Gordon W, Chapati Meister

 

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In the shared pursuit of culinary perfection one memorable friend was Gordon W. Over the years since first meeting in India, our paths would cross periodically either with my visits to Toronto, or his to Detroit.  During a stint in Washington D.C. I had acquired a stainless steel food cart to cater events with.  Detroit’s inclement weather and urban sprawl allowed only limited usage, so I offered the cart to Mr. W, who was able to take advantage of the concentrated foot traffic in Toronto. Eminently creative, he placed a griddle, a burner and propane cappuccino machine on top of the cart. He stored home-cooked subjis and chutneys in heated compartments in the cart to compliment his “cart top” cooking.  Every morning, playing drums and cymbals, he and an assistant or two would parade  the cart to Queen Street on a bicycle and foot. Arriving at the auspicious corner, he set folding chairs around the cart and began making chapattis, immediately creating appetizing aromas which began wafting down the street. Lines would quickly form to get one of his sandwich wraps, freshly cooked, filled with vegetables, dressed with a chutney condiment and still steaming. As customers took a bite, flavors would explode in the mouth, instantly creating dedicated patrons. In a short amount of time, Gordon W became a fixture on Queen Street with his combination of performance art and culinary excellence. He perfected the art of the street chapati which continued for almost a decade.  If there would be a chapati hall of fame, Gordon W would certainly be there.  His knack for turning every meal into an event was awe-inspiring.  Beyond showmanship, he did it as an art-form and incorporated meaning and passion into every aspect of the meal.  Gordon thrived on sharing this with anyone willing to bite into a fresh chapati wrap sandwich.  As of late, he resides in Berlin… playing tablas and cooking for many.

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