Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Comfort Food, Comfort Reading, Comfort Movie

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Grilled Cheese Sandwich a la Chef, the movie

My new novel The Oakdale Dinner Club is very food-centric – it’s about a group of suburbanites who get together once a month to eat good food, drink good wine, and do other wicked things.

One of the talking points for the novel – yes, like any trying-to-be-current author faking her way through a self-promotion campaign, I have talking points – is that I wrote it as an entertainment, a diversion, as “comfort food for the mind.”

So when I read that New York magazine critic Bilge Ebiri had called actor/writer/director Jon Favreau’s new movie Chef “a comfort movie about comfort food,” I had to go see it.

Chef is about a hipster haute cuisine-type chef who gets fired from a fancy French L.A. restaurant for engaging a restaurant critic in a social media flame war, and eventually recovers his cooking mojo in a food truck. I liked the naturalistic (some improvised, apparently) often amusingly profane dialogue, the restrained acting (except for Robert Downey Junior, who puts in a funny, hammy cameo), and the film's sunny soul. And then there was its amazing food porn: dishes depicted so devotionally one critic said it should be termed food romance.

The full house audience I saw the movie with in its opening weekend gasped audibly (and hungrily) at more than a few of the shots of great food lovingly prepared. And Twitter – the social media platform featured throughout the movie – lit up with real-life tweets by people who, like me, had developed a serious craving for the gorgeous grilled cheese sandwich the chef in the film prepares at home for his ten-year-old son.

The day after I saw the movie, I stopped in at the Global Cheese Shoppe in Kensington Market for some Gruyere, and took it home to combine with old white cheddar and Parmigiano Reggiano I already had on hand. The sandwich I put together, on Ace Bakery white ciabatta bread, sautéed in butter and olive oil (pictured above) was delicious and downright orgiastic, way better than any grilled cheese I’ve ever eaten. Comfort food, indeed.

For the recipe and method, hop over to my food blog The Hungry Novelist.

The views expressed in the Writer-in-Residence blogs are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book: Toronto.

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Kim Moritsugu

Kim Moritsugu is the author of six novels to date, including Looks Perfect, nominated for the Toronto Book Award; The Glenwood Treasure, shortlisted for the Arthur Ellis Best Crime Novel award; The Restoration of Emily, serialized on CBC Radio; and the just published comedy of suburban manners The Oakdale Dinner Club. She also leads a walking tour for Heritage Toronto and teaches creative writing through The Humber School for Writers.

Go to Kim Moritsugu’s Author Page