Kanida Chey, What to Look Forward to in Toronto Heading Into Fall

One of my favorite seasons of the year -- and I think the same can be said for many Torontonians and Canadians -- has to be the Fall. The weather begins to cool, foliage changes, and for me as a chef, I’m always excited about what the Fall harvest has to offer. Autumn, in short, provides a pleasant and needed cushion for the colder, harsher winter months.

What’s it like being in Toronto during the Harvest Season?

I have to admit, I’m biased to the city and enjoy Toronto during all four seasons - yes, even during the winter - but Autumn has a special place in my heart. Every year, there are plenty of traditions to enjoy throughout the city - everything from enjoying Toronto’s Vintage Crawl to enjoying the Toronto After Dark Film Festival to tasting a new brew at Cask Days. The list goes on and on.

Personally, there are a couple things I’m particularly excited about come this year in the Fall.

Leńa

Leńa is a new restaurant in Toronto that opened during the summer this year. Located at Yonge and Richmond, the restaurant’s opening was highly anticipated in the city’s culinary community and made blogTO’s 10 most anticipated new restaurants list in March. Featuring South American cooking with Spanish and Italian influences, the restaurant is headed by chef Anthony Walsh, with my friend Julie Marteleira serving as Executive Chef. I had a chance to visit Leńa on its opening and the food and the restaurant itself was fantastic. So, this Fall I would definitely urge those in Toronto or those visiting the city to stop and have a bite to eat at Leńa.

Pumpkin Season

There is nothing classically more Fall than pumpkins. Pumpkin season for me presents an exciting challenge: namely, how to incorporate pumpkins in a dish in a new and creative way. Needless to say, with pumpkin season around the corner, I’m looking forward to creating a new dish at Branca that will do just that.

Also, as a side note, I’m very proud of the fact that this September, Branca will be two years old. I know myself and everyone who works at Branca put so much effort into giving our guests the best experience possible and we truly look forward to doing that for many years to come.

Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF)

The Toronto International Film Festival happens every year, but it always makes the short list of one of my favorite events in Toronto. TIFF is the perfect opportunity to see some amazing films, many of which only have limited releases. Admittedly, the film festival happens in late summer. However, the festival does a lot to promote and bring people into restaurants throughout the city, so every year, I always anticipate TIFF with a good deal of excitement.

Autumn really is a special time of year here in Toronto, so go out and explore what the city has to offer!