Green in the City: Laura Calder

Photo: Courtesy HarperCollins
How a celebrity chef lives—and eats—green in Toronto

Chef and cookbook author Laura Calder grew up in an eco-friendly household in New Brunswick. But living in Toronto has posed a few challenges for the Food Network star. You really have to work harder in the city, she says. Though she’s been living here less than a year, she’s already discovered a handful of green spaces, shops and services she can’t live without.

Where do you go to escape the hustle and bustle of the city?

I haven’t found my perfect little grassy hideaway yet. I do love The Beaches, though. It’s like going away for the weekend, but only taking the subway to do it.

What’s your favourite specialty shop?

I love Tealish (198 Walnut Ave., page 10). Their teas are organic and they have the cutest little teapots and tea things there. And Toronto Sprouts ( for retailers). I like all those sprouts. They’re great in salads—such as a coleslaw made of carrots and purple cabbage, but with soy, lemon and olive oil instead of mayo.

Your favourite organic retailer?

The Organic Boutique (970 Queen St. W., page 15). It’s a small grocery store. Steve, the owner, is a very cool guy who really knows his products. They sell a lot of high-end, wonderful products—I’m not saying it’s cheap—such as really fabulous organic chocolates. There are fruits and vegetables, too.

Where do you get your beauty products?

I love health food stores; I go to Noah’s Natural Foods. I use organic beauty and personal care products—I’m a Tom’s of Maine deodorant kind of girl. I’m using Clarins right now; it’s all-organic. But I also love this organic skincare brand called Éminence. They have a sunscreen in powder form.

As a chef, where do you get your meat?

I like Cumbrae’s (481 Church St.) if I’m going to spend a bomb. But I do go to the organic butchers in the St. Lawrence Market (92 Front St. E.), too. I like the lamb lady and the wild meat guy; he has boar and duck.

What about kitchen utensils? Do you avoid plastic there? 

My kitchen is a plastic-free zone. No Tupperware! Only wooden spoons, wire whisks, pots that are not lined with Teflon. I dream of a Saran Wrap-free life, and a paper towel-free life.

What about bottled water?

I’m not a big bottled water fan. I’m tap-oriented. When people come over for dinner, I fill up a carafe with water from the tap and it looks nice.