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‘Schmaltz’ Makes the Man

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Anthony Rose never particularly wanted to write a cookbook. As the chef and co-owner of six restaurants in Toronto—including the nouveau delicatessen Rose and Sons, the Middle East-meets-Eastern Europe mashup eatery Fat Pasha, and the smoked fish shop Schmaltz Appetizing—he already had plenty to keep him busy. But as with many sought-after chefs today, a book deal came to him. He agreed but only if, like Sinatra, he could “do it my way.” In other words, this would not be an average “dump and stir” cookbook. Instead, like his restaurants and overall vibe as a human, it would be funny, edgy, a bit hectic, and deeply personal.

The resulting book, The Last Schmaltz: A Very Serious Cookbook, was published this month by Random House’s Appetite imprint. The recipes are pulled from Rose’s childhood, from his restaurants, and from his past two decades spent immersed in the culinary world. The chapters are interspersed with essays by Canadian food writer Chris Johns, who captures both the quirky kitsch and familial warmth exuded at Rose’s restaurants. Rose’s recipe introductions, meanwhile, are cheeky and off the cuff. “No one really likes Manischewitz, except for the kids who drink it as their first taste of alcohol,” he writes before a recipe for Manischewitz vermouth, which is flavored with sumac, peppercorns, juniper berries, and wormwood.

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