A group of schoolchildren sit down at a table, armed with notebooks and pencils in hand. It’s dinnertime, and they’re ready to be served. But tonight’s specialty won’t be Macaroni à la KD, nor a plate of crustless PB & J. These kids are dining inside of Queen Street’s finest eateries, and to them, it’s not quite kid stuff. Once the dishes are cleared, the kids get down to business―laying on the table their uncensored, audacious opinions.
Eat the Street is the latest event from Mammalian Diving Reflex, the Toronto “research-art atelier” best known for the sometimes frightening, but always entertaining Haircuts by Children. From March 26 to May 1, the Parkdale Public School Pumas will be roaming Queen West around dinnertime for the tastiest plates they can get their paws on. The tour takes these cultured kids everywhere from the traditional Ethiopian Addis Ababa to the fine prix-fixe fare of the Drake’s Dining Room, letting the kids judge grown-up grub, hands-on, gloves off. Throughout the experience, the kid critics will log their thoughts and verdicts in their own food diary, and later, on the names of the to-be-determined awards presented to the winners (and maybe, losers) at the official awards ceremony at The Gladstone on May 11.
Eat the Street certainly isn’t the first time kids have put their elbows on the tables of big-name city restaurants. Twelve-year-old David Fishman was featured in the New York Times earlier this year for his ZAGAT-style review of a swanky New York spot (in which he logged trying and “enjoying” tripe). Kids’ cooking spots, even for the preschool set, have been popping up on tv and in the paper. So are the little ones’ palates becoming more refined than ours? Probably not. But still, it’s pretty entertaining to hear their take on the world of duck confit and caviar.