Toronto Chefs Just Told Us How They’ll Be Spending Their V-Day In Lockdown
It's the most romantic time of the year, and while this Valentine's Day may be different due to the pandemic, it's not stopping people from celebrating their love.
Some of Toronto's most popular chefs are spending the holiday with their favourite people and (of course) good food.
Chefs across the city shared their special plans with Narcity and told us how they intend to cook up the perfect day.
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Nuit Regular of Kiin, Sabai Sabai, Sukhothai and PAI
Nuit Regular is planning to spend the day enjoying delicious food with her husband, Jeff.
"Jeff and I usually have a date brunch the morning of Valentine's Day. We would go out to one of the local restaurants in our neighbourhood, like Lady Marmalade, and just spend the morning together over brunch.
Because our wedding anniversary is in January and Jeff goes all out to create these wonderful surprises for me every year, I like to treat him on Valentine's Day.
This year, because of COVID, I plan to cook a special brunch for the two of us, featuring some of Jeff's favourite foods. Then we will spend the rest of the day celebrating and spending time with our daughter, as her birthday is actually on Valentine's Day.
For me, Valentine's Day is all about being with the people you love, and that's my family."
Rob Gentile, formerly of the Buca Restaurants
Rob Gentile told Narcity he'll be enjoying the day with his wife, Audrey, and daughter, Clarice.
"Every year since my daughter was born (4 now), I make a point to give her a single rose and let her know she’s my valentine. She’s already asking about Valentine’s Day [and] loves special days. I’m sure most kids do.
I think I’m going to do breakfast for my girls in the morning. Flowers, fresh croissants, scrambled eggs (all Clarice’s favourite) and mimosas for mama.
I'll figure something out to surprise [my wife] with. She loves white cake or cupcakes. The Momofuku birthday cake is her fave. Not much of a flower girl — she likes food."
Susur Lee of Lee, Lee Kitchen, and Kid Lee
Susur Lee told Narcity he'll be spending Valentine's Day at work creating special meals for his customers.
"I want to make sure I do a very nice job [...] some of the staff I haven't seen for a long time because they've been laid off. I'm excited to see them again and to be working that night."
He also mentioned that the pandemic has allowed him and his wife Brenda to spend more time together this year.
"Valentine's is not one specific day for us [...] I have never cooked for my wife for so many days, ever," he said.
"Now we can actually sit down and have lunch and have dinner. It makes it very, very special with the vibe of Valentine's, and you can just feel it in the air."
He's also ensuring his son gives his special someone a proper Valentine’s Day.
"I have to make sure that I reserve some roses for my son's girlfriend, and just remind him to pick it up," he laughed.
Jordan Harasinski Gillis of Tokyo Hot Fried Chicken
Jordan Harasinski Gillis told Narcity that after a busy year, he's ready to have a relaxing day with his girlfriend Jessica.
"We're coming up on one year of dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic and as an essential worker and small business owner, I haven't had much of a chance to take a break. This Valentine's Day weekend is all about taking a couple of days off to refuel and recharge, so we can keep going strong through 2021.
There isn't much we can do to celebrate, but I still plan to make the most of it with my girlfriend of 10 years. We're planning on cooking up a nice big meal — surf and turf, maybe, or pasta. Depends on how adventurous we are. When we're nice and stuffed, we'll kick back and enjoy some Netflix.
Considering the year we have had, I think this Valentine's Day should include some form of self-care, whether you're single or attached."
Roger Mooking of Food Network Canada
Roger Mooking is using this special occasion to enjoy some time with his children and wife Leslie.
"We have four young kids and are locked in our house for COVID. At best we may turn it into a family event and do a car picnic. That’s where we jump in the car and drive to the remotest corner of a restaurant parking lot, I call ahead for curbside pickup in a double mask, and come back to the car and lay out all the food and we eat inside the car.
All the steam from the hot food fogs up the car windows and the car shakes from all the activity inside. I guess from the outside looking in, it may seem like something more than it is, but it is NOT. Then we drive straight back home and call it the highlight of our lives. COVID Valentine's."
Janet Zuccarini of Gusto and Chubby's Jamaican
Janet Zuccarini and Robbie are going to celebrate their love with some delicious food.
"Los Angeles is open for outdoor dining, so after all of the cooking I have done during Covid, it's time to take a break and support local restaurants.
Robbie and I will be going to our favourite restaurant, Felix, (okay, we may be biased) and yes, we love celebrating this holiday!"