Introducing Chef Winston Lewis: Fresh flavors and a welcoming atmosphere

Household China and Gifts has been transformed. From rich new aromas and colourful laughter, we are taking our kitchen to the next level. At the helm of this transformation is local fried chicken legend, Chef Winston Lewis.

With humble beginnings, completing his schooling at Humber College, Chef Winston has traveled the world, and his flavour combinations are evidence of his strong culinary training, Red Seal designation, and creativity. Having worked under two Michelin Star chefs while traveling throughout Europe in his 20s, he has refined his fusion style with daring and vibrant dishes.

After his training, Chef Winston continued his career locally working for a variety of establishments, such as Club Link and Westmount Golf Course. He also opened Rebel Creek Golf Course and spearheaded a joint catering venture, as well as other culinary pursuits over the course of his career.

Having joined Household China and Gifts as a guest cooking class instructor, and then as a full time chef two months ago, Chef Winston has overhauled the lunch dining experience to offer guests amazing food in a welcoming atmosphere at a winning price ($12.95 for a main, side and drink).  Changing menu offers daily and using seasonal produce; Chef Winston’s creations are a hit with customers. From fish to beef, and his famous fried chicken, diners feast while the antics of the kitchen and Chef Winston’s joyful personality are in plain view.

When asked why he chose Household China and Gifts as his next culinary adventure, Chef Winston replied, “it’s the right place and right time.” His guests and co-workers alike couldn’t agree more.

With big changes coming to Household China and Gifts, Chef Winston Lewis is one to see, hear, and enjoy in a satisfying and delicious food coma of his creation.

Come in and join us for our lunches, cooking classes and much more!


Julia Child Never Apologized – And Why You Shouldn’t Either

Today is the birthday of a culinary legend – Julia Child – who was responsible for making cooking an art and an experience, and not just an afterthought, in North America.

Food and eating was a constant in every aspect of her life, and she took the intimidation and exclusivity out of it. If you messed up in the kitchen, as Child would sometimes do – it wasn’t a big deal. Instead, it was a ‘shit happens’ moment (pardon my French).

One of Child’s cardinal rules was “No matter what happens in the kitchen, never apologize.” I was particularly obsessed with this part of her book My Life in France, where Child made an eggs Florentine dish for a friend that was a complete and utter failure, yet refused to acknowledge its shortcomings:

“I don’t believe in twisting yourself into knots of excuses and explanations over the food you make. When one’s hostess starts in with self-deprecations such as “Oh, I don’t know how to cook…” or “Poor little me…” or “This may taste awful…” it is so dreadful to have to reassure her that everything is delicious and fine, whether it is or not. Besides, such admissions only draw attention to one’s shortcomings (or self-perceived shortcomings), and make the other person think, “Yes, you’re right, this really is an awful meal!” Maybe the cat has fallen into the stew, or the lettuce has frozen, or the cake has collapsed — eh bien, tant pis! Usually one’s cooking is better than one thinks it is. And if the food is truly vile, as my ersatz eggs Florentine surely were, then the cook must simply grit her teeth and bear it with a smile — and learn from her mistakes.”

It’s possibly my favorite characteristic of Julia; she never apologized and encouraged all of us to have courage in the kitchen. And, if we failed, to try, try again.

I cannot help but channel a little Julia into my everyday work life, treating it as if I were flipping a potato pancake. If it breaks apart, pick the pieces up off the counter, slap them back into the pan and say something like “Eh bien, tant pis!” Or – “shit happens” and move on. No one but you will know the difference.

The Avocado Theory

I recently came across a hilarious article about “The Avocado Theory’ on one of my favourite blogs.

Haven’t heard of it?  No worries, I will fill you in.

Avocados are delicious and nutritious. Plus, they have been sustaining the Internet through Instagram posts for a long time – so they are basically just like Beyoncé.

The only caveat about avocados is that you have to be a produce ninja to know exactly when they are ready to eat. Bananas tell you what is happening, but not an avocado, where the whole ripening process ranges in mind blowing shades of the same color: very green, to green, to army green, to…I think this is still green, but it might be brown, and does that mean it’s ready to eat?

Everyone who has ever waited an entire week for an avocado to ripen to make guacamole knows the perturbation of realizing that the specimen — perfect just one hour ago — has suddenly gone rogue.

So too goes the adage for men under 30.

To put it into perspective, let’s look at your average guy in his mid twenties. He is discerningly good-looking (and knows this about himself), has a high metabolism with no decline in sight, a super sex drive, as well as a still–strong hairline.

He is in no real hurry to enter into a long-term relationship.
He plays the field, kills it on the dance floor, and, if deemed a non-serial killer by a girl, exchanges her number for his pick up line.
Most girls flock to this and will try to date guys like this exclusively, but to little or no avail.
But, to be fair, he just isn’t ready.

26 – Not ready.
27 – still not ready.
28 – no dice.

But then, out of nowhere, he is ready.
Is 30 a magical number?
Who knows?

Maybe she’s not particularly special, nor the one he’s had the most in common with, but because he is essentially an avocado, he has decided that in this very second, he is READY and she is IT.

However, if said girl is not ready at the very same moment — (girls follow a similar pattern though I’d say despite the fruit’s phallic nature we’re much more like bananas) — then things get weird.

He becomes overripe. In his desire to secure a mate he becomes too mushy both figuratively and literally.

Avocados, man.

WWRD – What Would Riggins Do?

This past week, our “Almost like a” Liquidation Sale continued with an even wider selection of items on sale. I spent all of the days writing up bills and walking quickly (not running) around the store finding items. It was exhausting.

What got me through it, and will still get me through it, is Tim Riggins.

Who is Tim Riggins you may ask?
He is what raw sensuality looks like when it puts on a football jersey and maintains a blood alcohol level well above the legal limit. His hair is perfectly tousled; he has dreamy bedroom eyes, the greatest muscles, and a voice that will melt anyone’s heart.

He is more than a crazy attractive, plaid-wearing cowboy; he is the greatest character that used to be on television (Friday Night Lights) and he almost always does the right thing.
Plus, he is Canadian in real life, making him hotter.

So I often ask myself – WWRD? – What Would Riggins Do?

Protect a friend during a tornado, take the blame and go to jail for his older brother, cook romantic meals for the person he likes, have some beers, get the cheerleaders to do his homework (not the best), play football, and make everybody fall in love with him.

My mom has also come to love Tim Riggins as much as I have.
(But WWRD to her means Waterford, Wedgewood, Royal Doulton – which is pretty, but not ruggedly handsome)

FUN FACT: In several scenes of the most recent James Bond movie, you can see a Royal Doulton Bulldog figurine on M’s desk. His name is ‘Jack’. Originally, the Bulldogs were made by Royal Doulton in 1941 and modeled in many cases on the likeness of Winston Churchill. Recently, Royal Doulton has re-issued this piece as a licensed piece of memorabilia that relates to the Skyfall movie.  It is pretty awesome.

Tim Riggins is kind hearted, hard drinking, and yes, smokin’ hot.  There is nobody better.

Plus, he smells really good, like fresh cut grass and sexy man sweat.
My mom says you can tell this through the TV.
And I trust her.

Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose.


That time I won a trip for 2 to Cuba

I like hockey but I am pretty much terrible at it.
And I am not just saying that. It is very true. My brothers will be the first ones to confirm it.

So Wednesday January 15 was the strangest, craziest night. I’m not even sure it was real life and I still don’t understand how it all went down.

Here’s what happened:
a. I was given two tickets to the Leafs/Sabres game from the very generous Jay, owner of Morty’s Pub. An unexpected and lovely gift.
b. As I was looking for my seat, I was approached and asked to participate in the post 2nd period hockey challenge. I said yes, of course, because you can’t just turn down a chance to shoot a puck on NHL ice.
c. Again, let me say how terrible I am at hockey. I have zero aim. So with my eyes partially closed, I shot, and won. Red line to red line, closest puck wins. First puck was embarrassingly short of the red line but second puck was right on. So somehow, I beat 5 others and won a trip for 2 to Cuba.
d. Crazy, eh!

When you really think about it, it wasn’t really hockey skills that won me that trip. More like a lot of luck in a game of high stakes shuffleboard.