Written by Kristina K.
Sipping pints in Toronto’s Kensington Market, Tad Michalak explains that the east end, “…is part of your city, this is a cool place. Come and hang out sometime… and not just to have brunch!”
He’s one of the three masterminds behind Feast In the East, a one-of-a-kind monthly event that takes place in Toronto’s east end.
Now I’m a west-end girl myself and, I’ll be honest, there was a time when I’d naively laugh at the mere suggestion of heading east of Spadina. But monthly Feasts by Michalak and his cohorts, Neil Rankin and Cameron Lee, have been providing a hot and fresh reason for west-enders to venture over the Don River and east-enders to not feel obligated to leave their own neighbourhood for one of the best-valued and straight-up amazing experiences this city has to offer.
“We love the west, we love the CITY. The point is that for people who live around here we’re saying ‘hey you don’t have to go to the west to go see shows or go to art openings or pop-up dinners. This stuff can happen in your community. It IS happening, come chill in your neighbourhood!”
These gents, of course, are no strangers to putting on events. Michalak and his promotions company, Burn Down The Capital, is highly regarded in and around Toronto and is responsible for some of the coolest shows that happen in this city, as well as booking tours throughout North America.
It was when Michalak noticed Neil Rankin’s familiar face in his own neighbourhood and realized they lived just down the street from each other in Toronto’s east end when the concept for Feast was realized.
Starting small, the first Feast featured a free cupcake with admission, the second, some ice cream. Before long, Michalak and his crew found themselves slaving over a hot oven in July turning out vegan pizza slices to show-goers, while running the night at the same time.
The operation is a little more streamlined now. In a chameleonic art/loft space, each monthly edition features a different chef that can range from professionals in Toronto’s most popular kitchens to friends & food enthusiasts who simply dig cooking for a crowd. The menu mandate is simple: feed the people (being sure to offer a vegan option and gluten-free option whenever possible).
To accompany these tasty delights, Cameron Lee curates art installations and projections by some of Toronto’s most interesting artists that completely transform the space into something new each and every month, while sounds from some of the city’s coolest bands massage the ear drums. Rankin says, “We try to maintain a level of quality across the board — who’s relevant and interesting and doing something new.”
The goal is for a seamless, all-encompassing experience. The food carries into the environs, that carry into the music and each night is completely different from the last. It’s like walking into a new world every month, even though it’s always in the same space, aptly named Polyhaus.
Regarding the chefs, Michalak adds, “…If they’re working their way up and are at a similar level to the calibre of bands and artists that we’re promoting in their area of expertise and trying to make a name for themselves… this gives them more freedom and opportunity to play with the menu and create something that’s very much their own.”
You can buy an advanced ticket for Feast in the East at select locations for $7 or pay $10 ($13 for admission and food) at the door to check out the show and sample the month’s delicacies.
NOW THINK ABOUT THAT FOR A MINUTE. $7 = full night of EXCELLENT bands, a gorgeous art show AND dinner.
“A combo at MacDonald’s costs more than that” says Rankin after a frothy gulp of his stout. We crack up laughing because it’s true.
This monthly event truly is a feast for all the senses. Your pocket change can get you in the door, and you’ll leave with a full belly and a blown mind.
The next edition of Feast in the East is Saturday April 13th at Polyhaus (388 Carlaw Ave., Toronto, Canada), featuring music from Nadja, Slim Twig, Young Mother & Wet Dreams. Environs by Meg Remy & Lulu Turnbull. Deron Engbers (Oyster Boy, The Curzon) will be preparing a ramp (wild leek) risotto, pending availability from local foragers.
$7 adv tickets available at Circus Books & Music, The Film Buff, Soundscapes and Grasshopper Records. Dinner is FREE with adv ticket. $10 at the door ($13 for admission and dinner). All Ages!
A sampling of the other great bands and artists who’ve played the Feast. Check them out!Add to favorites