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Eat & Drink

Toronto grilled cheese festival wasn't so Gouda

Posted by Staff / March 1, 2014

toronto grilled cheese festA couple thousand Torontonians are seriously cheesed off today thanks to what might go down as the worst run food event in Toronto's history. Last night's Toronto Grilled Cheese Festival brought more than 2,000 ticket holders to Roy Thomson Hall for what organizers promised would be a feast for the eyes, mouth and stomach.

Give Joylister credit. The seven month old company founded by a former investment analyst and marketing manager managed to convince a lot of people to fork over $40 for the promise of all-you-can-eat grilled cheese sandwiches, gourmet soup, and 3 beer samples. What they failed to tell ticket buyers, however, is that they'd only arranged for their 10 sandwich vendors to produce what would amount to a quarter sandwich sample per person so either way you slice it nobody was going to get much more than a couple full sandwiches each.

But lack of food was only part of the problem. While the CBC reported last night the event was oversold by 700 tickets, Joylister took to Facebook early this morning to clarify this wasn't the case. The problem, they say, was a result of power issues and the inability of the vendors to use their grills to cook up sandwiches fast enough.

Attendees aren't buying it and have taken to both Twitter and Joylister's Facebook page to complain and demand refunds. Then, early this afternoon Joylister deleted their previous Facebook post (and the large comment thread attached to it), apologized and took full responsibility for the situation but failed to provide any meaningful explanation or refund policy.

We reached out to Joylister co-founder Melissa Chien to get some of our own questions answered but she emailed back failing to address most of them and simply re-worded the response posted to Facebook.

What we do know is that, in the words of attendee Meesha Tanna, the place was "a total zoo." Frank Lemire said when he got there at 7:45pm "the line was stretched around the block onto King like it was a TIFF premiere." While vendors did their best to keep up with demand, their enthusiasm couldn't overcome the logistical challenges, line cutters and general feeling of disgruntled-ness that permeated the event.

Vendors like Gorilla Cheese were informed that 2,250 tickets had been sold to the event and were paid by Joylister to prepare 560 full sandwiches each (although some vendors offered two kinds). Most sandwiches were gone by 9pm and at least half of the four soup vendors sold out before 8pm. Beer lines were shorter but the samples provided were "tiny" and "warm" according to Tran.

Because of the electrical issues, Gorilla Cheese had to run platters of sandwiches from their truck parked outside where staff prepped. Cheesewerks tweeted they'd offer a free sandwich at their restaurant today to anyone who came in with a Grilled Cheese Fest ticket.

Hila Sharif finally got into the event after a 40 minute wait (did we mention it was freezing outside?). In Sharif's words "coat check was full and lines were so long I didn't know what I was waiting in line for. About 45 minutes into waiting in line, the only grilled cheese sandwiches I saw were in the hands of volunteers wearing Joylister shirts. At the end of a 50 minute line I got about a quarter of a sandwich and gave up. No management or anyone accountable to be found, despite requests and a long wait."

Photo by Janet Kwan on Instagram



Lionel Cheese Hut / March 1, 2014 at 02:02 pm
I had a toasted bagel with cheddar for breakfast after the fest last night. Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, do these sound like the actions of a man who had ALL he could eat?
a fatty / March 1, 2014 at 02:12 pm
Whatever guys. I made my own with blue cheese and pear on challah.
Mark / March 1, 2014 at 02:19 pm
I agree it was not well planned out, they needed a much bigger venue , double the staff at each station , and more grills. That being said I won tickets to the event, didn't have to wait in line outside and did manage to get quite a lot of grilled cheese goodness. Around 8 or so I was just getting to the front of a 45 min wait to get a a quarter little triangle of grilled cheese that wasn't worth the wait. Missed about half of the vendors but still had a decent time . All and all unless they fixed the issue I wouldn't go again .
brian / March 1, 2014 at 02:25 pm
anyone who paid $40 is a complete idiot and deserves what happened last night
hipster tools
ohhhhh grilled cheeseeee
hip / March 1, 2014 at 02:30 pm
Well said Brian. / March 1, 2014 at 02:32 pm
feel sorry for the people that went to this, but really, every food event in toronto is a zoo. they should have learned by now
Dan M. / March 1, 2014 at 02:44 pm
I had a great time! I was collecting beer tickets from people who didn't want to drink. Also had tons of grilled cheese! I was expecting long waits... it's friggen all you can eat grilled cheese!

It will get better with time!


An Avid Festival Goer
stephanie / March 1, 2014 at 03:03 pm
i dont even know what to say when people are so willing to pay $40 for grilled cheese.
DC / March 1, 2014 at 03:21 pm
I was the musician playing in the band last night and I appreciate everyones thoughts of frustration. Please know I was there early to set up to perform and we were even experiencing power failure. Please know that they couldn't use their regular grills because unfortunately the venue couldn't support that kind of power. I mean they were blowing fuses all over the place during set up! I know a bunch of people still had a fabulous time, or those that I talked to, but yes those were some serious long line ups!
Frank Lemire / March 1, 2014 at 03:27 pm
After 9pm the crowds had left and the festival showed what it could have been. There was room to breathe and short lines at the 5 or so vendors left grilling. This was the part I enjoyed. People were smiling and chatting up each other, maybe bonding after the line-ride experience earlier. If Joylister could capture the last hour and turn it into the next festival I think they'd be very successful.
Holy Thundering Jesus / March 1, 2014 at 03:28 pm
I say $Chadaching Badabing$ Suckas! I mean "foodies". HA!
Riley / March 1, 2014 at 03:28 pm
I thought it was amazing! The key was to get there EARLY which they did explain prior to the event. My two friends and I got there right at the start and we sampled every single grilled cheese and had soup and beer. It was all delicious! By 7pm yes it was extremely busy so I do agree that the event should have been held at a larger venue.
raymi / March 1, 2014 at 03:30 pm
harsh. Kudos to Cheesewerks tho!
YK replying to a comment from DC / March 1, 2014 at 03:32 pm
Hey you were the best thing they had last night. Great music from both of you. I enjoy it. Otherwise, it was a total flop. Whats the name of your band?
Thom / March 1, 2014 at 03:34 pm
I would just spend the $40 getting a few blocks of quality cheese, a nice loaf of bread, a few pints, and make myself a grilled cheese at home with plenty of left over ingredients for the week.
Jacob / March 1, 2014 at 03:37 pm
Ha ha we all know it costs approximately $1 to make a grilled cheese sandwich no matter what quality of ingredients you use.
Z / March 1, 2014 at 03:44 pm
I agree with most of what everyone is saying, it was a poorly executed event. That being said, hardly anyone (here, twitter, facebook) has given any credit to the actual grilled cheese! I stuck it out till the end, and sampled most of the sandwiches which were delicious! Mac and cheese IN a grilled cheese? Genius. And Don Campbell was awesome.
Sammy / March 1, 2014 at 04:17 pm
So the organizer is now blaming power issues and the inability of the vendors? WOW. Still sounds like an organizing issue if they didn't scope out the power, etc. Total cop out.

So they took money from attendees and took money from vendors and are keeping it all, ha ha ha ha ha all the way to the bank! People got ripped off whether it was intentional or not, they should own up to it and refund the money at least to those that have an unused ticket and never got to get the samples they paid for.

Sasha / March 1, 2014 at 04:20 pm
People pay their hard earned money to go to an event and have a good time and be stimulated NOT to be frustrated. Why should I stick around to the end when your not even making it easy for me to have a good time and get the bare minimum of what I paid for?
aDawg replying to a comment from Jacob / March 1, 2014 at 04:24 pm
Oh, really? Show me a $1 grilled cheese sandwich made with Il Boschetto al Tartufo and I'll happily eat my hat.
Steven / March 1, 2014 at 04:30 pm
Save the names of these organizers. Should their names pop up at further 'events', BOYCOTT!
Nobody / March 1, 2014 at 04:35 pm
Probably went a little too far by posting their LinkedIn accounts ....
Should consider taking that down, no need to rally a mob with pitch forks over some cheese
Beardie replying to a comment from burp... / March 1, 2014 at 04:39 pm
FYI: Beards are genetically passed on from generations of males to generations of males, some females too, regrettably. This has been happening since the dawn of humankind. Are my grandfather and father bandwagon cliches because they have beards? My great grandfather had a beard as well. Was he a bandwagon cliche? In addition, cocktails, bbq'd meats, bacon, pulled pork, and two pound burritos, as you put it, have been around for decades upon decades. Are you just catching on now? I was inhaling this stuff by the boat load for over 35 years now. Where were you?
Jamie / March 1, 2014 at 04:40 pm
If you spent $80 for you and your partners tickets for a night out and never got in, you'd be pissed too!!!! BOYCOTT NOW!!!!
Jacob replying to a comment from aDawg / March 1, 2014 at 04:44 pm
Yes if you buy in mass for an event your paying very little per sandwich/plate that's why I said approximately $1 some maybe more some maybe less.

Jacob replying to a comment from aDawg / March 1, 2014 at 04:47 pm
Ohh and also when your only getting a quarter of a sandwich per sample it costs very little. I'm sure the vendors paid the organizers as well. Vendors and attendees should feel ripped of by these want to be event organizers.

This is almost as bad as the 1980's-90's hip hop promoters that were selling tickets to shows in Toronto that never actually happened, and often were never actually booked or organized.
Dr. Kukko / March 1, 2014 at 04:55 pm
Sounds a bit cheesy.
aDawg replying to a comment from Jacob / March 1, 2014 at 05:54 pm
You said: "Ha ha we all know it costs approximately $1 to make a grilled cheese sandwich no matter what quality of ingredients you use."

I said: "Show me a $1 grilled cheese sandwich made with Il Boschetto al Tartufo and I'll happily eat my hat."

I was responding directly to your non-specific comment which in no way referred to wholesale costs or serving quantity. Regardless, even at wholesale costs, it is more than obvious that your initial comment is false. If I were to use white truffles, sevruga caviar and foie gras in a grilled cheese sandwich, then there is no possible way that the cost of said sandwich (no matter its size) would be "approximately $1". Of course it matters the quality of ingredients used. I was merely pointing out the inherent inaccuracy of your statement. No need to attempt to backtrack.
wellsaid replying to a comment from brian / March 1, 2014 at 06:45 pm
700G Cheddar 6.99
Loaf of bread 3.99

total = a hell of a lot cheaper than $40 bucks for way more.

how dumb are you people.... a festival for grilled cheese, man potheads buy anything.
Jacob replying to a comment from aDawg / March 1, 2014 at 07:00 pm
Yes and you can also sprinkle gold flake on it to try and justify and drive the price and profits up even more. Some foods can only be Gourmet so far until they are no longer what they originally what they were.

I can add cheese on top of my turkey sandwich after thanksgiving and grill it , is it now a grilled cheese? Or if I add the cheese slice onto the bread first then the turkey does that make it a grilled cheese with turkey?
Jacob replying to a comment from aDawg / March 1, 2014 at 07:02 pm
I guess what's added first onto the bottom slice of bread is what makes it? Adding turkey, ham, and salami on top of the cheese makes them condiments.
notsowellsaid replying to a comment from wellsaid / March 1, 2014 at 07:04 pm
Wellsaid, you are completely clueless if you think these grilled cheeses sandwiches are made with processed cheese (aka 'chedder', aka 'kraft singles'). Grill cheese sandwiches aren't the basic ones your welfare queen of a mom made while giving handies in the other bedroom. Nah son, these sandwiches have more ingredients than what you could imagine, considering you can't imagine any other possibility.
JacobsMom replying to a comment from Jacob / March 1, 2014 at 07:06 pm
For a sandwich to be a grilled cheese sandwich, it needs to be a sandwiched that is grilled and that has cheese. THere are tons of sandwiches that aren't grilled cheese sandwiches. Stop being so pedantic, you little losing twat.
Joe M / March 1, 2014 at 07:09 pm
If joylister doesn't come out with refunds then process a chargeback through your credit card. That's how you get your money back and hold joylister, who make money through false promises, accountable.
Jacob replying to a comment from JacobsMom / March 1, 2014 at 07:14 pm
Should it be grilled in a regular pan like the old school chefs created or is it acceptable for it to now be stacked so high that's its un flippable and grilled in a George Foreman grill or a panini press?

Now a Panini is a grilled sandwich on anything but sliced bread. So is it the sliced bread only that defines the grilled cheese. A sliced bread sandwich on a Panini press would be considered a grilled cheese.
Jerry Houlad / March 1, 2014 at 07:19 pm
We're left joyously cheesed while the joy organisers are now retired in Palm Springs sipping cheese margaritas. $40 x 2700 = $108,000 is a lot of margaritas.
Donnie replying to a comment from Joe M / March 1, 2014 at 07:20 pm
Agreed. If this start up doesn't know how to run a quality event and it learning the ropes on your dollar they should be held accountable for not delivering the product and service you were promised/marketed.
Nick D / March 1, 2014 at 07:26 pm
wait...2200 people waited in line for flax seed grilled cheese samples? AND paid 40$. Lol. I felt bad for them, but now i dont after reading that. It's cheese and bread people. Not worth 40 bucks.
linden / March 1, 2014 at 07:30 pm
why would you want to go to a grilled cheese festival on Friday night in Toront,wait 40 mintures, and pay $40; were all food establishments closed.
Ione / March 1, 2014 at 07:35 pm
SO true Jerry! Let's not forget the vendors probably paid for a space in this event as well.
vicky / March 1, 2014 at 07:35 pm
An important question has gone unanswered: of those who actually got to eat the grilled cheese, how did it taste?
Jamie Sulily replying to a comment from Joe M / March 1, 2014 at 07:39 pm
FYI to those who think they can get their money back this way: you can't. The reason is simple, to request a charge back is to dispute a payment. Joylister has a set of terms and conditions you agreed to upon buying the ticket and as long as Joylister

Instead if you want a refund, the best you can do is try to keep Joylister and their crew accountable. This means giving Melissa's brother (Michael Chien, who happens to also manage the facebook page) a call.
Rob Rae replying to a comment from Jamie Sulily / March 1, 2014 at 08:03 pm
Can someone explain what Jamie Sulily is talking about? I don't get the link nor do I get she/he is talking about has anything to do with charge backs? Should I be worried?
Tony replying to a comment from Jamie Sulily / March 1, 2014 at 08:23 pm
These two individuals can walk away with a significant amount of cash and split it after venue and marketing costs are paid off and never venture into events again.

I'd like to make +$50,000 for a nights work and take a few months off, or put a down payment on a house. While I don't think they intended for this to be a scam, that's the way it comes across to some of their customers and they should apologize and pay back what they can and consider it a learning experience instead of cashing out. Even the fact that they blamed the venue electricity and the vendors first and then retracted the statement is despicable.

I've been to many events at Roy Thompson Hall hosted by many Canadian corporations and never witnessed or heard of any electrical or major food catering issues. Roy Thompson Hall is one of many premier venue spaces in Canada. The fact that they tried to blame venue and vendors for this is enough to demand boycott and class action lawsuit. Own up to it!!! OK you tried to run an event and it didn't go as planned, we all make mistakes, maybe their not perfect (like Rob Ford) but move forward, do what's right own up to it.
John / March 1, 2014 at 08:28 pm
Lets start a company and make ourselves all directors!!!
dose of real replying to a comment from notsowellsaid / March 1, 2014 at 08:32 pm
I guess a few sprigs of arugula or slices of pear, and maybe a slice of cheddar (you know it could be old, smoked, you know not always Kraft singles ) on some bread with nuts baked into it means its worth the cash.

The guy called people like you out for being idiots for paying 40 bucks for grilled cheese or for elevating a sandwich to heights it doesn't deserve.

Did you actually say Nah son? Seriously, do you really talk like that. Wow.
Sarah replying to a comment from Rob Rae / March 1, 2014 at 08:37 pm
The link Jamie posted shows the individuals that are responsible for the company that ran the event and accepted cash for the event.

Jamie is stating that the individuals could possibly still walk away from this with the profits and not have to provide the product or service that the event promised. Looks like no one person is listed as the actual owner of the small business. So the business could fold, or declare bankruptcy after the individuals pay themselves a salary (split the profits) into their own personal bank accounts. The individuals are not responsible for the companies actions.
FordNation / March 1, 2014 at 08:40 pm
Even Rob Ford can through a successful BBQ and make sure everyone gets fed and has a drink! PATHETIC
aDawg replying to a comment from Jacob / March 1, 2014 at 08:43 pm
Jacob, you truly missed my point. Also, panini is plural. Panino is singular. You're officially a moron. I rest my case.
Joe M replying to a comment from Jamie Sulily / March 1, 2014 at 08:45 pm
Regardless of what t&c's you accepted there are consumer protections. If you paid $40 and spent hours outside and didn't eat a grilled cheese then its highly likely you'd win a chargeback. Even if you don't win it costs joylister money and resources to defend a chargeback. If a significant amount of customers chargeback they don't make money on the event. Its the only way to teach them fraud doesn't pay, retweeting something does nothing, no one will remember a retweet 4 months from now when they hold taco fest. This isn't their first horrible event, their business model seems to be:
1. promise something you have no intention of delivering
2. sell tickets
3. minimize costs
4. hold disastrous event
5. apologize and promise to make it up to everyone
6. check bank account balance and smile
7. repeat..
Jacob replying to a comment from aDawg / March 1, 2014 at 08:58 pm
Im not the one resorting to name calling am I? Its like flipping a house with a fresh coat of paint. I'm gonna buy some gourmet TOPPINGS and then it officially makes my offering gourmet. Just like gourmet hot dogs, its still a hot dog throw some caviar and lobster on it and its now gourmet and worth $70? No I'll go out at pay for proper caviar or for lobster but not on a hot dog or a grilled cheese. Again that's just me, and Im entitled to my opinion as you are. You seem quite intelligent, knowledgable and passionate I respect your point of view although its not the same as mine.
dose of real replying to a comment from Sarah / March 1, 2014 at 09:02 pm
I think they are incorporated because if they aren't then the sole registrant would be held liable in any civil matter. If they are incorporated then liability would rest with the incorporated entity.

I am not sure if this is what Jamie meant, but if there were terms and conditions applicable upon buying the ticket, disputing the charges with the credit card company would result in the credit card company favouring joylister as long as they upheld those terms and conditions. If in those terms and conditions stated that no-refund was to be provided, then the credit card company would favour the merchant.

Also, I've checked out the sandwiches listed for the event (some of them are quite far from the basics) and, jokes about the ticket price aside, they totally over promised. Basically they planned for a 40 dollar all you can eat buffet of a variety of sandwiches but failed to deliver and, on top of that, over sold the event. They honestly should have known better about their capacity to deliver on this promise. This takes the problems of the event beyond simply bad service to, perhaps, down out right fraud.

I am not brave enough to dial the number listed in that link, but I think if Michael Chien (and goolging the whois record lists him too) is on the other end and is involved with joylister, he should be prepared to take on the role of a public facing figure for this company.

As for my participating in the distracting discussion of the virtues of this foods type, I am nothing a facetious dim witted fool who thinks squabble about things like this somehow elevates and contributes to our discussion. Please forgive me for my stupidity knows no bounds.

Also my friend Jacob suffers from reading comprehension problems. He will persistently think a single grilled-cheese sandwich cost 40 dollars, even though everyone else will understand that cost of 40 dollars was for all you can eat grilled-cheese sandwiches which might cost around 5 to 6 dollars a pop. Sorry for the stupidity exhibited in this comment section. Jacob and I are truly the retarded trolls, so retarded that we ultimately troll ourselves over getting hung-up in our pathetic squabbles.
yitzaac / March 1, 2014 at 09:02 pm
lol not the first time joylister has hosted an oversold/small-venue event... what a joke of a business...
dose of real replying to a comment from Joe M / March 1, 2014 at 09:06 pm
A retweet will give everyone who is angry now their details to give them a call, or visit their home, or knock at their doors. They are hiding behind a faceless company with just a web presences and no physical address. Their terms of conditions and services states that they won't offer a refund. Asking for a charge back for a bad event is different from asking for a charge back for a non-existent event. If anything is going to happen, it is gonna require pressure from those who were cheated to reach out to Michael and Melissa Chien.

Ask your credit-card a charge back, the dispute time-line is measured in months.
Jacob replying to a comment from aDawg / March 1, 2014 at 09:13 pm
Also I'm trying to understand your point but instead of resorting to name calling perhaps try a different approach in communicating and expressing your passion for wholesale expenses and serving quantities.

I understand you add expensive ingredients and costs and price will go up but at what point does it just cross the line from what the product was originally intended to be. You wanna throw shark fin or giraffe meat on a grilled cheese fine so be it, we all have different tastes but taking a quick, cheap and simple meal and trying to raise it to extreme heights does not make you a gourmet chef.

Yes I can get a 1.3 LB whole wheel of Boschetto al Tartufo for $40 US and costs will go up should I choose to use it and I can probably get 30-40 sandwiches out of it if I portion and pair it properly.
Jacob replying to a comment from dose of real / March 1, 2014 at 09:18 pm
Thanks but I understand the costs. A couple of bucks to make a grilled cheese at home and I'll probably get one for about $10 at a restaurant. I did not think that the admission fee was for the price of one sandwich. While we all know the ticket price, I'd love to know what vendors/chefs paid to be a part of this event (if they did).

Most events that I've been involved with have a public admission price, and exhibitor or vendor price and different level of pricing for different levels of sponsorship and logo placements.
Ed / March 1, 2014 at 09:20 pm
Toronto Grilled Cheese Festival?
Obviously our culture is in decline.
Aside from that "Everything is awesome
Everything is cool when you're part of a team
Everything is awesome, when we're living our dream"
The Realness / March 1, 2014 at 09:30 pm
The Gorgonzola the Provolone don't even get me started on this microphone....
Jules replying to a comment from Ed / March 1, 2014 at 09:37 pm
the book of awesome.
Sims / March 1, 2014 at 09:40 pm
And I thought renaissance and war re-enactment festivals were bad. A festival about a sandwich? Clearly its a cold cold Canadian winter and people will do anything to get out of the house. The summer food truck and alleyway festivals I understand but this is crazy.
cheesed / March 1, 2014 at 10:24 pm
Grilled cheese are overrated anyways.
Joylister replying to a comment from Michael Chien / March 1, 2014 at 10:58 pm
Hi All,

Please ignore all comments made by "Michael Chien" - as this was someone falsely impersonating him!
Also, please refrain from contacting him personally, as he is just the web developer and is not involved in the execution of the event.
Instead, please address all your issues to:
Tina replying to a comment from Michael Chien / March 1, 2014 at 11:01 pm
Bad choice. Have you ever run events before at all. Build a show, build a following and the vendors will come. You paid the vendors/restaurants for this? They are supposed to pay you! Like the sex show, wedding show, ski show, beer and wine show, etc. etc.

And knowing what you paid the vendors you then with all knowledge over sold the tickets? SO you cannibalized the event yourself? And is this some sort of apology?

Yes this is the weekend and some of us have families that spent/wasted over $100 dollars on this show AND I should not call you because you stole money from my family budget????
Deen replying to a comment from Michael Chien / March 1, 2014 at 11:03 pm
So now its not the venue and the vendors but the MEDIA and ATTENDEES that are at fault?
Is it just Blogto and how they present you or is it the CBC, the Toronto Star, The Sun, etc. etc.etc.etc.
Rob Rae replying to a comment from Tina / March 1, 2014 at 11:20 pm
Tina, the man has a point. Failures aside, TUM does charges 25 + 2.60 service fee just to get inside and then you probably will dish another 40 bucks on food. Foodie events do not make much sense if you think about, and to coordinate so many vendors so they can deliver on your promise is really really difficult. People are like championing one of the vendors for giving away free sandwiches. All these vendors have been paid.

Also if you are hurting so badly because of a misspent hundred bucks, maybe you shouldn't risk your family's budget on an outting?
Deen-Tarded replying to a comment from Deen / March 1, 2014 at 11:24 pm
Learn to read Deen because you are not responding to anything he said. You are just contorting things, trying to make it seem you are responding to something that doesn't just exist in your imagination. What he said was how personal blogto made it. He was responding to the 'doxing', and how he felt was blogto playing up the division between 'bay street' and 'queen street' when no division exist (my words, I'm paraphrasing).
Spark My Interest / March 1, 2014 at 11:35 pm
Yeah and we were promoting it too...
Leo Loiero replying to a comment from Spark My Interest / March 1, 2014 at 11:43 pm
LOL. Your lead developer is working a real job. I bet you guys are gonna have the same faith as Joylister. At the very least Joylister has a better designed site than yours.
DEEN replying to a comment from Deen-Tarded / March 2, 2014 at 12:08 am
WOW this Gilled Cheese Mafia is much deeper than I thought. I want out NOW!
aDawg replying to a comment from Jacob / March 2, 2014 at 07:05 am
Fair enough, Jacob. My apologies for the name calling.

My point was simply to refute yours - that it does matter the quality of the ingredients that are put on a grilled cheese sandwich, particularly when it comes to price.

I understand your belief that grilled cheese sandwiches are ultimately a humble, simple food, and as such are not necessarily improved upon by the addition of gourmet ingredients. I, however, disagree. While not necessarily elevating the basic concept of what a grilled cheese sandwich is, anything that serves to make it more interesting and, ultimately, more delicious, is a good thing, in my opinion. For example, you seem to believe that the simplicity of a basic grilled cheese sandwich (Wonder Bread, processed cheese and butter in mind) is something that cannot and should not be improved upon - anything more would be gilding the lily. However, if I were the change to bread to a nice challah, and substitute Boschetto al Tartufo for the American cheese, is it still a grilled cheese sandwich? Yes, absolutely. And, I would argue, a more delicious one. And it is nothing like your analogy of flipping a house with a fresh coat of paint. It is more like completely deconstructing the house and rebuilding it, but with better materials. Not all change is good, granted, but it is through inspiration and applied creativity that true, worthwhile transformation takes place. Embrace the grilled cheese sandwich, I say, in all its forms!
James / March 2, 2014 at 07:48 am
LOL…You all got scammed…$40 for a grilled cheese and beer…what a joke…I need to start a Old Dutch chip festival and get all your addresses and invite you at $40 a ticket…Free bag of chips and a ice cold Coke.. Sounds like a winning event for the morons that went to the GCF!!
gladwesaidnotojoylister / March 2, 2014 at 08:44 am
Just to clarify I work for one of the grilled cheese sandwich shops that were contacted by joylister to attend. The arrangement for payment to the vendors wasnt even a payment, they basically try to sell you on the fact that their event will bring awareness to your brand and shop but they will only pay you back for your foodcosts.

So to sum it up joylister pays for the food costs only to vendors, vendors have to pay for their own labor.

joylister hires volunteers meaning no labor costs on their part.

aside from the payment for the venue it seems like they are making a killing.
ronald / March 2, 2014 at 09:03 am
wow no wonder the 2 most popular gc shops in Toronto didnt go
me love food / March 2, 2014 at 10:00 am
People need to relize that sometimes things just dont go according to plan. Im sure these people did not intend for any of this and it doesnt sound like they are a mega corperation. I get why people are pissed, but some of the comments indicate that people want to end these peoples careers over $40. If you had $40 to eat grilled cheese, im sure you can afford the hit. Not sure what solace yall get from destroying the lives of these people. shame on you who are posting there personal address and ph numbers.
SnuggleBunny replying to a comment from Frank Lemire / March 2, 2014 at 10:05 am
Frank Lemire, did you just say 'people bonding with cheese' ?
very Krafty, no matter how you slice it
Dave / March 2, 2014 at 10:21 am
I can't afford the hit to my family budget. Wife and I finally got a night out, hired a babysitter went out for a special night and got ripped off. I understand things don't always go as planned but you have to own your mistake for a faulty business plan that none of us had visibility into. The prepaid the vendors to serve a certain amount of sandwiches then got greedy and over sold tickets to the amount of vendor sandwiches the prepaid for.

Just because they aren't a mega corporation and not capable of running a successful event as a start up does not mean they arent accountable. I can unintentionally rip someone off as an individual on craigslist or ebay but that doesnt mean Im completely off the hook.
Randal / March 2, 2014 at 10:25 am
Let's not go saying people are out to destroy the lives of others for wanting a refund and for wanting to know exactly who is behind the business. If their lives are destroyed by this one event they don't have what it takes to be entrepreneurs and should go back to the 9-5. Don't quit your day job.
Deborah / March 2, 2014 at 10:30 am
The thing is joylister is effecting the credibility and the lives of the vendors as well. This whole thing leaves a bad taste in my mouth, and I will no longer be going out for a grilled cheese sandwich at these establishments for a long time - I need no further the reminders of the $40 I blew supporting all these vendors and this event and how stupid I was too buy into it.
Teddy / March 2, 2014 at 10:41 am
When are people going to learn that every Toronto food festival, gathering etc. sucks. TUM, the food truck throng at distillery, anything at brickworks are all organized like crap. It's all line ups and disappointment. Who thinks the idea of going somewhere remote, like up for 30 mins for a crappy taco, then line up another 30 mins for a beer is fun?
Gregor replying to a comment from me love food / March 2, 2014 at 11:00 am
If were accepting substandard services at events in Toronto. Can we remove all the standards for restaurants too? I'd love to be able to show nice looking photos of food in my restaurant and on the menu but then come out and serve some slop that is nothing like what the customer ordered.
Gregor replying to a comment from Gregor / March 2, 2014 at 11:04 am
Ohh and if anyone complains - I can always say I'm new to this, I never even went to chef school and learned everything I know about restaurants from watch Ramsey's Kitchen Nightmares. I will not refund any orders as I am an individual not a corporation and my life will be destroyed if I give you your $40 back.
Tara / March 2, 2014 at 11:31 am
According to the Joylister facebook page some of the commenters have been getting refunds from S.LEE. Not sure hows he's deciding who gets a refund and who doesn't.
cheese gobbler / March 2, 2014 at 12:34 pm
this sounds like a pretty awful Saturday night.
they made $90,000 from this event!

I could build a house made out of cheese with that kind of money.
Moaz Ahmad / March 2, 2014 at 01:45 pm
Welsh Rarebit..The perfect cheese on you can forget this #TOGriledcheesefest ever happened.
Loper / March 2, 2014 at 04:13 pm
Ok, so it was a bad event. In the end no one was injured and nobody starved to death. Putting on an event of this magnitude can't be easy and they failed. So what? Some events have to fail.
MikeyA / March 2, 2014 at 04:29 pm
Looks like these kids ripped off Marlon Pather's game plan, and executed it perfectly... think about it:

1- Offer a deal on something foodies are suckers for ("organic" meat, "gourmet" grilled cheese)
2- Oversell the deal to a point where there's no way they can possibly deliver what was promised
3- Only let a select few get the deal, and these people become their shills all over the Internet. I'm referring specifically to those food bloggers that were allowed in early (or in the case of Marlon, certain Chowhound and Twitter posters)
4- Shut out most of the paying customers from any level of product redemption
5- Use every means necessary to avoid refunds and prevent credit card chargebacks
6- Keep "apologizing" online
7- Take the money and run (Marlon took a vacation to Europe to "find more meat suppliers", I bet these Joylister kids have a fun foodie weekend in Hong Kong, flying first class on Cathay Pacific)
8- Repeat 4 through 7 forever
MikeyA / March 2, 2014 at 04:52 pm
@me love food: I don't believe these punks are being honest at all. They had their game plan set from day one and executed it to perfection. They and Marlon Pather are probably on a beach somewhere laughing at all the suckers they ripped off.

@Randal: their lives aren't "destroyed", they just pocketed thousands of dollars they don't deserve

@Dave: if you're going to invest time and money on a special evening, go to a real restaurant or a legitimate event/activity (sports, performing arts, museum, etc). Not something that involves what amounts to a Groupon.

@Michael Chien: (wow, "Mike the Dog"!!!) Assuming you really are the jerk behind this, if you want to regain any credibility you will refund everybody's money, NOW. Until you do, you're nothing but the latest iteration of Marlon Pather. I guess in your culture that's something to be proud of -- making money is all that matters, who cares how you did it.
Jessie / March 2, 2014 at 05:06 pm
Its not the event that failed it was the company that failed and should be folded.
MikeyA / March 2, 2014 at 08:20 pm
@loper "Some events have to fail."

I don't think $90,000 in profit for one night's (lack of) work is a fail. It's a clear win for these scammers.
MC replying to a comment from MikeyA / March 2, 2014 at 10:58 pm
If you think cost of tickets x total number of tickets = profit, then you are an idiot. Revenue and profit are not the same thing and you're not considering the costs of paying the vendors, renting the venue etc.
With that said, how the hell did this even oversell, let alone sell out? Was every restaurant, fast food joint, grocery store, hot dog stand and food bank in this city closed? $40 for grilled cheese? These places charging $15+ for grilled cheese are a bad enough rip off to begin with.
Zap / March 3, 2014 at 12:45 am
Quick question for joylister. I'm planning my Wedding reception and I'm inviting 300 guests, how may plates of food do you think I should plan for 100-150? 200? 300? 310?
Rick / March 3, 2014 at 08:17 am
Grilled cheese festival? $40 entry? GRILLED CHEESE FESTIVAL?????

Insidescoop / March 3, 2014 at 09:24 am
Kudos to BlogTO for writing this article revealing that Joylister is nothing but a company run by scammers.

I would like to point out a few things here for people to know as well. All this information is available online. I've followed this company for the past year as I'm a event organizer myself.

- Joylister tried to organize event called Barfest in January in which they cancelled because they didn’t sell enough tickets. Keep in mind, their all about selling as many tickets as possible regardless of the experience.
- Joylister executed another mismanaged event called Poutinefest back in August 2013. They oversold tickets and claimed there was a technical glitch on their website. It was a horrible experience for many ticket buyers. The event also ran out of food hours before it ended.
- Toronto Life wrote an article promoting Grilled Cheese Fest which is why they were able to sell so many tickets (nobody did their research to find out the background story of this company). People trusted Toronto Life and went ahead with their purchases.
- Joylister doesn't have any paid staff. They recruit volunteers and unpaid workers (which are mostly young people who are naive enough to believe their taking part in a great venture). They've posted “job listings” on Kijiji claiming they offer profit sharing but nobody earns a wage.
- Joylister originally tried to offer some other food and social experiences (which were listed on their website back in the fall of 2013). They tried recruiting small businesses like restaurant owners to host their own events to the public. These owners would only make commission off the ticket sales. Can you imagine doing all the work for the event including offering all the food and services only to be paid a tiny percentage for it? Clearly, they like to target new and inexperienced vendors seeking to obtain promotion and publicity. I do understand why they would agreed to do it but I wish they would be more cautious.
- All the “likes” on their Facebook page are mostly fake! They bought hundreds of them to boost their page and to make it look like their popular.
- The owners have NO experienced with event management or food services. They just know how to market and create a fancy looking website to attract customers. Obviously the concept worked because so many people purchased tickets for Grilled Cheese Fest. The vendors also fell for it and are not paying the price for taking part in a disastrous event.

I hope people refrain from ever going to their events in the future. There are SO many other great events and festivals in Toronto. As well, the city is filled with independent restaurants and eateries where you can get great food and NOT have to pay a ridiculous premium for it.

Best of luck for those of you trying to get your refunds!
JimmiVan / March 3, 2014 at 10:27 am
It is quite interesting that it is all the fashion now for people/organizations to 'take full responsibility' for a wrongdoing but offer those wronged nothing for recourse. Hint: 'Taking responsibility' actually means actually doing something to make it right, not just cheap words.
Alex replying to a comment from Jamie / March 3, 2014 at 10:30 am
Sorry, you spent $80 on a GRILLED CHEESE FESTIVAL, you've waived any right to sympathy.
Event Planner replying to a comment from DC / March 3, 2014 at 11:25 am
Well DC that is the planners fuck-up. A very basic thing is checking your power supply and what the suppliers require. It would have take an hour at best to figure out that wasn't the right place for this type of event given the power requirements. Such a rookie mistake. If you're going to take ppl's money you need to do better.
Event Planner replying to a comment from Nobody / March 3, 2014 at 11:27 am
Why is that too far? If they have welcome to 2014 where if you put it online it there for the world to link to.
lister replying to a comment from Alex / March 3, 2014 at 11:31 am
Incompetence and fraud are exactly that. Doesn't matter what the event or thing is. I'm sure you've got some head scratchers of hobbies and interests as well. No sympathy for you if any of them go sour.
Event Planner replying to a comment from Loper / March 3, 2014 at 11:40 am
If you have a little common sense and some good decent experience this is a rather simple event. They just did a very bad job.
bummed out replying to a comment from DC / March 3, 2014 at 11:49 am
I have to say I was one of the shmucks that bought tickets for my wife thinking it would be something fun to do. I have to say DC...your band was the best part of the event. Loved the Cajon and Guitar combo...good job!!
Osama bin smokin / March 3, 2014 at 01:25 pm
I came to the grilled cheese Feast expecting to find a halal grilled cheese sammy made from from unpasteurized camel milk like I used to have back home, and all I got was a chance to drink some beer. I am going to send by bros to take care of those infidel kefir joylisters
Osama bin smokin replying to a comment from bummed out / March 3, 2014 at 01:30 pm
You thought going to a grilled cheese fest would be fun to do for you and your wife at $45 each? What is your problem, you must have too much $$ burning a hole in your Calvin Klein underwear. You should have made a grilled cheese at home, drank one bottle of beer, and taken her to the "den". That would have been more fun.
Fasdaq replying to a comment from Greedy Glutton / March 3, 2014 at 02:00 pm
Its my hard earned $40 I'll spend it how I please. How do know how much I've donated to charities or food banks in my years on this planet? It's alot more than $40. Why are you wasting time and money on here commenting when you could be doing so much more today to help causes around the world. Sell your computer, sell your phone, donate the $$$, cancel your data plan cancel your internet and cable bills and hand over the cash why you being so greedy.
Lisa / March 3, 2014 at 03:12 pm
Insidescoop: thanks for your long tirade suresh doss. Yes they are young entrepreneurs trying to break into the market and failed miserably. Besides people are foolish to pay 40 dollars for grilled cheese and you forgot to end your comments by promoting one of your horrible events
MikeyA replying to a comment from Zap / March 3, 2014 at 03:55 pm
Joylister would require wedding guests to "gift" you at least $100 each, and let's say you invite 100 guests... only have room for 20 diners. The other 80, too bad, you got their money you don't care that they weren't fed.
MikeyA replying to a comment from Insidescoop / March 3, 2014 at 04:07 pm
Like I said, these punks are the Chinese version of Marlon Pather's butcher shop. Scammers all the way.

For those with short memories read these and see the similarities:

MikeyA replying to a comment from Dan M. / March 3, 2014 at 04:11 pm
You sure you aren't related to the dog family that is behind this scam?
MikeyA replying to a comment from Jamie / March 3, 2014 at 04:13 pm
There's no way these foodie suckers can boycott events like this. They can't resist. Foodie = sucker. Marlon Pather fleeced them with his "organic" scam, and now these punks did the same with their "events" scam.
MikeyA replying to a comment from Jerry Houlad / March 3, 2014 at 04:15 pm
Nah, they flew first class on Cathay Pacific back home to Hong Kong where they're enjoying Michelin 3* restaurants... and Marlon Pather is with them too!
MikeyA replying to a comment from Lisa / March 3, 2014 at 04:18 pm
They didn't fail, I'd say they succeeded, they had a game plan and executed it. Yes, that game plan included ripping off a bunch of foodie idiots sucked in by "gourmet" things and the idea of being in a crowd of similarly arrogant foodie snobs and away from the great unwashed.
aser / March 3, 2014 at 05:50 pm
As always, comments = best part of the internet.

Just a lot of bad looks all around, from all angles. The promoters, customers, human flesh searchers (google that), industry folks.

Insidescoop - I'm sure a lot of what you've stated is true, but you're coming across as mad salty. Action speaks louder than words, if your competition is half-stepping, let nature take its course, they'll sink. No need to kick anybody while they're down, it's clear to see how inept Joylister is already. Airing out dirty laundry anonymously in the comments section is amateur high school shit.

Joylister - Take a big loss on this one, state a clear cut refund policy. Don't make customers chase you, especially if you have any plans for future events. There is also a strong chance your "brand" is beyond repair.

Customers - Sucks a big one, must've been a frustrating night.

Know it alls - Why do people care so much about what people spend their money on? I'm sure if we dissect your lives, someone will find something ludicrous in your lifestyle. As long as they're not harming anybody, let them be.

Greedy Glutton - You're straight up socially inept. You're right up there w/ people invoking Godwin's Law.
local / March 4, 2014 at 03:01 pm
I wonder if this was run by the same tools that organized the CraveTO event held in the Honest Ed's parking lot last fall. It was a disaster of a different nature, but still a disaster. Unfortunately the success of these kinds of events is attracting a new breed of organizers whose passion lies not in good food and drink but $$$$$.
James Harmon / March 5, 2014 at 12:20 pm
Has anyone contacted the police to see the status of their investigation on JoyLister?
jer replying to a comment from James Harmon / March 6, 2014 at 09:33 am
Pretty sure they agreed to return funds to people who have e-mailed them/requested directly.
lister / March 6, 2014 at 11:41 am
Joylister has made good on their refund promise to me, I can confirm that I've received the refund. Good on them for that.
lister / March 6, 2014 at 12:22 pm
So, uh, BlogTO editors or web admin person, what happened to the comment I just posted?
TAMMY / March 6, 2014 at 11:10 pm
Alex replying to a comment from Ed / March 7, 2014 at 04:18 pm
Tegan and Sarah SUCK! BUT! I loved the Lego Movie :)
Hello, I enjoy reading all of your article. I wanted to write
a little comment to support you.
Melissa Chien / December 27, 2014 at 08:10 pm
I think the best thing to do is to run a Sushi event now!
I enjoyed the cash from the last event so much I have no become Japanese! Yes, I am Melissa Chien Suzuki now
Other Cities: Montreal