February 5, 2013


Chef/Owner of Toronto-based Woodlot Restaurant & Bakery

What do you use black markers for in your day-to-day activities ?

I use black markers to make notes and develop recipes and prep sheets.

Black markers are used to label and date every single food product we use and make – up to one hundred food items and ingredients daily.

What brands and types of markers do you currently use in the Woodlot kitchen ?

Me and my staff swear by Sharpie markers. We go through at least ten a week, not including the ones that mysteriously disappear every service.

Where do you buy markers ?

At the KP variety store down the street. They didn’t carry black markers when we opened in 2010. After early frequent requests, they now keep a steady stock. Sometimes we’ll get a box of Sharpies from Staples to spread around the kitchen.

What characteristics and features would a Woodlot black marker have ?

The Woodlot marker would be modeled after the classic Sharpie Fine Tip. I prefer the classic model over the retractable version, and it fits snugly in the pocket or behind the ear better than the Super Sharpie.

The marker would be plastic – easy to clean – and be able to write through water, oil and grease. Refillable with a non-toxic, vegetable based ink. The nib would be a replaceable fine tip, extra durable so that it stays crispy through repeated use.

To cap things off, the marker would have Woodlot branding on the side.

Sanford Mr.Sketch scented markers feature a black marker that smells like licorice. If you were to assign another food related odor to the marker, what would it be ?

Wood smoke + char.

What black marker-themed dish would you put on the menu at Woodlot ?

A squid ink tagliatelle with razor clams, sea water and preserved lemon and dill.

You’ve worked internationally, from Pied a Terre in London, UK to El Bulli in Roses, Spain. What different markers did you see your peers use in the kitchen ? What different markers did you discover while living and working abroad ?

Most of the places in Europe I worked at used a combination of printed label makers and ink pen. At El Bulli we used a combination of printed labels and Sharpies I think. The first time I saw masking tape and marker labelling system was when I returned to work in Toronto.

I spent so much time in the kitchen while working abroad that I never noticed or discovered any other marker brands.

What are your favorite markers of all time ?

Crayola, Sharpie and Sakura. Avery makes a really good hi-lighter. I use the blue one to keep prep sheets organized.

Any projects in development we should keep an eye out for in the year ahead ?

No, my focus is on Woodlot. Me and my team work every day to constantly improve on our past work.