Jill Gedra: The Top 10 Food Things in My Life

Food lies at the heart of our bodies and our culture; it is there for celebrations and sustenance. NOMaste features a local fierce foodie each month, in four weekly segments. First, an interview, then a top 10 list, followed by a recipe to share, and finally a food review. This food corner will not just feature local chefs but also restaurateurs, buyers, suppliers — any woman involved in any aspect of the food chain, from farm to food truck. Join us each week as we get to know another Foodie in the city. Part I of this month’s series can be found here.

This week Jill gives us just a top ten list of her favorite things associated with food — and it has to be the most eclectic and random list I’ve ever been given, and one that puts a smile on my face. So many of these are relatable in one way or another, even if you don’t run your own restaurant. Check out her favorite food moments below, with some added suggestions from me to round it out.

Toronto daytrips for ramen with my kids (with stops at Bulk Barn, IKEA, and Cheese Boutique).

If you have never eaten at IKEA’s restaurant, you are doing yourself a disservice. At incredibly reasonable prices, you can have some very healthy meal options like smoked or fresh cooked salmon, butter chicken, and shrimp sandwiches. Also, you get to sit in an entirely IKEA-made dining room — it’s what I imagine heaven’s cafeteria to look like. I agree with Jill about Bulk Barn — it is an amazing and affordable place with everything from gelatin powder, to sprinkles, to whole rolled oats available in large bins to be purchased by the ounce or pound. Think about the bulk candy section of Wegmans, but now imagine ALL of Wegmans was set up as that bulk candy section. Alas, the Cheese Boutique I have not been to, and now it’ll haunt my dreams until I go. — LM

Sitting at the bar at The Black Sheep and food just appears.

One of the best perks of having a relative (or bestie) at a restaurant or bar is this. This sentence right here. Sums it all up. #goals — LM

Pre-ordering Christmas cheese in June and July (I can just taste them in my mind).

How can cheese never be a wonderful thing? I also never thought of it as seasonal since I could eat almost any cheese at any time of year, regardless of season, weather, and appropriateness. I know I can’t be alone in this. — LM

Planning wine dinner menus at Lait Cru.

Nothing is more exciting, then intimidating, then back to exciting for me than preparing a menu for a dinner party. I have only prepared meals for a whopping twelve diners at my largest gathering, so I would blanch at the thought of doing it for an entire restaurant, but I completely understand the excitement that you would feel doing it. — LM


Dim Sum is China’s greatest gift to the world in my opinion (OK and legalism, gunpowder, and a heck of a lot more). You couldn’t pull me out of a push cart dim sum restaurant even if my stomach had burst. How can you not love a meal that is based around BUNS! My favorite was in Markham, and has since moved to Toronto, called Ginger and Onion. — LM

Any brunch that I am not working, specifically the beverage portion: club soda, coffee or cappuccino, orange juice, Bloody Marys (until the cows come home) all at the same time.

Who doesn’t like to have bottomless anything?  I am glad I am not the only one who likes to mix my coffee, OJ, and alcohol all together, and doesn’t have to pound the TUMS to get through it. Something about variety is just so goddamn glamorous. Try Cecilia’s bottomless mimosas. — LM

Being across the street from my brother and sister-in-law’s restaurant (if we need to borrow anything from each other, it is always a yes, if I am having a day, I know I can run across the way and bitch, cry, or laugh without judgement but it always ends with a hug).

I can’t even comment since this is such a special Jill thing. I can always borrow sugar from my neighbor, but she doesn’t have a full bar! — LM

Cooking with my kids; they are pretty damn good.

If I ran a restaurant and a business full time, I can only imagine how much I would NOT want to cook when I got home. Having not one but two amazing kids to cook for you sounds like such a wonderful thing to come home to.  If you have little ones, try these starter kid-friendly recipes to get them to learn the ropes, from the Food Network. — LM

Eating a pizza in my bed, after four double shifts, watching trash TV and thinking about how far I have come since my first job in a pizzeria.

While I can’t relate to all of this, I can DEFINITELY relate to eating pizza in bed after a long day at work and watching trash TV and being thankful in general for being able to do just that. If any of you readers out there are having a hard day, I recommend doing just this thing — watch whatever garbage you enjoy, fill up on as much pizza as possible, and just enjoy it and be proud of yourself. If nothing else, you are eating pizza in bed and doing what you want because you are an ADULT! Celebrate! My favorite local place is Ferro’s — it’s NY-style thin crust and not that far from my home. Plus with the app, your sixth pizza is FREE! — LM

Having my cooks come to me with new dishes/Ideas. I feel their excitement and passion for it. It brings a smile to my face every single dish.

Nothing is more satisfying than seeing someone you mentor in one way or another, succeed — in whatever capacity that is. And when it involves food, you get to eat said accomplishment, which is even better. — LM