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Turns out, ‘Barbecue Dad’ is Jewish (and Canadian)

Doug Sherman with his wife and two daughters

A couple of Fridays ago, Doug Sherman was golfing when the course superintendent drove up to the hole he was at and said, “Did you realize you’re all over the Internet?” Sherman had not.

What the man was referring to was a photo of a cheerful, khaki shorts-clad Sherman grilling meat and vegetables on an outdoor barbecue – a picture found on Google, apparently after the posters typed in the words “Grill Dad” and pulled (without, ahem, permission) from Sherman’s daughter’s business website – that now accompanies a Craigslist ad gone viral.

This Craigslist ad for an experienced griller to fill the role of generic “BBQ Dad” was posted by a group of young guys in Spokane, Wash. SCREENSHOT

The ad, posted in May, was written by a group of 20-somethings in Spokane, Wash. and consisted of a call-out for a “generic father figure” to attend a barbecue celebration the group of friends is throwing on Father’s Day, June 17. Included in the desired list of dad “duties” are: “grilling hamburgers and hotdogs (whilst drinking beer),” referring to “all attendees as ‘Big Guy,’ ‘Chief’, ‘Sport,’ ‘Champ,’ etc. (whilst drinking beer)” and “talk[ing] about dad things, like lawnmowers.”

For whatever reason, the ad caught the attention of a range of local and international media outlets, including our very own CBC radio (check out this As It Happens interview with one of the barbecue planners/would-be “sons”) and shortly after getting wind of it, a local U.S. news station contacted Sherman, who lives in Toronto’s Wilson Heights and Sheppard area with his wife, to ask for an interview. He granted it, along with his daughter Amy, a 26-year-old CHAT graduate and owner of Toronto-based healthy meal delivery service The Little Honey Bee, the website of which had featured the now legendary grilling pic.

‘I think they’re looking for more of a beer-guzzling, pat you on the shoulder… in Canadian terms, more of a ‘hoser’ kind of dad’

The interview, done via Skype, included a virtual meeting with the eight or so guys that posted the ad. The 15 minutes of fame that all of this attention has brought about for Sherman has been “wild,” he said, chuckling, “I can’t go anywhere without being called ‘barbecue dad.'”

“I mean, I have a real life and a job, but my daughter has worked so hard on her business –it’s serviced so many people in the Jewish community… I’m not looking to get famous, but if all this can draw some attention to where the photo [of me] came from, Honey Bee, that’d be wonderful.”


As for whether he fits the “generic dad” stereotype, Sherman said that, other than being extremely savvy on the grill (his own Dad taught him on an “old-fashioned, charcoal barbecue,” and he went on to teach Amy and his other daughter, Lesley), he doesn’t fit the bill.

“I think they’re looking for more of a beer-guzzling, pat you on the shoulder… in Canadian terms, more of a ‘hoser’ kind of dad,” Sherman admitted, noting that his own tolerance for booze leaves much to be desired. (“I can’t drink two Bud Light Limes and get through barbecuing.”)

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