Who exactly is Squiggy?
Born and raised in Burlington, his first passion was the theatre. After getting a BFA in theatre production from Ryerson University, he spent six years freelancing and touring the world. He took a break from the theatre scene to take George Brown’s one year chef certificate program. Though it was less pay, worse conditions and longer hours, he’s found his happy home in the kitchen.
He recently did the 7th edition of his own pop-up Squiggfeast. I chatted with Squiggy about this month’s dinner held at the Depanneur, and the genesis behind Squiggfeast 7 – extraVEGANza:
What inspired you to start a pop-up?
I had done an arts festival (Squiggfest) for friends in what I called a “previous life” and that just carried over into doing my own events. The inspiration came from just wanting to cook for friends on a bigger scale.
Who inspired you to do a Vegan menu?
Well, unofficially, a friend. Back at George Brown I had to write a review of a restaurant and she joined me for an article I titled Carnivore in the Den of Vegans. She has since moved out of the country and was visiting around the time when I was planning my next Squiggfeast. It seemed the ideal timing for the challenge.
What were the challenges you placed on yourself when creating the menu?
I wanted to create vegan food that didn’t feel like eating vegan food. I know when it feels like I’m just eating a bowl of sprouts. My next challenge was to create vegan food that wasn’t trying to recreate meat. Vegan food is just food, no need for it to be a meatless burger or anything like that.
What surprised you about this Squiggfeast?
How well the seats sold to non-vegans. of the 21 seats sold, 18 of them were omnivores. People were excited to try my food and support me even under an umbrella that they normally wouldn’t go out for.
What dish did you get the best feedback about?
I think the best feedback was about the jerk tvp/rice cracker dish, especially during the post-meal munchies.
What’s next for Squiggfeast 8?
The next event will most likely be sometime in October which means that a Thanksgiving theme may be next. Although ‘the hunt for (red meat) october’ has also been suggested.
How can people get notifications or subscribe for the next event?
Where can we find you to enjoy your eats in the mean time?
Right now I’m honing my craft at the Drake and the Farmhouse tavern, both places I highly recommend.
Brunchosaurus will be visiting Squiggy for brunch at Farmhouse Tavern very soon! Hope to see some of you at Squiggy’s next pop-up in October!!