Colin Tooke

A Top Restaurateur’s Home Cooking Essentials

Colin Tooke runs two of Toronto’s top restaurants and one in Muskoka — Grand Electric, Grand Electric Muskoka and Electric Mud BBQ — where he creates a memorable (and delicious) dining experience, but cooking at home remains one of his biggest joys. “In the city, we get together every Sunday with six to 10 friends. We gather in the kitchen, drink some wine and cook together,” he says in House & Home‘s August issue, where we feature his most beloved recipes.

Here, Colin shares his favorite cookbooks and the vintage records that serve as the perfect tune for whipping up a home cooked meal from the heart. “The shelf and turntable are right in the kitchen. We listen to a lot of old gospel-y funk and relaxed music, you know, Bob Dylan, The Band, something you want to listen to on a Sunday.”

Colin’s favorite cookbooks:

Gjelina: Cooking from Venice, California has amazing photographs, tons of vegetables and recipes that are simple and easy to follow.

The Art of Simple Food are classic books from Alice Waters of Chez Panisse, my favorite restaurant and favorite chef. I enjoy these books because they make the cook do some thinking themselves as opposed to just following every recipe line by line.

Anything by Diane Kennedy is good for people looking to get into Mexican cuisine. Her passion and knowledge towards Mexican cuisine is both admirable and unsurpassable.

Zuni Café Cookbook is full of beautifully simple and delicious recipes. I recently discovered this book and can’t believe I never knew about it before. The greatest thing about this book is that it goes into great detail with each recipe, perfect for beginner and chefs alike.

Colin’s favorite records:

Teatro by Willie Nelson is my baby son’s favorite. It’s spectacular.

The Basement Tapes by Bob Dylan and The Band, because how could you go wrong?

Hooker ’n’ Heat is the album by John Lee Hooker and Canned Heat released in 1971.

Numero is a record group out of the States. Anything they do is good.

Party Down by Little Beaver is good album to get you in a feel-good mood.

Anything by Vivian Reid.

The Return Of Pipecock Jackxon by Lee Scratch Perry. The album is pure bliss. The vibe is always right when this is playing.

Levon Helm & The RCO All-Stars is a super rare album. If I could have a soundtrack for my life this would be it.

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