Comic genius John Cleese is his favourite client

David Garcelon


David Garcelon is the executive chef for The Fairmont Royal York Hotel. He grew up in St. Stephen, N.B., and began his career at the famed Windsor Arms. For the festive season, the Fairmont has prepared delicious baked goods, handmade chocolates, Yule logs and other sweets, available by calling The Festive Desk at 416-860-5050.

What kitchen aromas bring back fond memories?

A: Molasses brings back memories of my grandmother’s molasses cookies.

Who is your favourite cook?

A: My girlfriend Kylie is my favourite cook. She is a chef from Australia. Our culinary training styles were completely different.

We eat very well at home.

What is the worst meal you ever cooked? What did you learn from it?

A: The best advice I ever got was from as executive chef with many years experience. He said to me, “When you think you are good. You are finished!” So I try to learn from every dish I prepare that there is always room to improve.

Who is the most famous person you have personally served?

A: While I was executive chef at the Fairmont Southampton in Bermuda, I had the opportunity to personally cook in the home of Faith Hill and Tim McGraw.

It was a last-minute request that I was happy to oblige. They’re a wonderful family, and I enjoyed getting to know them. We made pizzas from scratch and ice cream sundaes together one night in the kitchen.

Who is your favourite celebrity client and why?

A: Comic genius John Cleese once came into my kitchen and laughed it up with my sous chefs. He is a great guy, and I am a huge Monty Python fan.

Royal York Mincemeat Pies (Serves approx. 10 pies)


  • 3 oz currants

  • 3 oz sultanas

  • 4 oz suet

  • 4 oz fresh dried apples

  • 1 oz sliced blanched almonds

  • 1 oz lemon & orange peel

  • 2 oz granulated sugar

  • 1/4 oz ground nutmeg

  • 1/4 oz ground cinnamon

  • 1 oz of brandy


Combine all the ingredients and let them marinate over night

Place the mixture in a cooking pan and steam for approx. 45 minutes

Let it cool before use

Roll out puff pastry 1/8 inch thick

Cut half the pastry into fluted rounds approx. 2 1/2 inches in diameter

Place on a greased baking sheet

Moisten the edges

Place mincemeat in the centre of each

Cut the remainder of the pastry into fluted rounds 3 inches in diameter

Cover the mincemeat and seal the edges

Brush with an eggwash

Bake in oven 350 degrees F for approx. 20-25 minutes

Sprinkle with icing sugar and serve warm

Accompany with a custard or brandy sauce

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