites, were constantly at work creating amazing dishes as part of their curriculum — all being suddenly put on hold.
That said, the school is open, with new itineraries, more online learning, and smaller classrooms. And students cooking in the industrial kitchens again.
One of the shining stars of George Brown is its Chefs’ House on King St. E., a formal, sit-down restaurant where many new chefs honed their skills under the excellent guidance of the school. It closed because of the pandemic — but it has recently been reimagined as a new type of food spot where customers can shop for dinner to go, purchase grab-and-go meals, food products and so much more. It’s absolutely amazing — and all delicious!
Rebranded as TCH Marketplace, it offers everything from breakfast sandwiches to hot daily specials, take-home prepared meals, butcher’s block, meat selection, pantry items and more.
“It has been reimagined from its original setting as a restaurant,” says award-winning Chef John Higgins, head of the school’s culinary department and, in a sense, the voice of George Brown. “After months of planning, and going through stringent health and safety and COVID-19 protocols … it’s now up and ready.
“Every single step of its reinvention has been carefully planned. The faculty team has been absolutely superb and the students are very excited.”
Higgins says what is also being reimagined is the role of the chef. “With very few industry placements available to students, we are in in essence the industry placement — so the students are wearing many hats. You can have someone specializing in baking and pastry arts also working in other aspects of the kitchen, including making the main dishes.
“We’re looking at everything through a difference lens now.”
What’s of interest is “the return to basics. People today are looking for good, solid sustenance. They want real food. Things like decent mashed potatoes, a satisfying beef Bourguignon. People are getting away from the fancy stuff because of how the world has changed … today it’s getting back to basic cooking.”
Higgins says the school is back to a new normal and “all told, it’s going well. Like any other teaching institution, we roll with the changes. Our industry is changing — and it will continue to change. Many chefs are putting away their tweezers and looking at a plate of food not so much as a work of art but as a vessel to feed someone a good, satisfying, nourishing meal.
“We know what is happening today, and we’re dealing with it. Tomorrow may be a completely different scenario … we just work with it and move forward.”
– George Brown The Chefs’ House (THC) Marketplace, 215 King St. E., Toronto, Monday-Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Thechefshouse.com #GeorgeBrown #ChefsHouse
SHOP TIL YOU DROP
GETTING PRIMED FOR PET ADOPTION: There have been many positives coming out of the pandemic — one of them being how many family pets are being happily adopted. There’s been a real surge these last few months, yet more and more pets are looking for their forever homes as animal shelters across the country remain overwhelmed with surrendered, abandoned and lost pets in need of a good home.
Enter PetSmart Charities of Canada National Adoption Days, taking place until Sept. 30. And this year, the event has gone totally virtual.
“This year’s event differs from years’ past, offering a virtual component to help prospective pet parents jump start their adoption journey from the comfort of their homes,” say company organizers in a recent release. “At petsmart.ca/adoptions , users can search by postal code and view hundreds of adoptable animals from more than 186 animal welfare organizations across the country.” You can customize your search and specify what kind of pet you are looking for. Once you do, organizers will reach out and schedule meet-and-greets with adoption partners before visiting your local PetSmart to finalize the adoption process.
Plus, PetSmart will be providing a free adoption kit worth more than $300 in savings for all the supplies you’ll need, including a coupon for a free bag of dog or cat food.
“With so many shelters overwhelmed with fewer resources, now is the perfect time to adopt a pet in need,” says Aimee Gilbreath, president of PetSmart Charities and PetSmart Charities of Canada, in a recent release. “Not only can you help reduce the strain on shelters and change a pet’s life, but you’ll also benefit from the support and unconditional love that pets provide.”
LIQUIDATION CENTRE CHOCOLATE, FOOTWEAR AND WINTER COATS: I recently discovered a new warehouse sale in Toronto’s west end where there were plenty of deals on everything from high-end chocolate to quality winter coats, footwear, accessories, purses, toiletries, linens and more. Prices were excellent (fall coats with regular price tag of $200 on sale for $40, brand-name coats regularly $600 on sale for $200) and more. Chocolates (name brands included Toblerone, Lindt) were fresh — some had expiration dates closing in on 2020, but otherwise all good and fresh, with lots to choose from. Company is strictly following safety guidelines. Sale’s currently on, check out the website for more details, and check sale dates carefully.
– Liquidation Centre Chocolate, Footwear and Winter Coats, Sept. 17-20, 24-27, 4220 Steeles Ave. W. (west of Weston Rd.), Thursdays-Fridays, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. second location at Markham Fairgrounds. Facebook.com/Liquidation-Event-Center .
ECCO SHOE POP-UP AT TORONTO’S STACKT MARKET: The famous Danish heritage brand is popping up starting Sept. 19 and featuring the company’s latest in footwear for the whole family. This brand is known for its hi-tech craftsmanship and elegant finishes and footwear curated for fall and winter. There will also be a selection DIY Ecco small leather goods. As well, to support their Stackt neighbours, ECCO has collaborated with Courage Cookies, Pearl & Bean and Belgian Moon Brewery.
– ECCO Shoe Pop-Up, Sept. 19 to Oct. 24. Toronto’s Stackt Market is located at the intersection of Front & Bathurst (easily reached by foot, bike, transit, or car.) Stacktmarket.com / Ecco.com/en/stackt.html / Eccocanada.com .
FREDA’S MOVING SALE: After 35 years, Freda, that name in elegant, inspiring women’s fashion, is moving, and the company has reduced the entire summer stock with major discounts — some items up to 80% off the regular retail. Of course, mandatory masks and social distancing rules apply. Check out the website for more details.
– Freda’s Moving Sale, 86 Bathurst St. (south of King St. W.), Monday-Saturday, 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., Thursdays, 9:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., closed Sundays; Fredas.com/shop .
MEGA CLEARANCE SALE: Is now on in Mississauga and featuring major savings on all sorts of electronics, furniture, home appliances, footwear, bedding household items — you need it, you’ll probably find it there! Name brands include Panasonic, Salton, Black and Decker, Dirt Devil and more. Great deals on 3-ply face masks and face shields, not to mention disinfectants and hand sanitizers. Sale’s on for the next few weeks.
– Mega Clearance Sale, 455 Gibraltar Dr., Mississauga, Monday-Sunday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. @Megasales1313.
Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2020