I attended a conference on Canadian culture to which several dozen undergraduate students came by bus from cities several hours away. They had learned about Canada from teachers who themselves had benefited from the tiny grants which once allowed them to visit Canada or order the books and other materials on which their teaching depended.
As a chef, culture is an inspiration. Food is such a huge part of what is known as "culture" and I feel blessed to have learned about and experienced so many impressive cultures through their food. From Jamaican jerk spice to traditional Korean kimchi, whenever you think of culture, food is intrinsically tied to its experience -- and these experiences have inspired my cooking, which has had an incredible impact on my career and my life.
Jacques Bensimon, former head of the National Film Board, passed away on Sunday. Jacques had astonishing generosity of spirit. No matter if you were an executive, a junior producer, the editor on the night shift, or a new international contact or a Board Member, Jacques spent his lifetime leading and guiding creatives and broadcast executives alike towards one goal: the preservation of Canadian culture.
So I'm standing outside "The Barn" restaurant ("It's called The Barn because all the animals go there" I was once told), having a smoke, and some hapless soul walks up and asks me for a cigarette. That'll teach me to open up a full pack on Queen Street. As I hand this guy his smoke, he looks at me, and in all sincerity asks "Do you know Tony?".