Feature episodes are long form interviews with the people that make Toronto the greatest city in the world. That’s right, we said it.
Anthony Rose is the genius chef behind Toronto restaurants Rose and Sons, Big Crow, and Fat Pasha. He studied at the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco before working under several New York City food titans, including Jean-Georges Vongerichten. He also stole swigs from Barry’s birthday Scotch. Anthony spoke with us about the first time he ate bacon, why Jews love Chinese food, and running the Drake Hotel’s kitchen. He also talked about getting drunk with Anthony Bourdain, and what it would be like to “Cook It Raw” in Canada.
Burton Lim is a mammalogist and assistant curator at the Royal Ontario Museum. He helped design the Bat Cave (new and old) and even has a bat named after him. Burton has worked at the ROM for 30 years, visited caves and jungles in 18 countries, and recently carved up those two blue whales in Newfoundland. He’s also one of Barry’s many uncles. Burton spoke with us about human evolution, the grossest thing he’s ever experienced, and why bats are generally wonderful. He also talked about the ROM’s standing in the scientific world, and why scientists avoid politics.
Michael Lista is a poet, columnist for the National Post, and the poetry editor at The Walrus. The Montreal Gazette called Michael a “brilliant, erudite new voice on the Canadian poetry scene,” and Barry called him, “a great host who got me drunk during our podcast interview.” Michael’s book The Scarbourough, due out in September, is a collection of poems that takes place during the weekend Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka abducted Kristin French. Michael spoke with us about the agony and ecstasy of the ‘burbs, Biggie vs. Tupac, and being called a literary rapist. He also talked about aesthetic theory and what he’d say to the “Ken and Barbie Killers” if given the chance.
Chris Berube is an associate producer for CBC Radio’s Q with Jian Ghomeshi and host of The Walrus Podcast. He’s also worked for The Grid, the Globe and Mail, Radiolab, and NPR. And he’s the former president of Humberside Collegiate Institute’s student body. Chris spoke with us about interviewing George Clinton, surviving the unpaid intern circuit, and what makes a great podcast. He also talked about working on one of Canada’s most renowned radio programs, and the unknown future of journalism in Toronto (and everywhere else).
Bruce Croxon is Managing Partner of Round13 Capital and a former star of CBC’s Dragons’ Den. A Scarborough boy, Bruce co-founded Lavalife, a company that pioneered online dating and social media. And aside from being the most successful person that Barry’s interviewed, Bruce is a pretty happy guy. He spoke with us about growing up in a mixed race family, dealing with loss, and how being ethical makes you money. Bruce also talked about why he would be a bad mayor, the uncertainty of Tinder, and fighting off retirement.
Scott Worsley is the co-owner of the Film Buff, one of Toronto’s premiere movie stores, and gem on the Roncesvalles strip. When Barry heard that the Film Buff East at Queen and Greenwood was shutting down, he had to speak with Scott and pay tribute to an institution that had given so much joy to Hogtown cinephiles. Scott spoke with us about opening his small business all those years ago, curating Toronto’s best film collection, and the virtues of art house entertainment. He also talked about championing a more personal retail experience, whether Toronto deserves to call itself a movie town, and why we need a Toronto-Montreal film summit.
Brittany Allen is an actress, singer, and entertainer. She’s starred in All My Children, and appeared in numerous films and TV shows. And she graduated from Barry’s favourite circus, the Etobicoke School of the Arts. Brittany spoke with us about growing up in Scarborough, acting as therapy, and how Mirvish Productions can break hearts. She also talked about winning an Emmy, the ordeal of auditions, and the joy of rediscovering her hometown.
John Semley is a freelance writer living in West Queen West. The former city editor of the A.V. Club Toronto, his writing has appeared in the Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, and The Walrus. John and Barry also share the same barber. John spoke with us about why he hates self-identifying as a writer, reading for pain and pleasure, and The Onion‘s failure in Hogtown. He also talked about the fine line between being an asshole and a contrarian, NOW Magazine’s knack for survival, and why you don’t have to leave Toronto to be successful.
Stephen Marche is a columnist at Esquire, novelist, and doctor of Early Modern Drama. He’s written about sex, hockey, and Megan Fox, among many things. Stephen spoke with us about his lifelong obsession with the novel, being labelled a misogynist and idiot, and why writing is not for whiners. He also talked about how Americans could give two shits about the CBC, why writing fiction takes courage, and Toronto’s future. (It won’t be boring.)
Morgan Baskin is a Corktown resident who ran for mayor of Toronto when she was 18 years old. Morgan’s 19 now, and though she didn’t win the election, she’s still committed to making Hogtown a better place. Morgan spoke with us about protesting Mike Harris as a toddler, overnight fame, and how being a public servant is anything but private. She also talked about how she hates issue-based campaigns, debating Doug and Olivia, and what she plans on doing now that the circus has left town.
John Lorinc is a lifelong Torontonian and current midtowner. John’s words have appeared in the Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, and The Walrus, and he’s a senior editor at Spacing. John spoke with us about his Hungarian Jewish roots, how he became a Hogtown expert by accident, and what it was like to
suffer cover four years of the Fords. He also talked about being independent in a Left and Right world, whether some version of John Tory will rule Toronto for eternity, and why, despite all of our faults, he still loves Toronto.
Desmond Cole is project coordinator at City Vote and a staff writer for Torontoist. Most notably, Desmond covered the Ferguson protests following a grand jury’s choice not to indict white police officer Darren Wilson in the killing of black youth Michael Brown. We spoke with Desmond about the resolve of Ferguson’s protestors, whether it’s possible to be an objective reporter in the face of tragedy, and how many people can’t seem to admit that they’re scared of black people. Desmond also talked about how blogging led to his career in journalism, Toronto’s denial of its own systemic racism, and still, why Hogtown is an amazing place.
Mark Kingwell is a philosopher at the University of Toronto. His work in political theory, ethics, aesthetics, and criticism has made him one of Canada’s most renowned public intellectuals. And he’s the reason Barry became a philosophy major. (We’ll see how that turns out.) We spoke with Mark about his childhood obsession with Trudeau-era nationalism, living in Kensington Market as an undergrad, and the intersection of philosophy and pop culture. Mark also spoke about the tension of working within elitist institutions, civility’s relationship with political violence, and how it’s kind of hard to be beat what we got going on in Hogtown.
Sam White is a writer living in Brockton Village. As one of Barry’s best friends and lover of podcasts, we could think of no better human to talk about Hogtown in 2014. We spoke with Sam about growing up Roncesvalles Village, meeting Barry at the Etobicoke School of the Arts, and why Lansdowne’s ugliness makes it good. Sam also argued with Barry about gentrification, the Election, and he listed his three favourite Toronto restaurants.
Robin Dann is a singer and songwriter and founder of Toronto band, Bernice. She grew up on the Danforth, attended Barry’s insane alma mater the Etobicoke School of the Arts, and now lives in one of Hogtown’s best neighbourhoods (we said it), Brockton Village. We spoke with Robin about growing up in a musical family, the trials of high school, and finding her musical voice. Robin also talked about her writing process, working with the people she loves, and what’s keeping her in Toronto.
Kyle Carsten Wyatt is the managing editor of The Walrus, a doctor of English Literature, and the first American to be on the show. He’s also Barry’s old boss. We spoke with Kyle about the agony and ecstasy of growing up in Nebraska, moving to Hogtown in his twenties, and why living in the Distillery District sucks. He also let Barry grill him about the ostensible shortcomings of Canada’s most awarded magazine, what new editor-in-chief Jonathan Kay brings to the table, and—surprise!—why Toronto is amazing. This episode is sponsored by Regal Bicycles.
Mackenzie Keast is co-founder of Toronto company Distl, and a Cabbagetown resident. Raised in rural B.C., Mackenzie studied urban planning and design at Waterloo before falling victim to Hogtown’s cosmopolitan tractor beam. We spoke with Mackenzie about growing up in a brewery, converting to the Church of Toronto, and how developers can actually help poor people. Mackenzie also talked about Alpha Cities, encouraging young planners to think crazy, and his Top 3 public spaces in Toronto. (Oh, and Drake, obviously.)
EPISODE 18: ARCHITECT ALEX JOSEPHSON
Alex Josephson is an architect and designer who grew up in Forest Hill. The Ontario Association of Architects recently named his studio, PARTISANS, Best Emerging Practice. And he has a 3D printer. We spoke with Alex about his time in Italy, how the City robbed Frank Gehry of a “historic masterpiece,” and the uncanny brilliance of the CN Tower. Alex also talked about Union Station’s mind-blowing revitalization, the problem with the New Toronto School of architecture, and what Hogtown will look like in 50 years.
Robert Hough is a novelist and recovering Mississaugan. His fiction has been praised by all sorts of literary types, and his new book, The Man Who Saved Henry Morgan was just released through House of Anansi. We spoke with Robert about Toronto’s coming of age, the mistakes young writers make, and why developing characters is everything. Robert also talked about achieving authenticity in his work, working through moral struggles, and the best places to eat in our fair town.
Irwin Adam Eydalnant is a scientist and co-founder of Future Food Studio and Bevlab. He and his peers are reinventing food as we know it. And Hogtown is lucky to have him. We spoke with Irwin about his Jewish-Winnipeg roots, creating an industry with no competitors, and schooling food and beverage giants across the world. Irwin also talked about how foodie culture is stagnating innovation,why Americans are finally looking to Toronto for ideas, and most importantly, why Jewish and Chinese food is so damn good.
Barry Jordan Chong is the host of Hogtown Talks. It was one year ago today that this show was born, so in true sentimental fashion, Barry decided to make himself the guest. Filling in as host is Barry’s dear friend and partner in Fassbenders, Bronson Allen. We spoke with Barry about childhood obsessions, containing erections, and his unique high school experience. Barry also talked about his heroes, the Island, and the meaning of life.
Dave Mottershall is an award-winning chef and the genius behind Toronto’s Loka Snacks. After spending seven years revolutionizing the PEI food scene, Dave returned to Toronto to rejuvenate his life and career. We spoke with Dave about working in fine dining restaurants across Canada, finding his food “voice,” and staging in Toronto’s best restaurants. Dave also talked about opening up his own brick and mortar restaurant, cooking for the right reasons, and why Toronto is home.
Travis Myers is a writer, panelist, and LGBT activist whose work has appeared in several Hogtown institutions. Travis is also hilarious and enjoys wine, which makes him a perfect guest for this show. We spoke with Travis about growing up religious and gay, fetishizing the act of argument, and the Village’s past and uncertain future. Travis also talked about why we don’t see more penises in movies, John V. Olivia, and learning to love Toronto—begrudgingly.
EPISODE 24: CHEF DENNIS TAY
Dennis Tay is Chef de Cuisine at DaiLo, Chef Nick Liu’s temple for new Asian cuisine. Born in Windsor from Scottish-Filipino parents, Dennis is a former B-Boy and contestant on Top Chef Canada. We spoke with Dennis about growing up in Windsor, working in Italy, and the limits of the North American palate. Dennis also talked about the insanity of reality television, running a successful Toronto restaurant, and making time for his family.
EPISODE 25: IS TORONTO A PLAYGROUND FOR THE RICH?
Live from 12 Ossington in downtown Toronto, Hogtown Talks presents its first live debate. The subject of discussion: Is Toronto a playground for the rich? Barry moderates a formidable planel including Andray Domise, Shawn Micallef, Mackenzie Keast, and Jacquelyn West. Unwieldy topic be damned, the panel talked about the poisonous effects of gentrification, how the City has abandoned the suburbs, and Toronto’s ongoing problems with racism. They also touched on the impossiblity of owning land, culture’s ostensibly invisible impact on the poor, and what we can do to fix this place we call home—with or without City Council.
Keith McManamen is a strategic analyst with Psiphon, a Hogtown-based company that circumvents Internet censorship around the world. Keith is also a member of the growing University of Waterloo alumni to have graced this show with their time. We spoke with Keith about fucking with repressive governments, violating sovereignty, and the Internet as a moral entity. We also talked about how the United States is spying on us, how the media has become Orwell’s Ministry of Truth, and the Privacy V. Convenience dilemma.