He’s a pizza-loving “Jewpanese” — his word — whose hit Cooking Channel show unleashed homemade “wacky food contraptions” on an unsuspecting Canada. Now, Nobu Adilman’s bringing his brand of brainy mischief to Eater Toronto as the site’s new editor.
Adilman’s best known up north as a creator of “Food Jammers”, in which he and two cohorts came up “with brilliant designs for culinary contraptions” like a charcoal-powered fish-and-chip fryer, homemade food dehydrator, and a cheese-cultivating, DIY bacteria cave. Adilman has a long television resume, from writing Canadian shows to acting in Canuck hits like Trailer Park Boys.
With best pal Daveed Goldman, Adilman also runs Choir!Choir!Choir!, an ad hoc singing group that gathers weekly to belt out choral versions of pop songs like Bryan Adams’ Run to You.
In between table-hopping — at least that’s how we imagine it — Adilman spoke to the Forward about Toronto delis, vegan soup, and his Japanese mother’s mandel broit.
You’re the son of a Jewish father [the late Toronto Star entertainment reporter Sid Adilman] and Japanese mother [scholar Toshiko Adilman]. What kind of food did you grow up with?
My father could barely cook an omelet. But he had a weekly habit of clipping recipes from the New York Times Magazine into a compendium of binders with dishes he would not so subtly suggest my mother make. She can cook just about anything so she conquered it all. Her Jewish cuisines won over my Jewish grandmother. A number of VIP Jews in Toronto regularly request her mandel broit, as long as she never tells their mothers. Side note: I am planning to make a short film that catalogues all these recipes.
Three years ago, Zane Caplansky applied to the city of Toronto to sell Montreal-style smoked-meat sandwiches from a cart. Confronted with red tape that would have required a steep investment in a mobile kitchen, he dropped the idea.
Bad news for the aspiring vendor became a boon for Toronto foodies. Caplansky instead started selling smoked-meat sandwiches from the back of a Toronto bar. Insane demand, fueled by word of mouth, led to the 2009 opening of Caplansky’s, his massively successful deli on the northern edge of the city’s historically Jewish Kensington Market neighborhood. “Caplansky’s did more to put Toronto on the map as a deli city than anyone else in half a century,” says David Sax, author of “Save the Deli” and a Forward contributor.