How to Build a Fire in the Winter


In basically every culture, the story of how humans discovered fire is enshrined in legend. Greek mythology has it that Prometheus stole fire from the gods. According to the Apache, it was a sly fox that was captured it for us. In Hinduism, Agnihotri Brahmans are still keepers of the sacred flame.

Whatever the case, the point is this: fire is, like, stupid important to humans. The ability to build one is what sets us apart from animals, and basically led to our evolution. For ancient man, it provided warmth, protection from wild predators, and a way to cook food. Most importantly, it kept our forbears alive in the unbearable cold. There’s nothing that taps into your primal instincts quite like going full Revenant and spurring some flames in the harshest of climates. If you’ve never built a winter campfire yet, now’s your chance. Yeah, sure it sounds crazy. Crazy awesome.

Make Your Fire Bed

If you’ve already got a built-in firepit, disregard this part. You’re golden, man. If not, you’ll need to do a little work. Look for a spot that’s protected from the wind. If there’s some snow where you are, shovel it aside so you can light this badboy on solid ground. If there’s too much snow to clear away, pack it down tightly so you have a nice, hard platform to lay your base of logs on.

Get Wood

This will likely be the most challenging part — unless you’ve already got a convenient stack of logs gathered for your fireplace. (But really, that’s no fun. Did Leo have a convenient stack of logs to work with? Hell to the no.) You can search various areas of the surrounding woods for fallen timber. Look for wood that’s as dry as possible. Even if the wood is covered in light, fluffy snow, it may still be dry enough to burn. According to science, the fluffy shit has less moisture content. You can check to see if a stick is dry enough to burn by snapping it in half and listening for the audible crack of breaking wood.

Light That Mother Up

You’ll need some extra help for this, because even slightly damp wood is can be hard to set aflame. So make sure you bring some fire helpers from your local outdoor store — things like fire starter cubes, fire packets, fire paste, cotton balls soaked in petroleum jelly, or even some drier lint (preferably slathered in petroleum jelly) can be lifesavers when the weather turns wet and cold. Pine needles, pinecones, and bark can also serve as great sources of kindling. Make sure you light the fire from the windward side — that lets the flames travel through your sticks, engulfing them faster. Also, light the fire low; fire climbs as heat rises, so be sure to have your match or lighter touching the material at the base of the fire lay. Don’t bother lighting it at the top; this isn’t a candle, dummy.

Keep the Flame Alive

There is nothing more depressing than watching your flame die out just after it’s begun (figuratively and literally speaking). Surround the fire with any damp logs you haven’t used — the fire’s heat will dry them out and provide an extra stash as the evening goes on. Also be sure to keep a backup wad of tinder (the dry, dead, fluffy stuff, not the shallow dating app) handy, so that when you’re gone, it will still burn on and on and on and on. (But, all Billy Joel references aside, put the fire out once you’re done.)

Written by: Alex Nino Gheciu

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7 Albums Every Man Should Own On Vinyl


We generally try to steer clear of alarmism. The Internet has enough of that. But we’re going to make an exception right now and drop some Infowars-level doomsaying on you: the CD is dying a horrible death. For the last two years, revenue from music streaming services has surpassed sales of CDs. And the trend doesn’t seem to be letting up anytime soon. It’s time to retire the 5-disc boombox, man.

Now don’t worry; if you still long for a tangible representation of your music, it’s all good. In 2015, vinyl sales surged by 30 per cent, marking the tenth consecutive year LP sales have grown considerably. It would serve you well to hop aboard the phonographic bandwagon (if you haven’t already, that is). Vinyl is warmer, more soothing, and easier on the ears than the frigid ones and zeroes in your iTunes playlist. It’s the way music should be heard.

Of course, to fully appreciate the advantages of analogue, you want to make sure it’s the right music. Relax; if you really want to re-buy your collection of Dave Matthews Band albums on vinyl, we won’t judge you (too hard). But just as there are certain books every man must read in order to call himself a grown-up, there are certain records you must own in order to call yourself a respectable human being — or, you know, a music lover. These are records that stand the test of time — that take you on an immersive aural journey of the highest order. They’re the vinyls you will pass down to your children (because they sure as hell want nothing to do with your CD wallet).


Miles Davis – Bitches Brew (1970)

Miles at his most visceral. Bitches Brew captured the anguish of living in America just as the Civil Rights movement was falling apart and the war in Vietnam was raging. All that calamity was channeled into this double-album full of spur-of-the-moment thrills, brooding darkness, and rhythmic innovation: two bassists, three drummers, three electric piano players, and a percussionist, all playing at the same time. This album didn’t just invent jazz-rock; it discovered a new way to think about what music could be.


Led Zeppelin – Led Zeppelin IV (1971)

Pretty much the greatest rock album ever made, by the greatest rock band to ever rock. It’s Zeppelin at their heaviest, headiest, and horniest. A swaggering gang of alpha musicians in full flow. No other album has a greater opening one-two punch than “Black Dog” and “Rock and Roll.” No other drumbeat is more jaw-slackening in hi-fi than “When the Leevee Breaks.” Over fourty years later, high school kids still crank this thing while hotboxing their parents’ cars. Fourty years from now, they’ll be doing the exact same thing in their parents’ self-driving airspeeders.


A Tribe Called Quest – Low End Theory (1991)

The smoothest union of hip-hop and jazz ever pressed to record. Not no Parkay, not no margarine. Strictly butter, baby. When Low End Theory was released, it pushed the sonic envelope of the entire rap game. Today, it’s a Classic Rap staple. Q-Tip and Phife Dawg trade verses like Lennon and McCartney, complimenting each other better than cookies and milk. Plenty of rappers have tried to ape this sound; none have made it sound this easy.


Radiohead – Kid A (2000)

How to disappear completely? Start a record collection without this in it. You’ll never be invited to another cool party again.


The Beatles – Revolver (1966)

You know what? Fuck Sgt. Pepper’s. Revolver is the Beatles’ true crowning achievement. It did everything Sgt. Pepper’s did — rampant leaps in imagination, studio wizardry, a dismantling of the rock idiom — only with less marketing and fancy packaging.  And they did it with less pretension and in less time: sessions for this album spanned two-and-a-half-months, compared to the five months it took to record Sgt. Pepper’s. After George Martin created his own label, the group was given the freedom to create a record without anxious record execs breathing down their necks. This was our introduction to the Beatles’ ids — when they finally turned off their minds, relaxed, and floated downstream.


Lovage – Music to Make Love to Your Old Lady By (2001)

C’mon, you need at least one baby-making record in your collection. Dan “The Automator” Nakamura’s trip-hop experiment with a merry band of sexperts (Kid Koala, Damon Albarn, Prince Paul, Mike Patton, Jennifer Charles) is as sultry as it is sardonic. The last part is key — you don’t want to lay the mack on her too seriously. That’s just creepy!


The Band – Music From Big Pink (1968)

It’s your duty, as a Canadian, to own this record. Released at the height of the psychedelic movement in the late ’60s, big Pink turned the rock world on its axis, opting for something simpler and earthier. Screw wah pedals and tape loops — these guys were just fine with their fiddles and mandolins. The Band invented alt-country, 30 years before it became cool. Wilco, Ryan Adams, Drive-By Truckers — Big Pink is the fountainhead, and we’re still drinking deep.


Written by: Alex Nino Gheciu

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Gentlemen Tips For Starting 2017


Here we are. It’s 2017. This is your year. Now, how are you starting the year off? Some Gents believe in making resolutions. That’s cool. We support that. On the other hand, some Gents just live their life without committing to any self promises on Jan 1. That’s cool too. We don’t judge.

We are a fan of tips. Tips that make your life better, and easier. Tips that help you kick ass and take names. Tips that help you be a better Gent. Here’s a few we stumbled upon recently…

STEP UP YOUR GROOMING GAME – Truefitt & Hill takes us through what you should be looking for in the perfect Straight Razor Shave.

GET A PROPER FITTING SUIT – Those pointy shoulder pads sticking out are just not cutting it. Get yourself a proper fitting suit and your will look (and act) like a million bucks. The style experts at Surmesur take us through what you should be looking for in a suit:

UPGRADE YOUR WIFI – 2017 is the year that you need to eliminate the lag. No more buffering. Multiple devices need to be connecting while you’re binge watching the latest thing on Netflix. Here’s a vid from our pals at Best Buy Canada with their choice for a proper connection:

MAKE A PROPER COCKTAIL – Here’s a quick video from Johnnie Walker using Blenders’ Batch Red Rye. Why not learn how to make a Manhattan? A Gentleman should know how to make a Manhattan.

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Top 10 Highlights From #TGE2016


Where do we begin? Easy… by thanking you for coming. Without you (yes, I’m talking to you) there would be no show. Honestly, #TGE2016 is only as good as the audience who joins us, and you were perfect! Thank you.

Here’s a quick list of some of our fav moments:

10) Hypnotist Chris Jones convincing a lady that Drake was here.

9) Jason Grilli sharing how much he loves the city of Toronto.

8) Wendel Clark and Doug Gilmour playing bubble hockey with Rick Mercer looking on.

7) Ian Thornley of Big Wreck on the slide guitar while telling stories with Jeff Woods.

6) Wendel Clark and Doug Gilmour sharing the story of Harold Ballard’s dog.

5) The UCC Chef Battle that saw Ted Reader get his hand raised in victory!

4) Jim Cuddy sharing stories about being on the road with The Tragically Hip

3) Mark DeMontis of Courage Hockey inspiring an entire room and beyond.

2) GSP on the state of the UFC, and what the future of fighting holds.

1) The Gentlemen and Gentlewomen of Toronto showing all kinds of love to our food purveyors, vendors, special guests, Main Stage personalities, Culinary Stage experts, our staff, the security and more.

Special shout out to OG Series: Brisket, Beer and Bourbon After Party at The Carbon Bar on Thursday night. Surrounded by great BBQ and about 200 of our closest friends was def a highlight of the weekend.

Let’s do it again next year!


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#TGE2016 Culinary Programme: Full Schedule Announced!


Boom. Our #TGE2016 Culinary Schedule is set. Hold on to your spatulas, cuz this is big! Get ready to experience the biggest, baddest and most epic Chef Battle that Toronto has ever seen! The team over at Underground Chef Co. have been hard at work organizing an amazing line-up of Chefs that hail from around the GTA to create a special edition Chef Battle, exclusively as part of The Gentlemen’s Expo Culinary Programme.

Underground Chef Co., challenges Chefs to create several dishes from secret ingredients in under one-hour and provide audience goers with a real-time experience of life in the kitchen. It’s hot, it’s loud, and it’s messy but this on-stage event will leave you in shock and awe once you see what these Chef’s come up with. Don’t miss it! Here’s the #TGE2016 Culinary Schedule:

Thursday, November 10th:

  • 6pm – Patrick McMurray
  • 7pm – Tonia Wilson
  • 8pm – Afrim Pristine
  • 9pm – Albert Ponzo

Friday, November 11th:

  • 6pm – Rob Rainford
  • 7pm – Lindsey Greflund
  • 8pm – Ted Reader
  • 9pm – Matt Jones

Saturday, November 12th:

  • 3:30pm – Jamie Johnston
  • 4:30pm – Rob Rainford
  • 6pm – Openly Discussion: The Openly Discussion is a culinary roundtable featuring Matt Jones, Ted Reader, Jeff Dueck, Krista Faist, Kevin Brauch, Rob Rainford, Amanda Ray, Marcus Mariathas, and surprise guests!
  • 7:30pm – UCC Battle: Ted Reader vs Jeff Dueck. Hosted by Joe Friday & Mike Ward!

Learn more about the Underground Chef Battles on their website or by checking out this vid:

Want to find out more about the Chefs being featured in the Openly Discussion Panel? Get to know each and every one of them below:

Chef Rob Rainford


Rob is a Canadian chef, author of Rob Rainford’s Born to Grill (published May 8, 2012 by Appetite by Random House) and former host of Licence to Grill (LTG) on Food Network Canada, Discovery Home in the U.S. and Asian Food Channel across Asia. The format of the show involves Rainford hosting a get-together at his home for one reason or another, and preparing meals on his grills for the occasion. The different “occasions” provide the impetus for the food choices, and allow Rob the opportunity to demonstrate different techniques.

Krista Faist


Krista is the owner of Foodism Toronto, the first international outpost of London England’s highly successful magazine Foodism. A Toronto native, she crossed the pond four years ago and worked with Foodism’s publisher Square Up Media for the majority of that time. She returned in late 2015 after with the Foodism brand with tow. The website and weekly newsletter launched in November 2015 with the first print issue landing in September 2016.

A lover of cats, hater of the term ‘cat lady’, endless curator of Spotify playlists and often called out for saying things a bit strange thanks to her her time in the UK, Krista is now back in Toronto discovering (read: eating and drinking) her way through the city, all in the name of work. of course.

Kevin Brauch


Kevin Brauch was the host of the show The Thirsty Traveler on the Fine Living Network (originally on the Food Network), MegaWorld on Discovery Channel Canada, and Superstar Chef Challenge on Food Network Canada. He also served as the floor reporter for Iron Chef America (on both the American and Canadian Food Networks). He was also the host the Food Network Canada program CheF*Off.

Born and raised in Toronto, Canada, Brauch worked as a bartender for seven years early in his career while working his way through the radio and television program at Ryerson University.

Brauch worked for CFNY radio in Toronto (FM102) from 1988 to 1990. He began his television career on TVOKids in 1994. He received the Canadian Gemini award in 1998 for “Best Performance in a Children’s or Youth Program or Series” (Stuff “Triathon”), in 1999 for “Best Host in a Lifestyle or Performing Arts Program or Series” (Canadian Gardening III) and also in 2005 for “Best Host in a Lifestyle/Practical Information or Performing Arts Program or Series” (The Thirsty Traveler). Brauch appeared as a guest on NBC’s Tonight Show hosted by Jay Leno, taped on the afternoon of Friday, March 17, 2006.

In the Cora v. Miranda episode of Iron Chef America (2010), it was revealed that Kevin and host Alton Brown were Kentucky colonels. This appointment comes with the title of Colonel and so he could be addressed as Honorable Kevin Brauch or Colonel Kevin Brauch

Chef Amanda Ray


Amanda Ray has worked in some of the swankest restaurants in the city. After graduating from George Brown’s culinary programme she worked at Auberge du Pommier before taking on the role as a sous chef at Canoe. Following, Amanda was able to live her dream by studying rustic Provencal cuisine in France. Now she’s the chef de cuisine at Biff’s Bistro, another Oliver & Bonacini establishment and a longstanding favourite amongst Bay Street brokers and discerning foodies alike

Mentored by Corporate Executive Chef Anthony Walsh, she continued to hone her culinary skills. After a promotion to Sous Chef in 2006, she traveled to Crillon le Brave in Provence, France to expand her knowledge and technical skills alongside Chef Philippe Monti, cooking rustic Provencal cuisine. With all of Amanda’s experience and successes, she keeps her culinary mantra sweet and simple: “I strongly believe that cooking is simplest way of saying ‘I love you’.”


Chef Jeff Dueck


Jeff is a creative professional chef, inspired by the simple pleasures of the table. Good food, family and friends.  Able to meet any professional challenge head on with confidence.  Able to successfully combine creative culinary concepts, with prudent financial management of the kitchen.

Chef Ted Reader


Known as the ‘Godfather of the Grill’, his charm and fearless culinary spirit has led Ted to becoming an award-winning chef, author, food-entertainer and most recently professor of Modern Culinary Applications Innovations at the Canadian Food and Wine Institute at Niagara College.

Ted’s culinary adventure began at George Brown College Chef School in Toronto which to date has paved the way for his dynamic career. He cooks for all walks of life from swanky corporate affairs; to backyard BBQ parties and summer festivals.

Alexandra Feswick


Born and raised in Dundas, Ontario, Alexandra Feswick formed a connection with food and nature from a very young age.  Graduating from the University of Guelph with a BA in Sociology, she eagerly began training at George Brown Chef School in 2005.  Feswick landed an apprenticeship at the Ancaster Mill for five years under Chef Jeff Crump, and was educated with the belief that good food should speak for itself and that it is vital to the integrity of what you’re cooking to do it with your heart. In addition to invaluable cooking skills, she also picked up knowledge about working on a farm and the importance of high quality, fresh, seasonal ingredients – insights that continue to inspire her menus today.

After relocating to Toronto in 2010, Feswick quickly gained ranking as one of Toronto’s top chefs, working behind the line at restaurants like Brockton General and Samuel J. Moore with her loyalty to fresh, local produce served in unique and elegant ways. She remains committed to food service by actively contributing to the network of culinary leaders in Ontario, and regularly donating her time and expertise to cooking for various charitable events.  Career highlights so far include cooking at the venerable James Beard House, participating at Cook It Raw with some of the world’s top chefs, and being invited to compete in the influential Gold Medal Plates competition. In March 2014, Feswick joined forces with Corporate Executive Chef Teddy Corrado as Chef de Cuisine at The Drake Hotel, where she now has a place to call home and an ever-growing, ever-inspiring space to create – which includes an urban garden full of fresh herbs and ingredients, located in a secret alley off of Queen St. W.

Marcus Mariathas


Marcus Mariathas came to Canada in 1993 from Sri Lanka. While studying Business & Finance at the University of Toronto, Marcus took a night job at ACE Bakery®, in the very early days when ACE® had their first bakery and store front on King Street. This serendipitous opportunity would change Marcus’ life forever. It was here that Marcus discovered his natural talent and love for baking authentic, European, artisan breads.

Over the years, Marcus studied and travelled through Europe learning everything there is to know about artisan breads, while rising to the position of Master Baker with ACE®. Today, ACE Bakery® has grown into Canada’s leading artisan bakery; the success in large part due to Marcus’ recipes, crafting exceptionally tasting and artistic breads and baked goods.

This past February, Marcus had the privilege of showcasing his bread skills, representing Team Canada, as he competed in the highly coveted Coupe du Monde de la Boulangerie (the equivalent of the Baking Olympics), in Paris.  2016 was the first year in history that Canada has ever qualified for the Coupe du Monde. Marcus along with Team Canada, placed 7th out of 35 competing nations.

Whisk(e)y Chef Matt Jones


Both bartending nerd and whisk(e)y geek, Matt has been working within the beverage alcohol industry for 18 years. He has trained bartenders around the world in product knowledge and bar technique for over a decade. Also known as @Whisky_Chef, Matt continues to share his love of classic cocktails and culinary applications of whisk(e)y.

In 2010 he accepted his favourite role to date: Beam Suntory’s Whisk(e)y Ambassador to Canada and Bourbon Specialist. In this role he travels the country coast to coast preaching the gospel of Whisk(e)y. In 2016 Matt was officially highly commended by Whisky Magazine’s Icons of Whisky as American Whiskey Ambassador of the Year, as well as World Whisky Ambassador of the Year. Matt was most recently featured on the cover of Whisky Magazine issue 138, a global publication

Last but not least… We cannot forget our great hosts of the UCC Battle: Joe Friday and Mike Ward:

Chef Joe Friday


Chef Joe Friday was born in North Carolina, raised in Okinawa, Japan, trained in French Cuisine. His impressive culinary journey began when he enrolled in the Culinary Institute of America to train in pastries and savories. At the age of 20 he was one of 10 pastry students selected globally to work in the international culinary program at Walt Disney World. Six months in, Friday’s superiors recognized great talent, and placed him on the “hot line.” There, is where Friday found his love and passion for savories and has been refining that talent ever since. Within three years time, he had worked his way up to sous-chef and had successfully moved around to various restaurants within the Disney family.

Friday was exposed to different cuisines and cooking techniques while working with influential chefs such as Chef Martin Yan (from “Yan Can Cook”) and Disney’s Executive Chef, John State. After he apprenticed in Norway and England, he returned to Japan to perfect the culinary experience of his childhood; the art of Japanese noodle making. Friday took a position at the world renowned Nobu Wakiki, Honolulu. This was a pivotal moment in Friday’s career were he understood his identity as a chef. With a love for Honolulu, he furthered his career and established himself as the sous-chef at the Hilton Hawaii Village and shortly after became the Executive Chef at Giovani’s.

Seeking tutelage from Canadian renowned Chef Jason Bangerter, Friday assisted as the chef-da-partie in the opening of Toronto’s Luma by O&B at the TIFF Bell Lightbox. In the Fall of 2011, Friday joined the team at Bar Mozza (part of the Alimento Fine Food Emporium) downtown Toronto, as executive Chef.”

Mike Ward


Mike has had a rare and valuable mix of both successful culinary, and media careers. He began cooking at the age of 17 in Sydney, Australia and never believed he would one-day cook for Julia Roberts, Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman. In early 2000 he expanded his creativity to include writing, producing and directing award winning cooking/travel/lifestyle TV series that have been seen in over 120 countries.

Mikes honest and unfiltered perspective on both the food he cooks and the food topics he talks about has seen him rapidly become a respected and influential personality across both mainstream media and social media. He writes for the Globe and Mail, Toronto Sun, 24 Hours (national) and several magazines including content being featured on top online food outlets including the Today Show’s food site, Domino and Food52. Mike has combined monthly social impressions of over 350,000, including nearly 4 million views on his YouTube channel to date.

He is the former Food Editor-in-Chief of Canadian Living (Canada’s #1 food magazine) and cooks on several TV outlets including Cityline (Canada’s #1 morning show). He also regularly hosts and emcee’s leading food and culinary events including the Visa Dining series and Taste of Toronto.

He also serves as a consult to Centennial Colleges’ culinary department to develop curriculum and guest instruct industry relevant culinary courses. Mike is also involved in many charities including Dancing with Parkinsons. His personal passion remains finding solutions and working with organizations that can and are actualizing the concept of fair and accessible good quality food for people of all economic levels. Whether it be a quiet night at home teaching his two daughters how to use the “grown up” knives, in a foreign country directing a cooking series, or flying his beloved 2- seater aerobatic aircraft, Mike’s insatiable appetite for food and adventure continues to drive him to explore and create.

About #TGE2016:

The Gentlemen’s Expo is the premium event for emerging and established men’s lifestyle products, integrated consumer experiences and on-stage programming that will entertain and educate men.  It all happens November 10-12 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre South Building. Oh, and tickets are on sale right now. (AND YOU CAN SAVE $5 OFF GENERAL ADMISSION TICKETS BY USING PROMO CODE: FIVEOFF) 

Come to #TGE2016 if you are interested in: style, tech, music, sports, cars, alcohol, grooming, sex, food, entrepreneurship, whiskey, beer, spirits, gaming, DIY, wellness, health and more.  Come to#TGE2016 if you want to see great speakers and compelling ATTRACTIONS. Come to #TGE2016 if you want to #BeBetter.

  • BUY TICKETS for Thursday, November 10th – 4pm to 11pm
  • BUY TICKETS for Friday, November 11th – 4pm to 11pm
  • BUY TICKETS for Saturday, November 12th – Noon to 11pm
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