Shahir Massoud is a god.
Now before you start clicking away and heading over to YouTube to watch a cat play the piano while drinking a beer through a straw… please allow me to explain. Gods provide life – and they can take it away as easily. As a chef, Shahir Massoud can prepare you a delicious meal that will sustain and energize you, thus giving you life. Or, if you incur his wrath, he can whip up a dish that will literally leave you cold as ice.
Such is his power.
I never look that cool when I pose beside my name…
Fortunately, as the Corporate Executive Chef (a position that requires spending more time in an office dealing with suppliers, employees, guests, etc., while negotiating with suppliers to stay on top of their performance, service, and pricing rather than actually cooking) for a multi-unit restaurant company, Levetto, Chef Massoud realized long ago that with great recipe comes great responsibility.
In addition to his myriad of duties at Levetto, Massoud has also made regular appearances on various Canadian morning and daytime programs including Cityline and Breakfast Television. These appearances, coupled with the fact that Shahir isn’t exactly ugly (hey, I can acknowledge another man’s beauty and still remain the chick magnet I’ve always been) led to the young, hip chef being cast as one-fourth of CBC Television’s newest daytime offering, The Goods.
The Goods stars Shahir, the deliciously-wacky and stunning Jessi Cruickshank, the amazing Andrea Bain and a fellow native of my hometown of Niagara Falls, Steven Sabados. This show was born from the legacy of Steven and Chris, a CBC show that holds a special place in my family’s collective heart. We attended a taping of S&C years ago and it remains a treasured family memory. Additionally, my late father-in-law loved watching the interaction between Sabados and his late partner Chris Hyndman. Here was a man born in the Great Depression and he couldn’t wait for two o’clock to come around so he could see his beloved “Chrissy” in action.
My father-in-law never saw two gay men; he only saw two men who were partners in all things having the time of their lives and it made his life a little easier as emphysema ate away at his lungs.
But enough of this mushy stuff! The point is this; Chef Massoud is carrying on a legacy that goes beyond the CBC; S&C helped change the world and I’m sure The Goods will do so in its own way.
As for Chef Massoud (since this is his 5×5 spotlight, after all), his journey to food fame began in an unlikely place. Massoud ditched York University’s Schulich School of Business – after graduating – to pursue his true passion… wild cat herding.
Yes, I’m kidding. (Maybe.) Wild cat herding was just a fad to the young Shahir; it was too political to take make a career out of. And so he moved to New York City to enroll in the famed French Culinary Institute. While in the Big Apple he worked in the kitchens of Mario Batali (Lupa), Jean-Georges Vongerichten (The Mark Hotel) and Saveur magazine. By mid-2013 Chef Massoud founded Levetto with his partners and his life has been a whirlwind of hard work, missed social engagements and unbelievable success ever since.
And now he’s reached the pinnacle of his career; an interview on my blog.
You’re laughing right now, aren’t you? Shut up! I’m very entertaining! Let’s get on with the 5×5 goodness, shall we?
Good friends and a stylish piece of furniture; what else do you need for true happiness?
ONE) The Goods is just getting “off the ground” but do you have any funny stories to share about the awesomeness/absurdity of daytime television?
There is tons of awesomeness surrounding the making of daytime TV. It sounds so cliche, but we truly do have fun every single day. When I first accepted the job, they told me to just have fun and be myself! So far I’ve already worn lipstick, mascara, and enjoyed several glasses of cheap wine.
We’re off to a good start!
TWO) If you could be any spice what would you be and why? (You knew there would be a food query, right?)
Sumac: middle eastern, slightly sweet, and a bit unusual.
THREE) As a bellman I’m fascinated with people’s travel habits; any traditions you adhere to while globetrotting?
I like to stay in boutique hotels, ask locals where I should eat, and I always explore by foot.
FOUR) I can barely make scrambled eggs – much to my wife’s eternal dismay – and so I cannot begin to tell you how much I envy your talent, Chef. Any tips for a guy who has to consult Google when he wants to boil water?
Ha ha, just like my dad! Keep it simple and never forget that a few simple ingredients can be spectacular if prepared correctly. My advice is to master a simple dish, before moving on to the next challenge. Ultimately, you”ll see great cooking is all about managing temperature, time, and texture.
(I’m going to try this… but I’ll still suck, most likely.)
FIVE) Please use five words to describe your best meal ever. (You can even pick a meal you didn’t prepare.)
I returned for a dinner at one of the NYC restaurants where I trained (but never actually dined in) last summer.
It was: surreal, delicious, romantic, unforgettable, and classic.
Well, I don’t know about you but I’m starving! I need Chef Massoud to whip me up something delicious, but sadly, I think I’m on my own. Cereal it is! I want to thank today’s guest for slumming here today. As a lifelong foodie, this was a real treat.
See you in the lobby, kids…