As the star of Food Network programming such as Iron Chef America, and The Thirsty Traveler, as well as the Discovery Channel’s MegaWorld and TVO’s Kids, Kevin Brauch is best known as Canada’s Celebrity Bartender. The born and bred Torontonian’s expertise includes, cuisine, libations, mixology, hospitality and the Food and Beverage industry.
He’s travelled the world learning about food, spirits, wine and beer, while cultivating relationships with many high-profile chefs, critics and restaurateurs. Many of Brauch’s recipes have been purchased by multiple international companies, such as the Fairmont (Empress, Banff, Jasper Park) as well as Campari, Absolut, Jameson, Kahlua, Carolans, and David’s Tea!
We checked in with Brauch to get his take on all things yum, from drinks to dinner.
Question: Over your career, you’ve had the opportunity to travel the world. What are some of your favourite places to eat, drink and be merry – and why?
Answer: New York City, for steak frites, tuna tartare, pies (aka pizza), kinda almost anything and a very soft ‘last-call’. Some of my favourites are Spotted Pig, Pastis, EO, PDT, and Balthazar.
I love Taipei, chicken head soup, lots of noodles and lots of beer (and beer games), The Sherwood Hotel is tops. In Shanghai it’s street vendor soup dumplings (anywhere, everywhere)! In Basel, it’s all about Cheval Blanc – every single bit of it (three-star Michelin restaurant) and in my hometown Toronto…everywhere is good!
Q: Wine, beer, cocktails? What’s your poison of choice?
A: “D” – All of the above
GUILTY AS CHARGED! But some of my absolute favourites include:
– French Whites with a lot of mineralogy
– Gorgeous Reds
– Spanish Cava
– Vesper cocktail
– Quality Craft Pilsners
– Gin Martinis
Q: When we think of cheese, we may immediately think ‘wine pairings’ but what are some other, perhaps, unexpected combos that go well together?
A: At Biff’s, a Gastro Pub in Toronto (O&B), Former Chef Amanda Ray introduced a Fondue evening… everything we had, apples, fruit, the various and many meats went both with the white wine and the Belgian beers and German Hefeweizen with Swiss cheeses! Yum!
Q: Have you travelled through Switzerland? When you were there what did you do/see/experience in terms of culinary.
A: I’ve been to Switzerland four times, as comfortable as I am there, it’s still unfamiliar to me… perhaps a fifth time is in order. I love The Alps, Zermat, Basel, Zurich, Bern, Lausanne, Geneva, Christmas Market River Cruise through Switzerland, Germany and Alsace. The Thirsty Traveler filmed the Absinthe episode in Switzerland.
Q: What types of “swiss” cheese do you like to use in recipes or prepare or serve at home/for friends and family etc.?
A: Fondue, Raclette, Emmentaler
Q: What are the most interesting factoids or tidbits about Switzerland cheeses that you think might be intriguing to the public?
A: I love Roger Federer and Swiss Absinthe (also known as “the green fairy”)
Q: If you had to give up one or the other, chocolate or cheese, which would it be and why? (this might be a trick question)…
A: Uh…….. cheesy chocolate? The sophisticated taste and experience of cheese will always outweigh the fun, silly pleasures of chocolate (sorry, Lindt Chocolates, you are lovely!)
Whenever I watch my absolute most favourite tennis player in the world, Swiss Legend, Roger Federer, it is always with Spanish Cava, French Champagne, and a wonderful board of primarily Swiss cheese(s), crackers, fruit, meat, olives. Switzerland cheese is my guilty pleasure.