The List: 10 things chef David Adjey can’t live without
Ten things chef David Adjey, star of the new Food Network show The Opener, can’t live without
The best perk ever
I used to work as Dan Aykroyd’s personal chef in Kingston, and then I decided to move to Santa Barbara to cook at a resort. He gave me a car as a goodbye present and said, “If you’re gonna live in California, you’re gonna need a California car.” It was a gold ’66 Impala—the same car a lot of L.A. gangsta rappers drive. I keep the licence plate in my office.
A badass leather jacket
I got this jacket in 2003 when I was going through a rebel phase. It was the same month I separated from my ex-wife, opened my restaurant Nectar, and got signed to Restaurant Makeover. It cost $1,000—which was huge money at the time—at Due West on Queen Street. I love that it’s worn in and a little beat-up. I’m too old for it now, but I bust it out once in a while.
I have been collecting antique egg cups since the early ’90s. I got the idea from the Park Avenue Café in New York, after I ordered the flan and it was served in an eggshell set inside an egg cup. I thought this was fantastic, so I started scouring flea markets and garage sales. Now my mom and friends are on the mission, too. My favourites are from post-war, 1940s Japan; they say “Made in Occupied Japan” on the bottom.
Mont Blanc pens
Mont Blanc comes out with an outrageously priced Writers Edition pen every year. This one is called the William Faulkner, and it has signed just about every deal I’ve ever made, including my contract for The Opener.
My booze bag
I travel a lot, and I’m a big wine guy, so I pick up nice bottles wherever I go. The special carrying case I use is called a WineCruzer. It’s the only way to properly transport wine on a plane—it’s insulated, and you can lock it and check it.
A chef’s knives are like an artist’s paintbrushes. I designed my own prototypes. The weight of a knife is important: mine are light, with very
soft neoprene handles you can hold onto all day.
I splurge on Crème de la Mer moisturizer—it’s $290 a pot at Holts. Whenever I have a girl over, I have to hide it.
My cooking inspiration
The Elements of Taste changed the way I thought about food. Gray Kunz, the crazy New York chef who co-wrote it, talks about flavours in terms of pushing and pulling and which tastes are interacting in your mouth. It’s the one book I tell all chefs who work for me to read.
My latest tech toy
I got an iPad at the Eaton Centre as soon as they came out. I use it to watch the unedited footage of my show and to read the Globe and Mail and the New York Times. It is so incredibly handy to have my newspapers and 400 books in one place, and I don’t get ink all over my fingers. I justify the cost by thinking about how much money I’m going to save on wet naps.
My mid-life crisis car
I’ve dreamed about owning a Corvette since I was a kid. I finally got one, a 2010 Grand Sport, and I’m totally in love. It’s a two-seater, so my three kids asked where they’re supposed to sit. I told them, “In your mom’s car.”