Tasheka Mason won’t sugar-coat it; if the food was outstanding, but the service was bad, she’ll 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 loads of foodie content already on the app, Mason’s appeal and relatability to people is part of what is drawing viewers to her so quickly.
Her videos, which often range from one to four minutes, include shots of restaurants’ seating and decor, appetizers and entrees, cocktails and even the washroom. She includes voice overs on how she felt, how everything tasted, and how quickly the food came.
Her comments are filled with people expressing their love for her playfulness and her use of patois.
“I take everything for a joke and I love to have fun,” she told the Star.
Immigrating to Canada from Jamaica when she was 12 years old, Mason moved to Scarborough, an area of Toronto that helped her foster her identity.
“A lot of my culture growing up came from Scarborough,” she said.
With her perspective, Mason says she’s not only hoping to appeal to the Jamaican population in the GTA, but she’s also speaking to Torontonians who understand patois, which is intertwined with the way so many people from the city speak.
On top of being a social worker and TikTok reviewer, Mason is also a restaurant owner. Mason said she saw influencers give their take on her Flavor Restaurant in Ajax – opened in 2018 – and wanted to try the same thing, with a focus on being more authentic.
“(TikTok) is not like Instagram where you’re curating something that has to look good and feel good,” she said. “On TikTok, you can be yourself because you’ll be surprised at the amount of people out there who are actually like you.
“Honesty is a huge part for me,” Mason said, emphasizing that even if she’s paid to give a review, she reserves her right to give her true opinion, whatever that may be. Sometimes that means disclosing that a certain drink or food wasn’t her personal favorite, but acknowledging that someone else might like it, she adds.
Since she’s built so much rapport with her audience, people have begun reaching out for recommendations on spots for birthdays and anniversaries.
Her favorite place she’s reviewed 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 you 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, excellent, nice steak, you’re better off at someplace like Harbor 60.”
Now, she says her focus is on supporting her colleagues, other small business owners who are working to recover from the financial toll of the pandemic, through reviews.
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