Toronto's biggest chefs mourn death of social media star Chef Grant Soto
Taylor Clarke, the man behind Toronto's most popular satirical Instagram account Chef Grant Soto, has died.
News of the 38-year-old comedian's death has been circulating on social media since yesterday, and Clarke's sudden passing, coupled with the abrupt end of his beloved seven-year alter-ego Chef Soto, has hit hard for many in the city.
That includes Clarke's 12,000 followers, along with some of the biggest names in the city's restaurant industry, of whom Clarke was both a relentless critic and a shameless co-collaborator.
"Even though he loved making fun of the industry, he had deep respect for it and the people in it (even if we are often such caricatures of ourselves)," wrote restaurateur Jen Agg yesterday in an Instagram post.
In her post, Agg cited an "apparent accidental overdose" for Clarke's cause of death.
"He struggled with depression and I wish we'd talked about that the other day instead of making fun of some shit on the internet. I’ll miss our chats so much," she wrote.
Both Agg and celebrity chef Matty Matheson have posted links to a GoFundMe campaign to help raise money for Clarke's funeral, along with donations toward addiction and mental health charities.
This is for his funeral and his sister please donate! It breaks my heart we even have to do this. Taylor you will be so missed man! @jen___agg and I with the help of so many will be planning a memorial for all in the coming weeks so we can raise more money to help people and bring awareness to mental health and addiction. Link in bio! https://www.gofundme.com/taylor-clarke-memorial-fund&rcid=r01-155225143285-533532038830425e&pc=ot_co_campmgmt_m
"It breaks my heart we even have to do this. Taylor you will be so missed man!" wrote Matheson on Instagram.
Twenty-one hours after the GoFundMe was posted, Agg and Matheson have raised more than $9,500 of their $10,000 goal from over 170 donations.
Comments have flooded the campaign and Instagram posts in memoriam of the one-time firefighter-turned-social media star (and ice cream guy) from Thunder Bay whose biting sarcasm (a mix of incessant trolling and painfully accurate Toronto starter packs) kept the city on its toes.
Fans have also flocked to the old posts of the Chef Grant Soto account, whose last post on March 2 was, iconically, a resentment-fuelled bio for a polyamorous couple living in Roncesvalles who enjoyed Sanagan's Meats, a little too much.
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