we’re serving a different kind of green this season

Gil, Alan, Brent, Christine


It started with a panicked phone call.

“Alan, I don’t care how much they cost — we have to serve these greens.”

Wait what?

That was the call I received in mid-April from Christine, Partner and Executive Chef at iQ (and also mother of two two-year-olds). As we do each season, Christine and I taste, talk and debate for hours about what we’re going to feature. We’ve literally spent 45 minutes arguing about the merits of a cutting radishes in quarters vs. slicing them like coins, amongst dozens of other seemingly inconsequential things. What most people see as minutia, we…

our new digs uptown

A small space w/ a huge heart

Today we open the doors to our eighth location in as many years, and our first uptown. Located on Yonge St. (just north of Sheppard on the east side) and a part of the redeveloping Yonge + Sheppard Centre, we have a lot to say about our new home.


First off — there’s the size. Small but mighty is how we like to describe it :-)

At 980 SF, it’s the smallest street-level location we’ve ever built. …

It’s beautiful that each year, on January 30th, the entire country comes together to raise awareness about the importance of mental health. Granted, we acknowledge the conversation is worthy of more than a single day in the calendar. At iQ, every day is mental health awareness day because we recognize the importance of a clear mind when it comes to pursuing dreams and achieving one’s full potential.

To signal that, we held our first Town Hall of 2019 at a mediation studio (a big thx to the team @ Hoame for hosting). We kicked things off with a 30-minute guided…

If it wasn’t obvious by now, we’re dog people.

Quite literally, half of the team at our headquarters count their dogs as children while many more staff across our restaurants are pup owners. We’re always looking for ways to give back to causes that are meaningful to us, so we thought: why not do something sweet for our furry friends?

To that end, we’ve assembled an all-star team of good people to raise awareness (and funds!) for Save Our Scruff, a non-profit dog rescue organization.

iQ, Kotn and local tattoo artist Curt Montgomery (you guessed it, all devoted dog owners)…

In every aspect of our business, we look to lead and make decisions that will help shape the future of the hospitality industry for years to come. While many of the choices we make are guest facing (i.e. last February we were one of Canada’s first retailers to go fully cashless), the most important ones speak to the environment we create for our staff.

In July of last year, we rolled out full health benefits for our restaurant leadership teams (our Team Leaders, Trainers, Assistant Managers, Sous Chefs, and General Managers). Partnering with the progressive people at League (another Canadian…

cozy weekend DIY @ it’s finest

Growing up, squash was one of the few vegetables that wound up sidelined on my dinner plate. Around the time the air became colder and the pies apple-ier, I would maroon the sludgy orange wedge in favour of green beans, brussels sprouts, or any of the other amazing autumn vegetables from South Western Ontario.

Like most kids, texture was a big thing for me (actually it still is) and if my parents had roasted the squash instead of steaming it (give me all the crispy edges!!!) I probably would have had an easier time getting it down. This recipe is…

an open letter from our founder on the influence music had on his life + why every song you hear at iQ is hand-picked

For as long as I can remember, I was surrounded by music. At six years old, my brothers were already schooling me in ‘80s synth rock — Depeche Mode, Tears for Fears and Duran Duran were staples. When they weren’t asking me to play piano for their friends, my parents (new to Canada by way of Russia) entertained by blasting Gypsy Kings. Snow was dating a girl that lived in our apartment building and weekly Informer sightings were the norm (for a little kid that was a big deal). Like every MuchMusic loving tween in Toronto, Dance Mix’s ’92 —…

Mash them. Hash them. Braise them. There are many ways to prepare turnips — at iQ we pickle them (as featured in our Kabocha Tahini) — but roasting is another one of our favourite ways to dig into this often under appreciated vegetable.

If you’ve never taken a trip to turnip-town, now’s the season. The turnips being plucked from the ground this time of year are slightly smaller + sweeter than usual, resulting in maximum deliciousness.

The recipe below makes for the ultimate hearty fall side.

Serves 4

1 bunch turnips

1- 2 Tbsp olive oil

large pinch salt


LIL’ ZUCC in all its glory

six months of recipe testing (mostly in my apartment kitchen)

In early January of this year, Alan (iQ’s founder) and I met up to brainstorm menu ideas for 2017 over a coffee at Neo. At the top of our wishlist was an epic seed loaf. The kind of loaf we’d want to eat everyday, a sort of baked goods version of our lentil soup. Nourishing, delicious, but also something that would stay relevant to our menu through seasonal changes — a workhorse.

Although I love baking, developing new recipes is equal parts enjoyable and aggravating.

First, I have to actually have an idea. That’s hard. I mean its really really…

In 2006, something scary (and unexpected) happened: the numbers of honey and bumblebee colonies across the globe started to fall. And the worst part — we still don’t fully understand why.

In case you didn’t know, bees are at the centre of the world’s agricultural health. We rely on them for nearly 1/3rd of our entire food supply and some of our favourite foods — almonds, avocados, blueberries — require pollination to thrive. No mas guacamole? Your favourite smoothie sans almond milk? Might as well move to Mars.

The good news? This year, the number of honeybees in the U.S…



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store