depanneur toronto

Toronto restaurant sets record for most funded Canadian cookbook project ever

Not only did a cookbook from a Toronto restaurant surpass its goal of $20,000 in less than 24 hours, it's become the most funded Canadian cookbook on Kickstarter. 

The Depanneur Cookbook (A Book Where Interesting Food Things Happen: 100 Recipes by 100 Cooks) has raised more than double its goal from over 460 backers, now holding strong at over $47,000.

Founder and owner Len Senater of The Depanneur (a place where interesting food things happen AKA an experimental pop-up kitchen) is behind it all.

"It is the culmination of a long, slow, person-by-person process of building trust and holding true to a vision. In my opinion, it is grounded in something authentic and valuable that could not be manufactured through buzz, advertising or social media alone," Senater told blogTO in regards to the success of the cookbook.

"People want to help support local culinary talent through this difficult time and I'm just using what I have to help create a way to do that. People are responding by supporting the Kickstarter, which in turn supports The Dep, and in turn the hundreds of cooks that have called The Dep home. Everybody wins."

In his usual fashion, Senater is celebrating all the support the cookbook has been getting by donating $5 from each pre-order to Kiva, an organization that gives microloans to women food entrepreneurs in developing countries. He's actually already made 100 donations to Kiva over the past decade.

Now, the book just needs to actually be written.

"The Kickstarter was created to raise enough money to be able to equitably remunerate over 100 contributors, something that the typical Canadian cookbook publishing model simply would not be able to do," says Senater.

"The funds we've raised expand the range of what is possible, and change the way we are able to negotiate a book deal moving forward. Having extra money in the budget means we can consider creating an audio or video component to complement the book, adding depth to the stories we can tell."

There's still a little bit of time left to support the project and purchase prints by Dougie Kerr who created the Depanneur window art, which might look familiar: he's also the artist behind the iconic signs at Honest Ed's. The prints depict quotes from the likes of James Baldwin and Dr. Seuss.

"The Kickstarter campaign runs until Monday, Dec. 21 — my 50th birthday — and I really think we can hit our stretch goal of 50/50: $50k for 50 years," says Senater. "We're less than $2,500 away, and if we can make it, it will truly be the silver lining of the dark cloud of 2020."

Lead photo by

Jesse Milns

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