"And so it was when I ran into Jake Gyllenhaal in the kitchen. Not my kitchen -- where the only thing I do well is stir the occasional pot -- but the kitchen in Sotto Sotto, where one of the many things they do well is spoon-feed the stars. On Thursday, late, I just happened to be at the back of the Avenue Road restaurant, talking to some of the staff, caught in the storm of spaghetti and serendipity, when just a few seconds after being there, and to everyone's surprise, the actor suddenly appeared. Deeply V-necked, pleasantly broad-shouldered, and with that paralyzing dopey smile, he turned up solo, like one of those bit-partridges who had mixed up the time he was supposed to appear in a junior high production of The 12 Days of Christmas. His deep, baby-blue V-neck, by the way, looked comfortable but meticulous, as did the black tee underneath the sweater, and his near-pristine dark jeans. All very back-to-school clean. All coming together quite nicely under the unforgiving, hard and harsh kitchen light. The only thing casting a shadow? Jake's 10 o'clock fuzz. ''Mama would like a picture,'' seized one of the maybe five men, standing with me and the movie star in a part of the kitchen just marginally bigger than Nelson Mandela's old digs on Robben Island.
Actually, said one of the friendly wait staff, Mama has no idea what a Gyllenhaal is. She just likes the idea of having her picture taken with famous people. In fact, just a little later, Mama was insisting on having her pic taken with a friend of mine. ''I'm not a celebrity,'' my friend told her, to little avail. It was a glimpse, I guess, of the wider celeb-serum that much of the city takes at this time of year. Jake, meanwhile, gave us a glimpse of his singularly sporty-brainy-emo brand in Hollywood -- the kind of chap who can competitive-bike-ride, do crosswords and get teary-eyed via Keats. The night was almost done, and he, polite to the end, thanked everyone and told Mama in particular that he dug her lasagna. But Ms. Witherspoon did come to whisk him away after dinner. Take from that what you may, and indulge your deepest, vicarious fantasies.
Meanwhile, back at Sotto Sotto-- where Jodie Foster and Sienna Miller has also dined that night, incidentally -- Mama sent me packing with some of her secret recipe chili sauce". Shinan Govani, National Post. Published: Saturday, September 08, 2007