Jamaican TikToker reviews Toronto’s restaurant scene — in patois

Tasheka Mason won’t coat it in sugar; if the food was exceptional, but the service was bad, she will tell you. If the food was just ok, but paired with an exciting experience, she’ll tell you that too.

A social worker by day and food critic by night, Mason, known as @TashTheMillionaire online, has amassed more than 20,000 followers and 200,000 likes on TikTok since November for her honest and entertaining restaurant reviews in the GTA. With plenty of foodie content already on the app, Mason’s appeal and connection to people is part of what attracts viewers so quickly.

His videos, which are often one to four minutes long, include footage of restaurant seating and decor, appetizers and main courses, cocktails and even restrooms. She includes voiceovers about how she felt, how everything tasted, and how quickly the food arrived.

His comments are filled with people expressing their love for his playfulness and use of patois.

“I take everything for a joke and I love to have fun,” she told the Star.

Immigrating to Canada from Jamaica at the age of 12, Mason moved to Scarborough, a neighborhood in Toronto that helped her develop her identity.

“A lot of my culture growing up came from Scarborough,” she said.

With her perspective, Mason says she not only hopes to appeal to the Jamaican population of the GTA, but also appeals to Torontonians who understand patois, which is closely tied to the way so many people in the city speak.

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Besides being a social worker and a TikTok critic, Mason also owns a restaurant. Mason said he had seen influencers review his Flavor restaurant in Ajax – which opened in 2018 – and wanted to try the same, with a focus on being more authentic.

“(TikTok) isn’t like Instagram where you curate something that has to look good and feel good,” she said. “On TikTok, you can be yourself because you’ll be surprised how many people actually look like you.

“Honesty is a big part of it for me,” Mason said, noting that while she’s paid to give a review, she reserves the right to give her true opinion, whatever that may be. Sometimes that means revealing that a certain drink or food wasn’t her favorite, but acknowledging that someone else might like it, she adds.

Since she established so many connections with her audience, people started asking for spot recommendations for birthdays and anniversaries.

Her favorite place she’s rated so far? Louix Louis, a luxurious restaurant on the 31st floor of the St. Regis Toronto.

“If you’re looking for a great experience and want to chill with your girls and hang out, you can go to Louix Louis,” Mason said. “But if you’re looking for a good, great, good steak, you’re better off at a place like Harbor 60.”

Now, she says her goal is to support her colleagues, other small business owners struggling to recover from the financial cost of the pandemic, through reviews.

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