If you’re a jollof fan in Toronto, you know how hard it is to get jollof delivered to your home. Thankfully the game is changing with young chefs like Chef Marc! Inspired by his culinary background and diverse heritage (Ghanaian/Haitian), Chef Marc launched ChopTime Catering to give Torontonians the delicious African & Caribbean flavours we crave. His pop up delivery operates twice a month on the 15th and 30th and allows foodies to order plates of Ghanaian classics like Red Red, a rich and delicious bean stew or jollof rice with tasty chicken, straight to their door. His menu is seasonal, so come January there will be new delicious African/Caribbean inspired classics to choose from. Having tried Choptime’s special delivery myself, I can tell you it is soo delicious! Seriously y’all I don’t think I’ve ever finished a plate of red red that fast! I connected with Chef Marc to learn more about his journey and his new venture, Choptime Catering this month. Check out the interview below to learn more:
What inspired you to start cooking? How does your heritage influence your food?
I was lucky to have grown up in a home where both my parents LOVED cooking and would even get competitive with each other when it came to food . A typical week for me would be a mix of my mother’s cooking ( Rice and Beans , Griot, Lambi , Creole Shrimp, Banan Peze) my father’s cooking ( Peanut Soup with Omo Tuo, Jollof Rice, Light Soup with some Fufu and Fried Mackerels, Sardines… any assorted oily fish tbh) and the weekly takeout or dine in dinners we would do which would have ranged from Middle Eastern to Indian to Japanese.
That mixed with an intense love affair with cooking shows ( from 99 till like 09 …I can only handle so many reruns on Food Network) sparked something in me and made me want to see if I could do the things I saw Chef Pasquale , The Iron Chefs ( OG Version! Terrible English voice overs and all) and Emeril do one day in a kitchen of my own
What have you noticed as a Black Chef in the industry? Particularly as a Black chef in Toronto?
Our spices and flavours are loved but they aren’t always respected.
For the longest time I put the food I grew up on to the back burner because I thought it wasn’t “refined” enough or “elevated” enough, and I only began thinking that once I got into the industry. One of the most beautiful things in the world is to see a group of cooks gather for “staff meal” or “family meal”, its when cooks get the chance to cook for each other and 9 times out of ten that is when you truly learn about the people you work with via food and conversation.
Ask a black chef, cook or apprentice about the very very first time they cooked something for Family Meal that they grew up eating in their homes and watch most of them tell a story about hesitation or slight fear and the worry that no one will eat it because it’ll be too “spicy” or too “seasoned”. Of course by the end of the meal, everyone is in love with the dish but why does the industry create that initial fear in us?
What are your favorite dishes to prepare?
Definitely Mac and Cheese. One of my earliest memories in the kitchen was my mom teaching me how to make a bechamel , I remember thinking how cool it was that she was teaching me this classic super secret fancy sauce only to hit culinary school years later and find out that she didn’t actually invent it. Still a running joke in my family
What advice do you have for young Black chefs coming into the business?
-You’re not alone (you WILL hit a wall and have times where you feel like this but push through I promise you it’s worth it on the other side )
-Be passionate , be observant , be humble ,
– Stand up for what you believe in creatively and morally and let your voice be heard, do not let any kitchen make you feel less than or undervalued.
What services do you offer?
At ChopTime Catering we offer Private and Corporate Catering Services and we recently launched our #EverySeason Campaign which is essentially a pop up take out meal service where our followers can order from our seasonal menu 48hrs before the 15th and 30th of every month and have a meal delivered to their location or pick up on the date mentioned above.
Each seasons menu will be different but we will always offer vegan options and all of our proteins are halal unless stated otherwise
How can foodies get in contact?