Jerry Kinoshita knew all the rules in grammar, in the kitchen and in life

Jerry Kinoshita.

Courtesy of family

Jerome Michael Yutaka Kinoshita: Father. Husband. Editor. Chef. Born June 26, 1951, in Hamilton; died Jan. 29, 2020, in Toronto, of complications from a stroke; aged 68.

To call Jerry a “foodie” would be doing him an injustice. Good food was something he truly adored. He could describe in detail a dish he had a decade ago as if it were yesterday. He also thoroughly enjoyed cooking – which his wife and two daughters perhaps never really appreciated until COVID-19 hit and they felt his absence in the kitchen.

Jerry was the youngest of three boys, his family part of a dark chapter in Canadian history. His parents had been interned in British Columbia during the Second World War and relocated to Ontario shortly after. He excelled in academics and sports, and his love of sports – both watching and playing – remained a core part of his life.

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After studying journalism at Ryerson, he landed a job in 1974 at The Globe and Mail and found himself so at home he spent 42 years there, briefly as a writer and then as an editor. Writers appreciated how calm and patient he was, while fellow editors relied on his vast general knowledge and mastery of spelling and grammar. Much as Jerry loved his colleagues, he hated mistakes. For several years, his were the last eyes to see stories about to be published, scouring them for typos and breaches of The Globe’s often-bizarre style guidelines.

He worked on many major news events, but perhaps his proudest was as lead editor on a story about Toronto’s “hidden homeless.” The following spring, he was in the audience to hear journalist Margaret Philp sing his praises while accepting a National Newspaper Award.

Jerry rarely brought his work home. Apart from his willingness to edit his daughters’ school work, he saved that side of himself for the office. At his celebration of life, former colleagues shared hours of stories about how Jerry’s talent made them better writers and editors, how he loved to brag about his daughters’ accomplishments and how everyone in the newsroom knew how badly he wanted his favourite teams to succeed.

He and Janice, who married in 1989, had many shared interests, from good food and wine to basketball and baseball. They had been friends for many years and few were surprised when they finally fell in love. Off the job, Jerry did not make friends easily, and often balked at going to dinners and parties, but once there, he always had a great time. In the summer, he escaped to the cottage, often polishing off a detective/spy novel (or two) in a day before dinner with Janice on the deck, enjoying a glass of wine and a beautiful sunset.

Much of Jerry can be found in his daughters, but Christine, 26, and Laura, 23, also had an impact on him. They inherited his love of food, going so far as to create an Instagram account dedicated to it where Chef Jerry became a staple. When they developed more complicated relationships with food, he adapted. When Christine became a pescetarian, he adapted and accepted that now he’d rarely get to eat red meat, something he loved. She would text him recipe ideas, only to find he’d already bought all the ingredients by the time she got home.

He left The Globe in 2016 and, until his stroke last October, devoted retirement to travelling with Janice, playing golf with his brother, watching the Raptors win a championship, hoping every year would finally be the year for the Habs and spending quality time with his daughters. His dedication to his family was genuine and rare.

Jerry’s legacy endures through his intellect and talent, and of course the many dishes he had mastered. To honour him on his birthday, Laura made his famous Jamaican seafood stew, with a slight modification: much more seafood than the recipe calls for. Jerry would have certainly shaken his head, but eaten it with a smile.

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Christine Kinoshita is Jerry’s daughter.

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