We’re more of a beer (or cider) ‘n’ nachos crew than the types to go to fancy galas, but we love supporting a good cause, and the Special Olympics Canada Foundation is certainly a good cause to support! Next Friday (April 22) in our hometown of Calgary, the Foundation is holding its motionball Ignite gala. It’s billed as a charity event for young philanthropists and attracts 1,000 people in their fanciest dress, all out for some dancing, drinking, and money raising.
In addition to seeing and being seen (plus complementary drinks, a chance to mingle with some Special Olympics athletes, and a luxury silent auction) this year’s motionball gala will feature a performance from beloved Toronto DJ Skratch Bastid. One of Canada’s most successful DJs, Skratch Bastid generally plays about 150 shows a year at points around the world and has worked with other artists like Buck 65 and Shad. And, the guy also knows his food, which makes us love him even more. I called Skratch Bastid (whose actual name is Paul Murphy) up in Toronto to chat food in anticipation of his motionball appearance in Calgary. Here’s what he had to say:
Rolling Spoon: Are you a food guy? Do you cook?
Skratch Bastid: My wife is the main cook in the house. I like to cook, but she’s amazing, so I usually defer to her, but I’m pretty proud of my own culinary skills. Because I do travel almost half the year I find that by default I’m pretty big into restaurants.
Do you look forward to touring because of the food?
It’s probably the second or third thing I think about with every city. To me food is tied so much to your experience of a place. Food is one of the things that we remember about places. I just went on a trip to South America with my wife to Argentina, Chile, Peru, Bolivia, Columbia, and Uruguay and I can tell you what we ate in every single spot. Food is just one of those things that’s so integral to the experience of each place.
I have a very open palate and I like trying local food. I like learning what people have been eating forever, how they’ve survived on what’s growing locally, and that’s a really exciting part of the trip too.
What are some of your favourite cities in Canada to eat in?
Toronto has amazing food and I live here, so I’m pretty spoiled. The multicultural city that Toronto is really plays into its restaurant game and there’s so many great restaurants here. As much as I love a home cooked meal, sometimes when I get home I just want to go to a certain restaurant.
What are your favourites in Toronto?
I like this spot called La Cubana. I like Guu, they have one in Vancouver as well. I like Fat Pasha. I like Terroni, it’s a classic Italian spot that I usually take visitors to. I like a spot called Fat City Blues. And there’s a spot called Hop Goods Foodliner that’s an East Coast place.
When you do get out of Toronto what cities do you look forward to?
Let’s stick with Canada. Vancouver has amazing food, especially sushi, I’m a big sushi fan. Calgary’s got a good scene too, my friends just opened Home and Away there, which is a cool spot. I like sports too and it’s like a sports bar where you can get a really good meal and play games like skeeball, so I love that. Of course the steak in Calgary is incredible too. I’m from the East Coast, so going back home and eating fish, lobster, sushi is such a treat because it’s always so fresh out there. My rule is that if I’m close to water I try to find sushi. So on both coasts of Canada I try to eat sushi.
I think it’s really the multi-cultural aspect that brings out the food. When people come from a different place their food is such an integral part of that background. There are so many diverse types of people in this country, so you end up getting a wide range of food, and that’s awesome.
You’ve worked with a lot of people, do you find that sharing a meal is a good way to spark collaboration?
Of course! You always have to break bread, so to speak. With the travel food is sometimes where you bond with other people. If you’re into food then they’re going to want to show you the best they’ve got. So you tend to make food buddies when you go out and play. And when I come to town people know I like to get down so they’ll take me to cool places. Certain artists may only like MacDonalds, but I think people know that I like a lot of different stuff.
What is your favourite kind of pie?
Pecan. I like the contrast of the hard nutty top layer and the creamy inside.
So who wants to go to Toronto to eat? I know I do. But until then, if you’re in Calgary, be sure to support the Special Olympics Calgary motionball Ignite gala. Tickets are $150 (you get a $50 tax reciept) and are available here.