When you’re the man behind a restaurant that’s dedicated to cheese, it’s totally fair to refer to yourself “the Big Cheese.” In fact, it’s almost a requirement. Kevin Durkee, founder of CHEESEWERKS, runs one of the only Canadian restaurant that focuses on cheese and if you’ve yet to go, you’re missing out on some of the most mouth-watering deliciousness only a true lover of the beloved dairy food group could come up with. We caught up with Durkee to find out more about his inspiration behind CHEESEWERKS and what his favourite cheesy plates are at his resto.
Give us a snippet about you. What should people know?
Besides being the Big Cheese and culinary force behind CHEESEWERKS, Canada’s only restaurant + experience company dedicated to cheese, I’m the first single-father at birth in Canadian history. Odd, but true. Google it. LOL – I mention it because as a passionate Dad, our approach at CHEESEWERKS is all about delivering a warm, cozy hug through incredible food and great stories.
Finish this sentence: I love Toronto because…
…of its diversity. I’ve had the chance to travel a fair bit and there is no other city like ours. Toronto is full of unique faces, places and incredible local foods.
What are three things you simply cannot live without?
A great kiss, an internet connection and The West Wing.
What’s your favourite item on the CHEESEWERKS menu and why?
That’s a tough one. Each of our menu items was created from personal stories and memories. But if I had to choose just one, our CHARLESTON Mac + Cheese with Bacon. It’s the perfect blend of sweet and salty, plus it was created to honour my Mom, who spent a lot of vacation time in South Carolina. She would have loved it.
My favourite time at CHEESEWERKS is when I host our epic Food Fight Trivia Night. Game show fun, crazy questions, incredible food and amazing fun. If you haven’t made out it, you’ve got to try.
Where do you go out to eat on your nights off (however few and far between those may be)?
Congee Queen (Don Mills + Lawrence) serves a Green Bean stir-fry with Minced Pork, Olive and Dried Fish that is insanely good. Yitz’s tongue sandwich and rugelach always hit the spot. But my guilty pleasure is Popeyes.