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Interview: Canadian director Ivan Reitman

The director dishes on his new restaurant, growing up in Toronto and Ghostbusters-themed desserts.

Ivan Reitman

Home base Santa Barbara, California, and Toronto
Claim to fame Made the classic comedies National Lampoon's Animal House, Meatballs and Ghostbusters
Latest projects Opened Toronto restaurant Montecito with chef Jonathan Waxman in July 2014; produced and directed 2014's Draft Day with Kevin Costner; will also produce Ghostbusters III
Travel essential "My iPad. It's light, and it has my books, music, e-mail and texts. I can't leave home without it."

Why did you choose Toronto's entertainment district to launch your first restaurant, montecito?
I wasn't really looking to get into the food business, but I own an apartment next door and wanted a chef-driven place that's comfortable, inviting and serves wonderful food that's not too fussy. And just like TIFF Bell Lightbox, the building is on land that my father bought some 40 years ago.

Will the food be inspired by your films?
There is a Ghostbusters-themed Stay Puft Marshmallow Man baked Alaska dessert... But mostly the menu items are inspired by seasonal, local ingredients. I didn't even realize that our Canadian bounty is as good as it is until I heard our chef talking about it.

How has Toronto's food scene changed over the years?
Exciting young chefs are starting their own simple places, particularly around Ossington and College and King Street further west. They're a wonderful addition to the old-school restaurants I remember from growing up there.

What's the most memorable vacation you've taken lately?
We've had a lot of busman's holidays the last few years, but we finally went on a real vacation to Capri for a couple of weeks. We just hung out there and took in the island and the whole Amalfi Coast.

Have you discovered any exciting cities while filming?
I just shot in Cleveland, which I found to be a very charming city full of architectural and historical interest. More importantly, there's a thriving restaurant scene there led by a group of young chefs, and I was really surprised how good the restaurants were.

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