We are Kristin and Dan Donovan, married with children (Joey and Ned). Hooked opened in March 2011 in the Leslieville neighbourhood of Toronto. Why here for our first store? We have lived here for over 10 years, have been a part of its evolution and just plain love it.
We are chefs first – professional cooks (we met while studying at the Stratford Chefs School). We and our team have years of experience with food as cooks, chefs, restaurateurs, caterers, wine educators and culinary teachers – and we love seafood!
Hooked is a different fish store.
For a number of years, Kristin and I have been part of a shift in the chef community that is bypassing the traditional supply chain and buying directly from producers. It is both quality choice and a need to clarify where our food comes from; how it was handled and why. We are proud to deal personally with our local fish farmers and Great Lakes fishers, know exactly where our fish was caught, how and when. We handle all of our own freight to ensure that we have control of our fish from the moment the boat arrives at the dock, both on Western and Eastern shores.
What does all of this mean to you, our customer?
1. We carry only fish and shellfish from clean waters, healthy stocks, that have been caught using methods which do no harm to other species or to the surrounding environment. Our farmed fish is carefully vetted: slow growth rates, low population densities, no hormones or antibiotics.
2. Our fish arrives to the shop fresh out of water. As we use no distributor, there is no delay between the processor and our door. Fish is seasonal: our frozen fish is caught, cleaned and blast frozen within hours out of water, ensuring the best possible product year round.
3. We and our amazing staff are here to help. We offer expertise, insight and direction on how to select and then cook the fish you purchase. We have a selection of marinades and sauces developed and made by us to elevate your meal to ‘wow’.
4. We have incorporated a teaching kitchen into the store, offering a variety of affordable and informative classes to guide and empower our customers. We also offer private events and instruction, geared to fun, information and cooking technique.
Since opening, we have been fortunate to connect and develop strong relationships with focused organizations including OceanWise, Ecology Action Centre, Slow Food, Slow Fish, SeaChoice and the Evergreen Brickworks.