Concluding with the choice words, “Just relax, let things go, and enjoy yourself!” Mary Chan echoes her take on life. Taking pleasure in the necessity of eating, she shares her food shots and her musings on her blog about what has since been in her belly, Eat, Drink, and be Mary. Are you ready to find out what she loves about Toronto dining and if there’s anything that can truly spoil a good supper? We are…
When and why did you start writing about food?
I’ve always liked taking pictures of everything, not food. Photos of friends, family, and vacations would go on Facebook, but those of pretty plates and desserts would never make it past my camera’s memory card. Then one day a friend came up to me and said, “These food pictures are great, why don’t you share these, too?” So April 2011 came around and I finally decided to start Eat, Drink, and be Mary, a website centered on my food adventures. Initially, this project was just for myself, but then more and more people started saying how much they enjoyed seeing the pictures and reading my blurbs. Even now, two years later, I think to myself, Whoa, what? You mean I’m not the only reader of this thing? I’m truly humbled that people would spend one or two of their valuable minutes in a day to stop by and see what’s been through my stomach.
What do you love most about food?
For being a necessity of life, food is the only thing that stimulates each and every one of your senses. The way it looks, smells, tastes, feels and even how it sounds is a combination that can make food a different experience for each person. I love that by changing just one aspect of a dish it will be a completely new and different experience. You just can’t get that with most things.
What do you do when you aren’t writing about or eating food?
I’m a big TV junkie and will watch just about any show. I have a running list of shows recommended by others to start watching, but I’m pretty sure I’ll never get through it all!
Do you cook? If so, what’s your specialty? If not, why?
I have a huge sweet tooth, which is probably why I love baking! Nothing is better than being in the presence of a freshly baked batch of cookies. More recently, I’ve been going through a certificate pastry program at George Brown College to build upon my domestically acquired baking skills.
What’s your favourite type of food(s) and where do you go to get it?
I love Japanese food. I like to try different places, and luckily with this recent influx of izakayas and ramen joints, there are plenty of places to get it from.
What’s your hidden gem?
It has an easily misunderstood name, but Sushi Bong is definitely a hidden gem worth trying. It’s been in business as long as I can remember, and the owner, Tony Bong, still works behind the counter to serve up ridiculously large sushi rolls for only a couple dollars!
What’s your go-to restaurant?
Guu Izakaya. Sharable plates, cheap beers, large communal tables and a cheerfully rowdy atmosphere guarantees a great night with your friends!
What’s the most memorable meal you’ve ever had?
My most memorable meal was at the Toronto location of O.Noir. You are serviced by visually impaired (but trained) workers, and dine in complete darkness. I was so clumsy. The experience made me appreciate the gift of sight.
What’s the one restaurant you have to try before you die?
If I haven’t tried it, how will I know I need to have it before I die? My last meal on earth would definitely be at my favourite steak house, Jacob’s and Co. If I’m going to die anyways, might as well stuff my face with red wine and red meat!
What’s your biggest restaurant pet peeve? (play nice)
I don’t really think I have one. I think sometimes we need to realize that even the best server or chef can have an off day. It’s impossible to be perfect 100% of the time, so just relax, let things go, and enjoy yourself!