January 4, 1981- March 8, 2019
It is with great sadness the family of Taylor Clarke announce his passing. After a courageous and dignified life as a fireman, screenwriter, and internet celebrity, Taylor Clarke aka Chef Grant
Soto, passed away… you might say, in his brand of comedy, “RIP Chef Grant Soto. Time of death. 12.1 K followers.”
His family and friends will remember him as a creative, generous, and loyal observer of life. A highly intelligent, playful, and always hilarious cynic, with a room filling infectious laugh.
A screenwriter by trade, Taylor was motivated by truth, justice, and exposing hypocrisy wherever he could find it. He wrote comedies about reckless, self destructive, larger than life person- alities with huge opinions and fast paced addictions; in many ways he wrote about himself. These flawed characters aimed to teach us a lesson in humility. In this regard, he was a true Canadian; cutting down tall poppies wherever he went.
One of his notable projects had him write and direct a documen- tary for HBO that included his friends and comedy legends, Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, admirers of his work.
Taylor’s mother, Pamela, was ill during many of his callings to Hollywood and Toronto aka “Hollywood North”. He stayed home to care for her and write his scripts in Thunder Bay… his own per-
sonal “Hollywood North North”. He put his career on hold to be there for his mother, a testament to his loyalty and love for her.
After her passing, Taylor gathered his things and moved back to Toronto to see his writing through with nothing but his famous dog, Ruby, and his famous phone.
Running parallel with his screenwriter career was Taylor’s internet personality, CHEF GRANT SOTO, a comedic character he created known for harpooning Toronto food culture, funny memes, and social commentary. Chef Grant Soto was an exaggerated narcissistic Toronto chef who was comically egotistical, opinionated, and self promoting. Sculpted from Taylor’s tumultuous times working in Toronto kitchens, Chef Soto personified the Toronto food industry, and eventually grew to be a platform to satirize all of Toronto’s denizens. No one was off limits.
This alter ego rang so true, that Taylor instantly gathered a devoted online following of thirteen thousand, (12.1k but when it comes to followers you always round up.) He became a Toronto celebrity, a well known name in the Canadian comedy scene, and even landed on the top 30 under 30 list – something he would be embarrassed of, never one to take himself too seriously.
True to his life mission to push humility, he felt by poking fun at the privileged, and ‘taking them down a peg’, he was advancing an anti-classism agenda – like the time he pointed out the pretentiousness of a deconstructed caesar salad offered at one of Toronto’s uber cool venues (you dip the lettuce in ceasar dressing and then roll it around in bacon bits with your hands; something
so ridiculous, it felt ripped from one of his made up memes).
Soto felt that if you went on social media and bragged about your fabulous life, you should at least be able to take a joke. People loved him for this, and he was successful because his messages, coated in his unique sarcasm and irony, resonated with a culture obsessed with appearances.
While this personality got him banned and feared by some restaurants, usually ones he called out for bad behaviour, it also made him a hero for the every-man, encouraging restaurants to be more
mindful of their attitude and treatment of their customers and staff. At the time of his passing, whether you loved him or hated him, if you were mentioned by Chef Grant Soto, you wore it as a badge of honour.
In recent years, his career took off at rocket speed, and he was proud of his work, and his impact. He used his influence to not only make jokes, but also spread awareness of mental health issues, something he struggled with, and offered support to those who were in need of help.
With the sudden fast pace life he was pulled into, and the demand for Taylor’s writing and brand endorsement, it seems life became a bit too fast for him to handle. Sadly, it came to a screeching halt far too soon, just as his creative impact was starting to go in the direction he wanted.
At the end of the day, Taylor was a massive talent, destined for the big city, and he was deeply proud of his Thunder Bay roots. His name could have made it into the LA Times, but the ironic
truth is he would be much more proud to have made the “Thunder Bay Chronicle Obituaries” #Saturdayedition
Predeceased by his mother Pamela Clarke, Taylor is survived by his sister, Tara, her husband, Victor, his nephew Connor, his father, numerous aunts, uncles, and cousins, his dog, Ruby, and his countless memes that brought us joy and kept the city of Toronto’s attitude in check. Without his influence, who know’s what Toronto’s ego is capable of. RIP Chef Grant Soto. You will be
missed. Check out his work on Instagram @chefgrantsoto and for more info on mental health camh: https://www.canadahelps.org/en/why-canadahelps/