Kids are notorious for being picky eaters, everyone knows that! Especially that priceless face of disappointment when a plate of brussels sprouts are shoved in front of them. But perhaps kids these days should aspire to be a little more open-minded to trying new things, something 12-year-old food critic Ryan Storm has made his duty to experience.
It’s remarkable that even at the tender age of six, Ryan carried around his little red notebook, jotting down the tasting notes of some of his favourite dishes. With the support of his parents, Ryan toured the Toronto restaurant scene and acquired some strong opinions along the way. This sparked the creation of his restaurant review/ratings blog, Ry’s Ratings. This ambitious little food critic stops at nothing to get his weekly farmers’ market dose, a favourite Saturday morning ritual for him and his family. As an advocate for eating locally sourced and sustainable foods, Ryan is upheaving the stereotype that kids are fussy eaters, and instead taking a serious approach as Toronto’s youngest foodie.
When and why did you start writing about food?
I was probably 6 years old when I first started rating food in a little red notebook I carried around, but I started writing my blog in December 2008, when I was 8 years old. I really wanted more computer time, and my mom suggested that I put my ratings online (she didn’t want me to just play video games!) and instead of just numbered ratings, I started writing actual reviews, and Ry’s Ratings was born!
What do you love most about food?
Eating it. Period.
What do you do when you aren’t writing about or eating food?
The things that I love to do most, besides my food blog and eating, are reading and playing or listening to music. Right now, I’m in a Phish/Trey Anastasio Band phase.
Do you cook? If so, what’s your speciality? If not, why?
Not so much. But when I do, my favourite thing to cook is Doug McNish‘s famous vegan potato salad. We cook at home as a family a lot, but I’m more into assembling and plating my dishes than actually cooking.
What’s your favourite type of food(s) and where do you go to get it?
Whatever happens to be sold at the Farmers’ Markets. I definitely believe that the markets are the best place to shop. I do have a weakness for cheese and mustard, both of which I get at the market!
What’s your hidden gem?
It’s not really that hidden, but not enough people know about how amazing Brick Works Market is! I just love spending every Saturday morning there.
What’s your go-to restaurant?
Definitely Pizzeria Libretto. It makes everyone happy, every time; no matter how they like to eat or what their special food needs are. Plus they take reservations at their Danforth location.
What’s the most memorable meal you’ve ever had?
Pure Food and Wine in New York City back in November 2010. It was an absolutely amazing treat for my 10th birthday.
What’s the one restaurant you have to try before you die?
There is not one that I know of. I just hope I get to experience a lot more restaurants before I die!
What’s your biggest restaurant pet peeve? (play nice)
When I’m at a restaurant that claims they are all about local, organic and sustainable food, but end up serving Heinz ketchup… well that just shouldn’t happen.