CTV's The Launch has reinvented the music television series genre with a refreshing take on the classic format. Each standalone episode features emerging unsigned artists who, with the help of various globally renowned music industry figures, audition for the opportunity to learn, record, and perform their version of a new original song. Since the debut of Season 2, we’ve sat down with the hit show’s weekly winners to find out their favourite spots to eat and drink in their hometowns.
Today, we’re talking to one of the aforementioned industry icons who helped last week's winner, Olivia Lunny realize her dream. The Launch producer and mentor, Shaun Frank is a multitalented DJ, producer and songwriter who has collaborated with the likes of the Chainsmokers, Steve Aoki, Dragonette, and many more. The Chainsmokers’ “Closer”, which Frank helped to write and compose, has gone on to become Bilboard’s 13th biggest hit of all time.
Although Shaun spends most of his time on tour (over 150 tour dates in North America last year alone), he calls Toronto home and today, we're going to find out some of his favourite Canadian eats as well as some of his top destinations in the GTA.
Cooking at home
If I’m making food at home, I like to throw a bunch of organic ingredients in a pan and fry it up with olive oil. So organic chicken, organic broccoli, organic garlic... I’m all about farm-to-table and I went on the keto diet for a bit and that was interesting. I pretty much don’t eat carbs and I try to keep the sugars to a minimum. I’m on a crazy weird health kick so my diet isn’t that exciting. I do the bulletproof coffee thing too. I’ve been doing the butter in the coffee and the MCT oil; it makes my brain fire a million miles a minute. It’s pretty good stuff first thing in the morning.
Sometimes I tour in the middle of America, where for some reason it’s fried chicken or burgers everywhere and I definitely miss my healthy Canadian food. We eat really healthy up here in Canada, especially Toronto, so I miss my green smoothies and healthy breakfasts. It’s crazy, some places you end up, the only choices you have are fried. The most healthy option is Olive Garden.
Breakfast and brunch
Oh, Mildred’s Temple Kitchen! Amazing brunch. I usually get the Benny. You can’t have a good brunch without a Benny.
I always go to a place called The Simple Kitchen. It’s on Roncesvalles. It’s like 90 per cent keto. Super clean, good organic food. It’s right near my studio so it’s definitely the go-to. And it’s on Uber Eats so it’s very convenient.
There’s a new spot in Toronto called Laissez Faire. My favourite restaurant. They’re doing great things. It’s a beautiful, dope place. The great thing is that after dinner, right around 11 p.m., they turn into a full party, so it’s great for going out for the night. I’ve been getting really into mezcals lately. Laissez Faire has this smoked mezcal cocktail, I don’t know exactly what the name is but if you ask the bartender, they’ll know what to give you. It’s great.
Favourite place to check out live music
I’m always on tour so I hardly ever go out these days. The Drake Underground is pretty cool. You know, actually the Mod Club is still probably my favourite place to go see a band. Really good sound.
Let’s talk iconic Canadian foods. What do you like more?
Ketchup chips or all-dressed chips?
Oh man, I dislike both of those pretty much evenly. I would turn down both. I’m going to go with plain Kettle chips.
Nanaimo bars or butter tarts?
I’m going to go with Nanaimo bars. My mom used to just love them. They are her favourite so it makes me think of her.
Raisins or no raisins in a butter tart?
I’m going to go with zero raisons on the butter tarts. I like the Portuguese ones. Portuguese butter tarts are fantastic in Toronto, especially on Ossington at the Venezia Bakery.
Hawkins Cheezies or Kraft Dinner?
Definitely Kraft Dinner. I’m not a Cheezies guy. I’ve never really got them. They’re weird because if you have one, you want more but you hate them. I don’t know how they created a food that you can hate but need.
West Coast or East Coast oysters?
Oh that’s a good one. East Coast–the big ones. I like the big ones. I had some incredible oysters the other week in Ottawa at Whale’s Bone. That place is actually great. I like them with a little cocktail sauce and definitely horseradish.
Coffee Crisp or Smarties?
Coffee Crisp is great. I haven’t had one in years. I might have one today, but I would chose Twix over both of those.