Consumed: What chef and MasterChef Canada judge Claudio Aprile ate last week
Mondays are pretty intense days spent catching up on e-mails and phone calls—it seems like everyone wants to get in touch on Monday morning. I like to work from home if I can, because it’s also when I get to spend some time with my family—it’s a slower day at the restaurants.
I start every morning with a large glass—probably close to a litre—of room temperature water with tons of grated ginger and fresh lemon juice. I shoot that back and it just super-charges me. I’m not a big coffee drinker, so this is like an octane rush to the system for me. Several months ago, I met with Miranda Malisani—she’s a nutritionist who’s on CityLine and the Marilyn Denis show—and she gave me some nutrition tips, including this one. I’ve been pretty disciplined staying on the regime she put me on, and I have so much energy I can’t even sleep at night.
7 a.m.: Water with lemon and ginger
My wife made some Bob’s Red Mill wheat-free rolled oats, and that’s what I usually have for breakfast. A good friend of ours grows fruits and vegetables in her backyard, and we froze a bunch of the raspberries she gave us late last summer. So I added Greek yogurt, raspberries, kiwi, banana—pretty straightforward. Then I went to the gym around 8 a.m. for an intense one-hour workout.
7:30 a.m.: Rolled oats with Greek yogurt and fruit
I headed back home and grabbed a handful of almonds, then fired off a couple more emails. I’m putting together the spring and summer menus for both Origin locations, plus I’m working on potential new projects so I’ve got three different menu packages happening simultaneously. Around 1 p.m., I went to Nature’s Emporium to pick up some groceries. It turned into an unexpected meet-and-greet with the store. I got recognized from MasterChef, so I took a couple selfies. I usually try to keep a pretty low profile—I live in Richmond Hill, I keep to myself when I’m home or walking the dogs, or hanging out with my kids. When I got home, I made a quick lunch. I grilled some bread—a whole wheat with lots of flax seeds in it—and topped it with crushed some avocados, some really great living sunflower sprouts, organic radishes, cracked black pepper and sea salt; very simple and delicious. I washed it down with a Superberry Brew Dr. Kombucha.
1:30 p.m.: Avocado toast and kombucha
Around 4 p.m., I grabbed an espresso at Covernotes, a little coffee shop on Yonge. It’s kind of a hybrid coffee-library. It’s got a bunch of used books and it’s in an old building. It’s really, really cool. Then I walked Jackson and Basil, my two terriers.
4:30 p.m.: Walk with Jackson and Basil
When I got home I marinated two New York strip loins from Bruno’s. I just saw the movie Black Mass, so I ripped off the steak seasoning from the best scene in the movie; it’s just soy sauce and crushed garlic, but I also added organic barley miso, then threw them on the barbecue. Then I made a phone call. While I was on the phone my steaks caught on fire, so they charred on one side—a total rookie move. They actually worked out well, but I was still embarrassed. My wife was like, “Oh my god, I can’t believe you just did that.” I also caramelized some Jerusalem artichokes really low and slow in the oven. My son wouldn’t try them but my daughter loved them, she actually said they were “nature’s candy,” which is so true. So she’s converted. I served those with the sunflower sprouts. Dinner was half-cremated strip loin—it had a really great depth to it, but I’m not sure I’ll be doing that again—the artichokes and some wilted kale with garlic, olive oil, sherry vinegar and reggiano.
6 p.m.: Grilled strip loin with soy, garlic and barley miso
My wife made these amazing chocolate-chip cookies for ice cream sandwiches stuffed with Breyer’s vanilla—the classic “creamery style.” I had half of one at 7 p.m. and put the other half back in the freezer. I continued working on the menus until about 11 p.m., and then I had the other half of that ice cream sandwich. That was a big mistake, it kept me up all night.
7 p.m.: Half of an ice cream sandwich
I started off again with water, ginger and lemon. Around 7:30 a.m., I had three sunnyside-up eggs with leftover Jerusalem artichokes and sunflower sprouts. I also had black-pepper flatbread with pumpkin seed butter and organic raspberry jam. I went to the gym at 8 a.m., after which I had a protein shake with banana, cherries and medjool dates. The cherries are also from my friend Laura’s garden. She’s always dropping off big baskets of vegetables and fruits, especially in the summer. It’s such a great gift to wake up to.
7:30 a.m.: Eggs, flatbread and a shake
At 2 p.m. I had a menu meeting at Origin North and I needed some energy, so I had a mushroom hand roll. It’s one of our signature dishes; it’s been on the menu since day one. It’s a great snack, it’s fast and it’s pretty healthy—with the exception of the miso mayonnaise. I had an espresso, as well.
3 p.m.: Mushroom hand roll and an espresso
Then I jumped on the DVP and headed south to Origin St. James. We had a menu meeting there, too. At around 4:30 p.m., I had another espresso and a soda water. Then we tasted this new tequila we have called Clase Azul—it’s beautiful stuff.
5 p.m.: Tequila tasting
At 7 p.m., I went back to Origin North. I had seen a little hit on Instagram of a nice soup my chef made, but I thought it could be plated a bit differently. So I replated it.
7 p.m.: That Instagrammed soup
Later that night I couldn’t sleep, so I had more flatbread with pumpkin seed butter with jam. And I took a hit of cider vinegar—it’s raw cider vinegar and water. It was another recommendation from Miranda. It’s not exactly delicious, but it really balances out your gut.
11:30 p.m.: More flatbread with pumpkin seed butter and jam
This morning I had the usual: lemon water with ginger. Then I had some oats with Greek yogurt, dates, cherries and raspberries. I felt like a bit of a cold was coming on, so I dropped 2,000 grams of Vitamin C followed by some Omega 3.
7:30 a.m.: Oats and vitamins
After the gym, I had some raw cider vinegar and more water, and that carried me until lunch. At around 11:30 a.m., I picked up my general manager and chef from Origin St. James and headed to Little India. We had an intense feast at Lahore Tikka House: kebabs, butter chicken, naan, aloo gobi, paneer curry, samosas—too many things to remember! Then we stopped by a place called Toronto Cash and Carry—great name—and I grabbed some curry leaves, which my head chef had never seen before, and some paneer. We’re creating a new vegetarian dish at Origin St. James with those items.
12 p.m.: Lunch at Lahore Tikka House
Before we went back to the restaurant, we went to Baldev; it’s a paan bar. We had betel leaves filled with all these different spices and candies. I didn’t like it a dozen or so years ago when I tried it for the first time, and I still don’t like it. My head chef on the other hand, thought it was awesome. I couldn’t finish mine though, I had to spit it out—I felt like I was eating a bottle of perfume.
1:30 p.m.: Paan at Baldev
Later on, I had a meeting with Biagio Vinci at his restaurant, Biagio Ristorante. I met Biagio when I was about nine years old, and I ended up doing my apprenticeship with him, so he’s like a father figure to me. I had a quick espresso with the man, the legend, Biagio.
2 p.m.: Espresso with Biagio Vinci
Then I went back to Origin St. James. Against my better judgement, I drank another espresso and soda water. Then I had half of a dulce de leche with frozen raspberries, which is one of our signature desserts. At around 3:30 p.m, I headed back to Origin North for dinner service and worked the line with the guys until 9:30 p.m.
3 p.m.: Dulce de leche and an espresso at Origin St. James
After work, I messaged Frankie from BarChef. I hadn’t seen him for a while, so I went for a visit and brought a friend of mind, Armando, who had never been there before. I was really excited to show off Frankie’s talents to a newcomer. Frankie was excited about a new cocktail called the Oceanic, which he’s been working on for a while. It’s hard to explain—I often wonder what Frankie smokes. It’s almost animated in a way because it had these gelled ribbons of blue and white; almost the colours of the ocean in a cartoon. It was playful and child-like in some ways, but then you cut through the top—it’s kind of like the edible lid of a bowl—and that drops into this mixture of white-chocolate water. I typically don’t like white chocolate, but it was really incredible. Armando had the Smoked Manhattan, which is a must when you visit BarChef. It’s not an entry level drink, but it certainly does encapsulate what Frankie’s all about.
10 p.m.: Drinks at BarChef
Because of our huge feast at Lahore Tikka House, I hadn’t eaten much the rest of the day. I was just kind of grazing; little pieces of food here and there off cutting boards like any chef does. So by 1 a.m., I was starving. My wife Heather buys these trashy hard taco shells—the kind that are already shaped. So I had one of those tacos with ground beef, a fried egg and some five-spice teriyaki sauce—it was not good, but it served a purpose. Then I went to bed, and the nightmares ensued.
1 a.m.: Late-night ghetto taco
Once again, I had cider vinegar and water. Then I had a protein shake with bananas, berries and raw rolled oats. I threw back a couple of vitamins, and then hit the gym.
At 1:30 p.m., I had a meeting at Origin St. James, so I had a quick tuna salad there. Around 3:30 p.m., I headed to Origin North and ate chilled soba noodles with cucumber, carrots, a yuzu dressing and some sesame and green onion. Oh, and I had a few mushroom ravioli, too. That carried me through until 10 p.m.
3:30 p.m.: Soba noodles and mushroom ravioli at Origin St. James
When I got home, I had some leftover baguette and—I know this is wrong, but I really love it—cold butter. I just love the texture of cold butter. So I had that with some anchovies and black pepper; really simple. I downed another shot of raw cider vinegar and water, too. And then I went to bed—it was a pretty early night. I didn’t eat very much today.
11 p.m.: Baguette with cold butter and anchovies
After my usual cider vinegar, I had a shake, but this time I mixed it up a bit with this other protein powder from Vega; it’s really great. I threw in some leftover sunflower sprouts, avocado, water and 2,000 mgs of Omega 3. Then I went to the gym.
At 10:30, I was at Origin North getting ready for lunch service. I grabbed an espresso, and it hit me like battery acid. We were peeling eggs for our devilled eggs, so I downed a couple of hard-boiled eggs with a little bit of sea salt.
10:30 a.m.: Hard-boiled eggs at Origin North
At 11 a.m., I grabbed another espresso and that carried me through lunch service. I had a meeting at 3:30 in Vaughan, so I grabbed yet another there, and then went back to Origin North for dinner service. There I had a single masa chip topped with some salsa and more avocado—you’d think I was working for the avocado board here.
6 p.m.: One masa chip with salsa and avocado
When I got home I made a pumpkin seed butter and raspberry jam sandwich, and had that with a glass of raw cider and water.
11 p.m.: Pumpkin seed butter and raspberry jam sandwich
I got really creative and I had some lemon water for breakfast. At 9 a.m., I had a mega shake with Vega’s sugar-free Energizer with some berries, pineapple, avocado, chia seeds, one Omega 3 and two Vitamin Cs. After the gym, I walked my boys Basil and Jackson. Then my wife and I went to Covernotes where I had an espresso and a vegan chocolate chip square blondie.
9 a.m.: Protein shake
11 a.m.: Espresso and vegan blondie at Covernotes
At 3 p.m., I dropped by to see my good friend Simon Benstead, the owner of Marben. He just opened up a little speakeasy in the restaurant’s basement called the Cloak, and he wanted me to come check it out. I had these really tasty kale chips with sharp cheddar and a cocktail called the Chartreuse Swizzle. Then headed back up to Origin North for dinner service, where I had a soda and bitters. We got hit really hard; it was a busy night.
3 p.m.: Cocktails and kale chips at the Cloak
At 9 p.m., I headed back to Origin St. James. One of our most loyal customers was dining there, so I went to say hi to her and to check out what the crew was up to. There was one lonely Tim Hortons doughnut in the prep kitchen, and I ate it. I found out later that it had been sitting there since before brunch. It was the worst kind, just a plain one—but I was so hungry and I have a weakness for doughnuts. My first job was at a doughnut shop when I was 14.
9:30 p.m.: One lonely Timmie’s doughnut
After that, I dropped by my friend Robin Singh’s place called Uncle Tony’s, and I had some pizza. I don’t normally eat cheese on my pizza—it’s one of my things—but I didn’t want to be rude, so I ate it. I’m not a big fan of melted cheese—I don’t like the rubbery texture. My ideal pizza is Terroni’s marinara with basil and sea salt; it’s really really simple and it’s what I’ve been eating there for well over a decade. It’s kind of a guilt-free, too.
10:30 p.m.: Margherita pizza at Uncle Tony’s
Sunday was a a cheat day, but I started the day with the usual: raw cider vinegar and water. Then at 8 a.m., I had a Vega sugar-free Energizer protein shake and went to the gym. At around 10:30 a.m., my wife and I grabbed some pastries at Sue’s Fresh Market. So for breakfast, we made some hard-boiled eggs, some grapefruit, espresso, fresh juice and these really incredible croissants and unbelievable cinnamon buns from Sue’s. Apparently the baker there is just 18 years old—she’s some kind of child prodigy. Normally I stay on a—I woudn’t say strict diet—but I’ve got pretty good eating habits. On Sunday though, I just do what I want—I deserve it.
11 a.m.: Brunch at home
At 3:00 p.m., I had a Brew Dr. Kombucha called Clear Mind. It’s really great, it does the trick every time. Maybe it’s a placebo, I don’t know, but I do feel good when I drink it.
3 p.m.: Brew Dr.’s Clear Mind kombucha drink
For dinner, we ordered in Japanese food: spicy tuna, seaweed, more avocado—I’m in trouble if it’s decided that avocados are bad for you—and tempura. We also drank handcrafted sake from the Distillery’s Ontario Sake. It’s such an amazing luxury that we have this company in our city that makes sake for us, and in such a great setting, too. We had some leftover fruit and linzer tarts from Sue’s, so after dinner I had half of a small one.
7 p.m.: Japanese dinner and sake