A Q&A with Keith Chen, a TL Insider, on checking out new restaurants and making new connections
Toronto Life Insider is a membership club that gives you front-of-the-line access to the best experiences and offers in the city. With your membership, you get an upgraded subscription to Toronto Life that includes access to signature events (like a taco party with La Carnita), hands-on workshops (hello, cocktail-making classes from top bartenders), hard-to-get tables at some of city’s best restaurants (we’re looking at you, Momofuku Kōjin) and candid conversations between TL’s editor-in-chief Sarah Fulford and some of the city’s most interesting characters.
We chatted with TL Insider Keith Chen, a realtor, about his experience with the membership so far.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I was born in India. My grandparents left China 100 years ago, walking all the way from the southern part of the country to India. My father was born in Kerala, my mother was born in Calcutta and I was born in Madras, the city now known as Chennai. I came to Toronto when I was 10 years old. I used to be in the food manufacturing business for about 20 years, but I moved into real estate five years ago. I think it’s a great time to be a realtor in Toronto. It’s not just about buying and selling for clients, it’s about helping people.
Which neighbourhood do you live in? Any favourite hangouts there?
I live in central Etobicoke but most of my go-to spots are downtown. I love food, and Toronto allows me a chance to try new things all the time. I like visiting restaurants along Ossington and Dundas West, and anywhere along King West. I own a rental property in the Fashion District, so I’m there quite often. Jacob’s is one of my favourite restaurants and I’m there quite frequently. My favourite restaurant, however, is Sushi Kaji, which is in Etobicoke. I’ve been going there since it opened, so the chef recognizes me now.
What does your free time look like?
You can find me at restaurants or playing tennis. I play at Mayfair, usually at their club up at Allan and Sheppard or the one in the east end off of Lakeshore.
Why did you become a TL Insider?
As soon as I received the email, I applied. I thought it sounded interesting, even without knowing much about it. I figured it was just a good opportunity to check out some new restaurants. Toronto Life has changed so much as a company. It has a real understanding of the city, and is able to represent it because of that. I haven’t been to every event, but I’ve been to a whole range of them.
Any favourite events so far?
I went to the alumni dinner at Canoe, which was fantastic. I really liked the event at the Hugo Boss store with Serge Ibaka, too. I’m a big Raptors fan—I have season tickets. And the champagne brunch at Auberge du Pommier was excellent, too. I’ve also gone to some of the Masterclasses where people from different industries talk about their work. They don’t just talk about what they do on a daily basis, but how their industries are shifting and changing, which is very interesting.
What about upcoming ones you’re looking forward to?
I’ve been quite busy lately, so I haven’t really looked. But my wife always comes with me, so I usually just ask her to choose what we should go to, and she takes care of it.
As a realtor, are TL Insider events good networking opportunities for you?
They’re more about entertainment for me. I have met a few other Insiders who are just super nice people—whether they’re clients or not, it doesn’t make a difference. I’m actually meeting up for dinner soon with some other members.
Be like Keith and become a TL Insider today!