Toronto cookbook author Lisa Gnat is dishing out more than just great food


Published:

Gnat has co-authored a series of cookbooks with her sister

“We know peeling potatoes can be dull, but we try and make it fun,” says Lisa Gnat. 

It was this dream of a drudgery-free kitchen that pushed Gnat and sister Julie Albert to produce something they thought everyone would want to consume. 

“We had so many cookbooks, but none that answered the question, ‘What’s for dinner?’ There had to be something out there that wasn’t cheese on toast but wasn’t an eight-hour Martha Stewart broth,” says Gnat. 

They weren’t happy with what they found — so they whipped something up themselves. The result was Bite Me, a cookbook the duo published in 2009. Seven years and three cookbooks later, it’s clear they have a winning recipe, mixing together delicious food with a splash of kitsch, a batch of beautiful photos and a sprinkle of hilarious quotations, trivia and pop culture.

“The style of the book evolved out of who we are,” says Gnat. “I do the recipe development, and Julie does the writing and cookbook design.” 

The pair couldn’t find a publisher and chose to self-publish the first book. It was released to wide acclaim and was the first cookbook to earn Indigo’s “Heather’s Pick” designation.

Food has always been a big part of Gnat’s life. 

“We used to sell one for a dollar and two for three dollars.”

“I used to follow my mom around the kitchen,” she says. She watched her mother churn out a steady stream of mouth-watering lemon meringue pies, chicken soups and chicken Parmesans. Years later, some of those recipes made it into the cookbook. 

At Branksome Hall, Gnat endeared herself to teachers by giving them cookies and other treats. After graduating high school, she studied pastry at George Brown and went on to open a dessert catering business.

Although one sister grew up following her mother’s apron strings around the kitchen, the same can’t be said of the other.

“Julie would be upstairs yelling ‘What time’s dinner?’ ” says Gnat. 

Although not sharing a love of cooking, their culinary collaboration did begin early. Gnat would slave over her Easy-Bake Oven, producing delicious cakes, and Albert would peddle them up and down the street, exploiting the mathematical ignorance of neighbourhood kids. 

“We used to sell one for a dollar and two for three dollars. We turned a profit every time.”

They recently released their third book, Lick Your Plate, and have a slew of followers that includes chef Michael Smith of Chopped Canada, and T.O. foodie and Suits actress Meghan Markle.

Lick Your Plate is filled with 160 original recipes that cover everything from appetizers to desserts and also has a focus on using seasonal ingredients.

And of course, the book is complete with Gnat and Albert’s signature anecdotes and eye-catching visuals.

Edit Module

Join the conversation and have your say by commenting below. Our comment system uses a Facebook plugin. Please note that you'll have to turn off some ad-blockers in order to see the comments.

Edit Module

Follow us on Twitter @PostCity for more on what to eat, where to shop and what to do in Toronto.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

You may also like...

Parents Hacks: How not to volunteer

Parents Hacks: How not to volunteer

Need some comic relief? Whether you’re a Veteran Volunteer or a Nancy Newbie, when it comes to helping out at your child’s school, here are some basic rules to follow if you’ve decided volunteering is not really your thing.
Posted 2 days ago
Actor Ronnie Rowe Jr. on starring in the film Black Cop at TIFF

Actor Ronnie Rowe Jr. on starring in the film Black Cop at TIFF

It’s not every day that actors get to see their work premiere at one of the biggest and most important film festivals in the world. But that’s exactly what happened for Thornhill actor Ronnie Rowe Jr. when Black Cop, a film he recently starred in, made its premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival in September.
Posted 2 days ago
Toronto’s the Weather Station on new album and the next step

Toronto’s the Weather Station on new album and the next step

As the creative force behind the Weather Station, Tamara Lindeman is breaking all kinds of rules on her new self-titled album, with wonderful results. She decided to change her approach to songwriting, ditching the traditions she established on her first three albums, beginning with her 2009 debut The Line.
Posted 2 days ago
Canadian national teams perform well at Dodgeball World Championships in Markham

Canadian national teams perform well at Dodgeball World Championships in Markham

Last month, Markham was home to the Dodgeball World Championships at the Markham Pan Am Centre. The Canadian men’s and women’s teams are comprised of local talent, including the captain of the men’s team, Jonah Koplowitz, who is from Thornhill.
Posted 3 days ago
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleEdit Module