Devoted TIFF 2015 ticket holders know that Toronto’s annual film festival goes way beyond mere movies. With tinsel town invading Hollywood north, local and lucky Torontonians take up a sport unrelated to Rogers Centre. It’s called star-gazing, and Toronto’s top restaurants are pulling out all the stops to create a memorable evening for all the celebs, guests and gawkers.
The reinvigoration of Café Boulud, timed perfectly for TIFF will see starlets swoon over the redesigned restaurant. Sumptuous baseball glove-style seating will keep stars lingering over his impressive new menu with the bar providing a perfect backdrop to the scenesters pouring into this second-floor establishment.
Those craving more quick grab-and-go bites may prefer to hunker down at Luckee’s Pop Up Dim Sum Bar, which just hijacked Sen5es for the first weekend of TIFF 2015. Susur’s eponymous shop has created a decadent grab and go of his renowned dim sum, with Har Gow, Siu Mai, Ginger Fried Rice, Luckee Soba Salad—and if you’re there at the right time—Luckee Duck Wraps rounding out the menu. Looking to rest your weary bones? Then head to the bar for TIFF-based tipples like the Cold Tea (by the pitcher or glass) and keep your eyes peeled for big baller movie execs (cough Harvey Weinstein cough) that tend to do big business at the SoHo Hotel during TIFF.
Luckee’s Dim Sum Bar will be open from Thursday, Sept 10 – Sunday, Sept 13 from 7PM – 11PM) and Luckee will be open for lunch from Thursday, Sept 10 – Tuesday, Sept. 15 from 11AM – 2PM, as well as on Monday evening for dinner service.
While many stars may be in the throes of a detox all-juice diet, beefcakes looking to bulk up will find solace in Wahlburgers, the licensed burger joint known for their ample and creative burgers, and of course, tater tots. On their menu just until Sunday, is the A-Lister burger, created just for TIFF, with a heaping portion of beef short ribs, foie gras, garlic aioli and smoky white cheddar cheese, all resting atop an 8oz patty. Pair it up a Red Martini, made using Marky Mark’s preferred tequila, Avion. Entourage not required.
Executive Chef Stuart Cameron, the man behind the wheel for TIFF hotspots Patria, Byblos, Weslodge, NAO et al, has a clever motto for TIFF parties. “Whatever they want, whenever they want,” which seems to work brilliantly for his kingdom of kitchens, and this year’s lineup of parties for the Chef is no different. While 26 events over the course of 10 days is no small feat, Chef Stuart puts careful consideration into the menus he crafts for their star-studded parties, which this year will see the likes of Jake Gyllenhaal (Demolition, held at Patria last night), Helen Mirren (Eye in the Sky), Kate Winslet & Liam Hemsworth (The Dressmaker), and Adrien Brody & Selma Hayek (September of Shiraz) convening at parties being held at his various hot spots.
While he’s tight-lipped on what party is being held where and when, we do know that he’s partnered with Metro to create a selection of canapes and handheld ‘Fresh Bowls’ for the grocery giant, teaming up with Canada’s leading mag, Hello! Canada at the Hello! Canada House for the screening of three films; The Green Room, Into the Forest and 5 Nights in Maine.
From full decadent buffet spreads, to canapes and cocktails, Chef Stuart and his kitchen crew will go to great lengths to accommodate every diet, no matter how unusual the request. And while he’s been spared from the dreaded baby food puree diets, he has had to adapt menus to celebs like Richard Gere, a strict vegan who downed two orders of his Vegan Bites after the premiere of his movie Time out of Mind, or Woody Harrelson, who only eats a diet of only raw vegetables. This year, the menu riffs off the recently opened Byblos Miami, with subtle influences on dishes he’ll be serving up this year, like his Lamb Kofta Sliders, or Feta Cheese Burekas.
Mornings are just as busy for Stuart, where Byblos has created an à la carte menu specifically for the steady rotation of starlets holding court for the endless press junkets, so if you’re more of a morning person, Byblos might be your best bet for hobnobbing with sleep deprived stars.
Where will you be eating during TIFF 2015? Let Vv Magazine know in the comments below, or tweet us @ViewtheVibe.