In a dead end Corktown alleyway, The Society culturites get a pickling & canning lesson from Chef Jamie Kennedy at Toronto gem, Gilead Café. Didn’t you know? Mason jars are, like, the HOTTEST thing right now. I mean, if we aren’t sipping herbal tea FROM A MASON JAR, then we are pushing plums in it until you can not push a plum no more.

Yearning to be a domestic goddess, but always failing, I was most excited for this sumptuous foodie soiree. Don’t you wish you had a cellar full of pickled preserves? Even better, stacked with preserves you actually made? Yes…yes, yes, yes….this is the dream! After creeping down to his grandma’s basement, and discovering her secret stash of canned fruit, it became Jamie Kennedy’s dream too. And now he lives this sweet & savory fantasy in a hidden nook south of King Street.

It’s not new but if you aren’t a restaurant buff, you might not know that Gilead Cafe is there, unless you followed your nose to a steamy vent fifty feet down a lane. But, now you know, and you should go. (And it is not just pickles, honey.) Beyond bragging to your friends about how you found this neat-o secret food fort, you will love the menu because, um, it’s JAMIE KENNEDY! The simple decor consists of one long narrow room and walls are lined with mason jars that glow in every harvest colour. Red peppers, beets, tomatoes, artichokes, asparagus, mini corn, so-many-good-things-goodness IN A MASON JAR!!! It gives the place a super comfy feeling, like you are connected to a farm, or something.

Sipping on Perrier and Heineken, we canned plums and got comfy for an elegant fall feast. Outside the rain was pouring, but the feeling inside Gilead was entirely intimate and warm.

If Jamie Kennedy read me recipes before bed, I’d forever have sweet dreams. Awww! Can we bottle this warm fuzzy in a mason jar?

~ Jen McNeely

Gilead Cafe is located at 4 Gilead Place, and well worth the trip to Corktown.

Oh, sorry, you want to know how to preserve plums? Stuff them in a jar, toss in a bit of cognac, add simple syrup until it reaches the top, screw on a lid, stick it in a warm bath for awhile and then watch it on the shelf, for a year. That’s the gist of it, but maybe consult a cookbook for exact temperatures.