GLADSTONE HOTEL COOKS UP CREATIVE COLLABORATION WITH CELEBRITY CHEF AND ARTIST BOB BLUMER
Partnership to Feature Surreal Gourmet Theme Suite, Palette to Plate Fundraiser and Culinary Concierge Guide to Help Visitors Navigate Edible Highlights of Toronto’s Queen St. West. Bob Blumer suite talks with the Gladstone Hotel’s Christina Zeidler.
JUNE 2013 – Professional gastronaut, TV host and artist Bob Blumer is joining forces with the Gladstone Hotel to re-imagine one of the 37 artist-designed rooms at this Toronto boutique hotel as a theme suite rich with visual and culinary treats.
Best-known for his long-running reign on the Food Network, specifically as the host and creative force behind “Surreal Gourmet,” “Glutton for Punishment” and “World’s Weirdest Restaurants, Blumer is also a keen-eyed illustrator, cookbook author, cycling enthusiast and seven-time Guinness World Record Holder. He started his eclectic career in Toronto as the manager for singer-songwriter Jane Siberry, before crossing the continent to become a bona fide artist in his own right.
Given the mix of food, art, whimsical humour and tunes (all his books list music-to-dine-by) that fuels Blumer’s exploits, it’s natural that he was drawn to the Gladstone Hotel on frequent trips to Toronto from his adopted home in L.A. where he lives in the shadow of the Hollywood sign.
“The Gladstone is a hotel that really cultivates art. Art and visuals have always been a vital aspect of my work, from my food presentation to the illustrations and objets that I create for each of my books,” said Blumer.
“Because of our creative kinship, the Gladstone Hotel has become my home away from home. In fact, I’ve stayed in over 15 of their artist-designed hotel rooms and have always secretly wanted to design one myself,” Blumer revealed.
“You could say both the Gladstone and I are a bit quirky and have taken similarly unique, circuitous paths to get to where we are today.”
The Gladstone Hotel’s new Surreal Gourmet suite is scheduled for completion by November 2013. Currently Blumer is busy with staff, including hotel president Christina Zeidler and project manager Suanne McGregor, the forces behind the original artist rooms’ project, on everything from building original fixtures to designing surreal pillowcases. Other key themed suite elements involve a fully tricked-out kitchenette and a collection of Blumer’s favourite foodie films, adding to the room’s layered appeal for food lovers.
The Gladstone Hotel is definitely all about art, food, events, music and a unique boutique hotel, all under one roof. Bob Blumer is a modern renaissance man, uniquely talented and equipped to connect those elements together intuitively for our guests,” said Anne Larcade, president of Sequel Hotels and Resorts, the Gladstone’s management company.
Other aspects of the multi-faceted Gladstone/Blumer partnership, including a Palettes to Plates fundraiser, and a Culinary Concierge offering for Gladstone visitors that will help guide them to Blumer’s favourite eating experiences, food-centric neighbourhood stores and local farmers’ markets, will be introduced to complement the new theme suite opening.
SIDE DISH: BOB BLUMER’S HOGTOWN
His plates are always hot. His art is way cool. And he’s always up for an urban adventure. Before setting off on a promotional tour to launch season two of “World’s Weirdest Restaurants” (Food Network Canada, Mondays 9:00 and 9:30 p.m.) Blumer filled us in on a few of his favourite things about the Gladstone Hotel’s downtown Toronto neighbourhood.
The Gladstone Café banana French toast, made with real banana bread. Wish I’d thought of that.
When I’m in town I always buy a TTC pass. I love that it stops right outside the hotel’s front doors.
I pop into all of the diverse art galleries along Queen St. West between Gladstone Avenue and Trinity Bellwoods Park.
If I’m in town for a few days, I’ll jump on the 501 streetcar for a quick trip to the Cheese Boutique (45 Ripley Ave.) It’s like a crack den to me.
So many great Toronto restaurants and bars…so little time.
One of my favourite characteristics about the West Queen West neighbourhood is that when I’m walking back to the Gladstone in the evening there is always an interesting scene or some great music pouring out of a local joint. It’s virtually impossible to avoid the pull.
You can feed a family of four with a single roti (a South Asian meets Caribbean stuffed flatbread). Delicious and portable.
I do my best to sneak in a bike ride every day. My usual route takes me from Parkdale to the Leslie Street Spit. I’m always amazed at how many different urban Toronto microcosms I pass through on my loop.
For all things Bob Blumer, go to www.bobblumer.com.