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Jan 9, 2008 07:44 AM

The Inspired Cook on Queen E. ??

Driving on Queen East around Woodbine the other day I noticed this storefront sign but was not able to get a good look. Not sure if it's a kitchen store, classroom, takeout, restaurant or what. Does anyone know?

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    1. re: Jay98

      Ahhh thanks. Is it a good one....anything different or unusual? Have you been in?

      1. re: millygirl

        I've been in. I like the aesthetic of the place, and not everything is super-expensive, but the reality is that I will probably never buy cookware there, and to be frank I'd be surprised if they lasted.

        She (the owner) has All-Clad and le Creuset at MSR prices, and I'm just never going to spend that much on cookware ($240 for a saute pan? Not in my budget.)

        It doesn't help that my ex-husband was a pro chef and I have been around professional kitchens for many many years and I know the quality of the results you can get with much, much cheaper tools.

        IMO this is a store for lifestyle cooks...and I just don't think there are enough of those, willing to spend the kind of prices that stuff apparently commands, in the east end. At least in that nabe (which is my nabe, I hesitate to add).

        1. re: charmoula

          I lived in the Beach in 2001/2002 and I'm pretty sure it was there at that time. I remember walking in and thinking how nice it looked and then gasping at the prices. I was a student then, so it wasn't for me... That said, 6 years is a pretty long time (if I'm not totally mistaken).

          1. re: morrigan

            You could be right but I thought this placed just opened in the last year - or maybe they just had a face lift? charmoula could probably tell us for sure.
            Speaking of housewares, etc. what about the store on the corner a couple of blocks from say Edward Levesque's. Not sure of the name, but they have a large assortment of white serving platters, etc. but it's always seems closed, looks really dingy and dusty. Do you know the place? Is it ever open?

            1. re: millygirl

              No, this place just opened. I had a long chat with the owner and she has most def never owned and operated a cookware store before.

              Millygirl - that dusty place (it's right at the corner of Greenwood and Queen) has never, not ever, been open in all the many years that I have spent walking by it. I have always been curious about it (I'm a thrifty scavenger) but ... it isn't any kind of public place!

              1. re: charmoula

                Believe it or not that place actually belongs to a caterer! Pretty scary ,huh?

                1. re: Leslieville

                  Really?? Now that is scary. Seems like they have a nice selection of platters though. I'd LOVE to go picking through that place!!!! In fact now that you say it, I think I heard that myself awhile back. Wow, now that is a story I'd love to know more about. Wonder which caterer?? This is why I love CH soooo much. Thanks for the info folks and I will stick my head in to the Inspired Chef one of these days to check it out.

                  1. re: millygirl

                    IIRC the catering info is on a piece of paper taped inside the window of the joint.

                    I'm with you, MG - I'd love to pick through that place. Seems like the least busy catering spot in Toronto.

                    1. re: charmoula

                      hi - just to set you straight - the inspired cook is a high-end lifestyle store for sure - but the products are excellent and better value than the big retailers like Williams Sonoma. I don't think the neighbourhood needs to support it - the wealthy riverdale and beach crowd who flock to the East End garden centre will keep this place afloat. and, if you are in the neighbourhood you might see how much patrons will fork out for a nibble of cheese at the leslieville cheese market. The 'hood is a changin'!! Not only that but she does cooking classes in the back of the store. Check out the lamps she sells that cleanse the air (like an oil lamp) ..they are awesome. As for the caterer on the corner it is called Kindred Spirits. They are actually very high end!!!! Don't judge a book by its cover. The caterer is smart - avoid paying high rent - own the building. and don't be surprised if in a few years she sells for a million bucks and starbucks moves in.

                      1. re: los3bears

                        That would be a Bergere Lamp and thanks for the info los3bears but between you and me, that storefront at Kindered Spirits looks pretty gross. High end or not, in fact, particularly if she is high end, she should clean it up!!! No wonder there is no name on the front.

                        1. re: los3bears

                          Do have any additional information about the cooking classes that she holds?

                          1. re: professor plum

                            I was browsing in there last week and got on their e-mail list for upcoming classes. Their website doesn't seem to have much info on it yet ( but the classes for February are as follows:

                            Sat, Feb 2nd - Breakfast Club (scones, muffins, etc). Hands-on, $60 per person
                            Tues, Feb 5th - Salads for the Soul (salads, dressings plus knife skills). Hands-on, $85 pp
                            Tues, Feb 12th - Oysters 101, Hands-on, $60 pp (includes a voucher from Rodney's Oyster House
                            )Tues, Feb 19th - Vegetarian, Demo, $60 pp
                            Tues, Feb 26th - Game Meats, Demo, $75 pp
                            Thurs, Feb 28th - Weekday Chicken Pie, Hands-on/Demo, $45 pp

                            You can e-mail them at if you want to get their e-mails so you can see the full details about guest chefs, etc.

                          2. re: los3bears

                            Great for them but it's an eyesore. The little strip of shops (Film Buff, Red Rocket etc) after it are aesthetically great and this place takes away from the hard work of the other shop owners. Ah well. The cooking classes sound great for newbies. Here's a description of the upcoming classes:

                            The Breakfast Club:
                            Saturday February 2, 2008
                            Time: 11:30am-1:30pm
                            Class Type: Hands -On

                            Introducing a class specially designed for the person who loves the smell of freshly baked goods on a beautiful weekend morning. Master a selection of quick and easy brunch favorites from variations of scones/biscuit to cinnamon crunchies and muffins. In this two hour hands-on lesson you will understand dough consistency, mixing methods and most importantly "mise en place" (chef term for preparation ahead of time). Tracey Freeman, pastry chef, culinary instructor will show you how to treat family and friends to a morning delight! Discover how brunch can be a fun and novel way to entertain.

                            $60 per person
                            Enjoy your brunch with a nice cup of coffee from The Red Rocket
                            10% coupon to shop at The Inspired Cook
                            Take home Recipes

                            Raisin Scones, Cheddar cheese scones
                            Easy Cinnamon Crunchies
                            Yummy oakmeal muffins

                            Salads for the Soul
                            Tuesday February 5th, 2008,
                            Time: 7:00pm – 9:00pm
                            Class Type: Hands -On

                            Have you over eaten this holiday season? Focus the New Year on balance and healthful culinary techniques. Erin Martin, Chef of Stonehouse Grill will put together a richly textured menu designed to introduce you to the basics of salad preparation and various salad dressings. In this two hour hands-on lesson, you will not only learn different salad types and dressing pairings but also what Chefs obsess about the most - proper knife skills. Discover the right way to use and care for your knives; understand the difference between knives and practice efficient dicing and chopping. Learn the proper techniques to creating a healthy and delicious salad options for an appetizer or a main course.

                            $85 per person
                            2 in 1 class, salad recipes and knife skills
                            All tools required for hands-on class including your own knife and board
                            Enjoying an evening learning and dining on healthy and delicious menu
                            10% coupon to shop at The Inspired Cook

                            Basic vinaigrette recipe and variations Ancient grain salads
                            Quinoa and lentil salad with roasted peppers, mint and a curry-lemon vinaigrette
                            Rice noodle salad with asian pear, mango and sugar peas in a spicy peanut sesame dressing

                            Oysters 101: Shuck ‘em, Suck ‘em, Eat ‘em Raw
                            Tuesday, February 12th, 2008
                            Time: 7:30 to 9:30
                            Class Type: Hands -on

                            Just in time for Valentine’s Day! Share a fun evening with fellow romantics and oyster lovers. Learn about our favorite bivalve, and get hands-on training from one of Toronto’s best. Bronwen Clark, front-of-house manager of Rodney’s Oyster House will get you into oysters—literally! While chef and food writer Signe Langford will show you how to whip up different and delicious mignonettes—that’s fancy food-talk for the yummy sauce you put on an oyster. Wash it all down with Sea Legs, a perfect white for oysters, created by and exclusively for Rodney’s in tandem with Cave Spring. Bronwen will tell you all about it.

                            $60 per person
                            6 impeccably fresh oysters, a glass of Sea Legs, a 10% off coupon from The Inspired Cook, a voucher from Rodney’s Oyster House for a complimentary taste of their new Low Tide menu, and two hours of priceless fun and knowledge.

                            Tuesday February 19, 2008
                            Time: 7:30-9:30pm
                            Class Type: Demo

                            Whether you're a vegetarian yourself, have vegetarian friends, or just want to venture into new culinary territory, vegetarian cuisine offers a wide range of delicious dining options. In this demonstration class Chef Erin Martin from Stonehouse Grill will introduce you to the basics of vegetarian cooking and selecting the proper beverage (wine/beer) to pair with a vegetarian meal. Working with staple ingredients of the vegetarian pantry, including vegetables, grains, legumes and tofu, you'll learn to create a meal that's ideal for family dining or entertaining.

                            $60 person
                            Spend an evening enjoying fine food, delicious wines/beer, lively conversation and the splendid company of good friends.
                            10% coupon to shop at The Inspired Cook

                            Chick pea, paneer and sweet potato curry
                            Cauliflower and spinach in tomato-cream curry
                            Pinenut-saffron pilau
                            Coconut-pomegranate pilau
                            A quick look at raitas

                            Game for Game?
                            Tuesday February 26, 2008
                            Time: 7:30-9:30pm
                            Class Type: Demo

                            Join us for a unique dining experiencing using game meat, known to be lower in saturated fats then other red meats. In this cooking demonstration you will learn how to prepare special dishes with pheasant and venison. Discover the variety of spices to use with this meat and learn how to select a wine to pair with the assertive flavours. Chef Erin Martin from Stonehouse Grill will teach you how to shop for game meat and show you recipes to warm up a cold winter evening.

                            $75 person
                            Spend an evening enjoying fine food, delicious wines, lively conversation and the splendid company of good friends.
                            10% coupon to shop at The Inspired Cook

                            Roasted rack of venison with warm blueberry chutney
                            Pheasant braised in wild mushrooms, herbs and cream
                            Goat cheese-chive mashed yams

                            Please register at The Inspired Cook Inc.
                            1378 Queen Street East
                            Toronto, Ontario
                            416 461 8886
                            All classes are pre-paid

                            1. re: thegory

                              I should clarify that the catering place is an eyesore and not the Inspired Cook. D'oh.

                              1. re: thegory

                                I caught an episode of a show called Adventures in Catering - the featured caterer is the one at Queen and Greenwood that is discussed above - it's called Kindred Spirits. It has always seemed empty the odd time I've gone by, but from the show it appeared to be pretty reputable. The episode was from 2006, but chef Roger Mooking (Verveine, Barrio, Kultura) was involved and was helping the new chef out on his first big gig of 900 people.

                                1. re: bigos70

                                  I know this is an older topic but the web site for Kindred Spirits is - it looks very professional despite their store front.

        2. It's a great addition to the neighbourhood! Good range of prices, excellent quality and great personal service from Kim and Richard. The cooking classes are informative and lots of fun at reasonable prices. Why not drop in and see for yourself? (and get a good cup of free-trade coffee at the Red Rocket just down the block.)

          2 Replies
          1. re: dilys

            I tried their website to see if the cooking classes were listed but unfortunately they weren't. In fact last time I checked the website was pretty useless. What classes have you taken dilys?

            1. re: dilys

              hm Now Im curious. I would love some reasonably priced classes. How much are they? what are they themed or just general? do you participate or just watch?

            2. Ive bought a few things from the inspired cook. I was very happy with the products and service.
              The prices were very fair, based on the quality of the product.
              They were more then happy to make a deal, or price match other stores.

              I also found they had some unique, and useful items I could not find elsewhere.

              1. Just an update that they've closed/changed locations and it looks like it is being replaced by a grocery store.

                3 Replies
                1. re: eatongal

                  If I'm not mistaken, they've opened up closer to Logan on Queen East. Passed by and was like "WHOA! When'd this get here?!" And then promptly shuddered at the amount of things that I will be tempted to buy, but don't really need.

                  Man, so many interesting shops opening on in Leslieville again this year!

                  1. re: jlunar

                    Exactly my thoughts - isn't it great? And I hear there is a health food grocery place opening - AND a fish store (HOOKED) which might be short lived if it doesn't get hefty local support.

                    1. re: jlunar

                      I saw the sign last night when I was walking along Queen. I'm thrilled with all that's happening - we've lived in this neighbourhood for a long time, so it's great to see.