Toronto restaurateur Ed Ho started as a waiter in Sudbury and has fond memories of Deluxe’s chicken- on-a-bun.
Committed to “Think global. Eat local,” Ed Ho, a Sudbury-born restaurateur, prepared The Taste of Sudbury for several hundred people who paid $200 each to celebrate their northern roots and raise money for Health Sciences North last November at the Toronto Celebrates Sudbury event which was held at Toronto’s “uber cool” venue 99 Sudbury Street.
Ho is the owner of Globe Bistro (124 Danforth Ave.), earth Rosedale (1055 Yonge St.),.and earth Bloor West (|2448 Bloor St.W.) in Toronto.
“Both my parents were first generation immigrants. My dad is Chinese and my mother Finnish, which is a pretty unique combo but something that is a uniquely Sudbury story. My dad moved to Sudbury to work at the Inco medical clinic. My grandmother moved to Sudbury because her sister was there and she wanted to start a new life with my mother.”
Ho grew up in the city’s South End and attended Lockerby Composite School. He got his first job in a restaurant working as a waiter for Nick Koutsoukis.
Q. Can you describe The Taste of Sudbury menu?
I had my own ideas, but I also asked a number of friends to describe their food memories of Sudbury or answer the question, “What is Sudbury cuisine?” There were a number of remarkable similarities. Some things are uniquely Northern Ontario and other things uniquely Sudbury.
The biggest theme was the prominent cultures in Sudbury: Italians, Finns and Ukrainians just to name a few. Lots of mentions of the Caruso Club tavola calda, Tarini’s porketta, Leinala’s
Bakery, and Ukrainian cabbage rolls and perogies. Some other Sudbury memories: lake fish, wild blueberries, Golden Grain light rye, Dino the popcorn man, Deluxe chicken-on-a-bun, Frank’s pastrami and the Northern draft ball.
Q. Do you consider yourself a Sudbury supporter and why?
I don’t get up to Sudbury as often as I would like to as I don’t have any family up there. I do miss a lot of things. I am certainly a Sudbury supporter. I think anybody who comes from Sudbury has fond memories of home. The fact that the mining sector is doing well and that Sudbury is becoming the main hub (medical, education) for the north is very exciting. And maybe in my lifetime, there will be four-lanes all the way up north.
Q. Do you have any nostalgic favourite foods/memories of Sudbury?
I am half Finnish, so I have a lot of Finn food memories: Leinala’s Bakery and my grandmother’s cooking. Every morning at my grandparent’s camp in Iron Bridge, we would go fishing and my brother would gut the pike and fry it up right away. I think that is why I still don’t eat much fish today. The other thing I always do in Sudbury is go to Deluxe for a chicken-on-a-bun. They won’t tell me the secret ingredients in the sauce, but I think we can figure it out pretty close.
A real distinct memory for me was coming up to visit before we opened Globe Bistro in 2006. I had dinner at Verdicchio’s and had a great talk with Mark Gregorini. I was going into the restaurant business without much experience managing one. He said to use a lot of common sense, do whatever is right for the customer and everything else should work out. Pretty simple philosophy. Works out pretty well. It is all about the guest.
Q. Did growing up in Sudbury influence your style of cooking in any way?
Strangely, not having Cable TV until Grade 7 or 8 left my brother and I watching CBC, CTV and TVO. One of the shows we watched religiously was The Nature of Things with David Suzuki. Suzuki gave me a sense of awareness and ownership for the environment well before it was really mainstream.
Sustainability, local sourcing, and doing no harm is what we practice.