We like to think Michael was hitching a ride on the 2023 BU asteroid. He died in hospital around 6:15 p.m. on Thursday, January 26, 2023 - shortly before the asteroid was passing by the Earth.
Born April 13, 1943, in Bromley, Kent, England, Michael was a wanderer at heart. He lived in or travelled to many corners of the globe before finally settling in Toronto, which made sense because Toronto is a city where people from every country in the world call home!
For many years Michael’s vegetarian restaurant Hey Good Cooking (est. 1989) was a fixture at 238 Dupont Street in Toronto’s Annex neighbourhood. He transformed what was once a laundromat and then a fried chicken take-out into a vibrant restaurant for vegetarian food. To mark the transformation he had the interior and exterior of the building painted brilliant shades of blue, green, red, and yellow. Inside, the walls provided space for local artists to display and sell their artwork. But what most customers will likely remember was the brightly coloured mural depicting the interior of the cafe and the diversity of its clientele.
Before opening Hey Good Cooking, Michael made his mark in the early 1980’s on Toronto’s burgeoning vegetarian food scene as a chef at the Renaissance Cafe on Bloor Street West. In 1987, he started a wholesale vegetarian roti and roll business out of a basement kitchen in Kensington Market and distributed to 60 vegetarian outlets throughout the GTA. Known for his famous Mushroom Nut Loaf and Southern Spiced Tofu, his recipes were featured a number of times in the Toronto Star and other local newspapers. His regulars came back again and again for the daily specials, casual dining environment, and to enjoy music from around the world - especially when Mike was working!
In 2007, Toronto lost a vegetarian culinary legacy when Hey Good Cooking had to close its doors due to the doubling of rents - a phenomenon all too common and devastating to the small business mosaic of our city. In remembering Michael today we want to honour the role he played in helping lay the foundation of Toronto’s vegetarian food culture. He was doing it before it was cool!
When Michael wasn’t cooking, he loved playing squash, running, watching tennis and hockey, listening to jazz, playing the piano, and wandering in Toronto’s ravines. He was a dedicated father and grandfather who took the kids to the park, for long bike rides, and regaled them with stories of his world travels. Unfortunately, Michael’s later years were spent battling various health issues which meant he was no longer able to do all the things he loved. We are comforted knowing that he is now at peace – happily stirring a good cup of tea.
We would like to acknowledge the compassionate care Michael and our family received in recent years from Trillium Hospital (Mississauga) who supported our family’s decision to provide care for him in our home. And whenever we needed extra help, Toronto Fire, Toronto Paramedics, and ER staff were there to offer their support. We are forever grateful.
Michael died surrounded by family who loved him, and that gives us all comfort in our great loss. Thank you as well to the ICU staff who cared for Michael with such compassion while we processed this tragedy.
Michael is survived by his daughters Samantha and Sarah, grandson Taejon, and extended family in England, Australia, and Canada.
A celebration of life for family and close friends will be planned for this summer. If you wish, memorial donations can be directed to the Daily Bread Food Bank, or consider sharing a vegetarian meal with someone you love.
Messages and condolences may be left at www.cremationalternatives.com. Please visit Michael's obituary notice on Facebook.