Toronto's 'comfort food king' Anthony Rose publishes his first cookbook: The Last Schmaltz
As the chef and co-owner of popular restaurants like Fat Pasha, Schmaltz Appetizing and Rose and Sons, Anthony Rose has been dubbed Toronto's King of Comfort Food, the Don of Dupont and Sultan of Smoked Meat. The Last Schmaltz, written with food critic Chris Johns, is his first book — a mixture of recipes (including his famous All-Day Breakfast and Whole Roasted Cauliflower) and vibrant memories of cooking for Toronto foodies and sharing meals with those closest to him.
Getting things cooking
"I'd never written a book before. I couldn't wrap my head around where to start. So I kind of went home one night and for whatever reason I thought to myself the best way for me to write a book was to write a book. Everything came from my house. I found my son's old notepad and I started taking pieces of my house and pasting it in there and coming up with ridiculous titles and things that I wanted in there. That's the beginning of how I wrote a book."
Mother may I?
"My mother and I have a wonderful relationship. But her kitchen is very much her kitchen. So I learned very early that if I was toasting bread or boiling water in her kitchen, it was done in her way. I could never do it my way. She always had something to say about everything and it's still that way to this day. So I would wait for when my parents when out — they were away on vacation or out for the weekend — that's when I would cook. I would cook for my brother and my sister. Back then it was macaroni and cheese — Kraft Dinner with hot dogs in it, very Canadiana. I would make eggs. I would burn things and I would just experiment with the microwave, which I don't use at all anymore."
The perfect introduction
"We had asked many people to do the introduction. I think the last person that I asked was Naomi Duguid who is one of the greatest cookbook authors of all time. She lives in Toronto and I know her fairly well. She calls me and she's like, 'Listen, I loved the book. I think it's amazing, but you really need someone that knows you so well to do the introduction.' I kind of went away from that sad. But then it clicked to me: Oh, my mum can do this."
Anthony Rose's comments have been edited for length and clarity.