Call it love at first friend request. Eden Grinshpan had recently gone through a breakup when she connected with Ido Nivron on Facebook at the behest of random acquaintances in a crowded bar miles from home.
From the moment they met IRL, the Brooklyn-based, Toronto-born host of Top Chef Canada and her Israeli husband were inseparable. “I actually called my mom the day after our first date and told her I was going to marry [Eden],” Nivron says.
Fast-forward five weeks, and he was down on one knee popping the question. The rest, as they say, is history—but not before Nivron picked out a one-of-a-kind diamond. “We both come from parents who fell in love and got married fast,” Grinshpan says.
“And are happily married to this day,” adds Nivron.
So too are the charming couple, who are now a party of three with their four-year-old daughter, Ayv (rhymes with “wave”). But better yet, let’s hear the story from the lovebirds, themselves.
Where are you currently located?
EDEN GRINSHPAN: We’re in Toronto right now. Actually, the day we shot these pictures it was freezing.
IDO NIVRON: I think it was, like, -7 degrees celsius.
EG: It was fun. We’re staying at my parent’s [house]—they live in a really beautiful neighborhood that’s very green. We’re almost living in a forest here, so it was nice to bring nature into [the photo shoot] as well.
IN: It was a snowy day, we wore our boots. We went outside, we were kicking the snow around.
EG: I was like, “Ido, stop everything! I need you to tap into photographer mode.” [Laughs.]
Have you been in Toronto this whole time?
EG: We were living in Brooklyn, then March happened, so we got a rental a couple of hours outside the city. We stayed there until July when they opened the borders for Canadians and immediate family, and we’ve been living with my parents ever since.
How has life changed for you this year?
IN: [The] value of time spent with family has gone up significantly. Covid has forced us to live in a new way, but with that, you find the silver lining of spending more time and being more present. Every month that goes by, our daughter is a completely different person. A lot of people will say to you, you won’t believe how quickly time passes.” And truly, I see that. Now that I have more time to be with [Ayv], I see how quickly she’s evolving. If I was going to work and wasn’t home as much, I would miss out on a lot of those moments.
EG: Ayv turns four in April and I can’t even believe I had a baby, let alone a four-year-old! [Laughs.] When you’re in your day-to-day routine, I think [time] goes by even a bit faster. To be able to slow down a bit and see Ido every day has totally changed the flow.
With so much going on in the world these days, how do you find daily solace?
EG: Well, I’m pregnant with our second…
IN: So we found solace by [gives a knowing wink].
EG: We went from wine-drinking to baby-making. Now, I wish I could be wine-drinking, but obviously I can’t yet, which makes Covid even longer. It’s something really exciting to look forward to, though. Covid makes it difficult to plan for the future—trips, adventures, etc.—now that we have a baby on the way, we know what the summer is going to look like. We actually bought a home here in Toronto, so we’re in the middle of renovating too. I’m originally from here and Ido’s never lived here, so we figured this would be a cool time to try it out.
IN: We’re also doing more outdoor activities: spending more time in nature, going for walks.
EG: We also can’t see anyone, so we’re like, “Let’s go look at a tree.” [Laughs.]
IN: That’s how you find solace!
Now tell me about the first time you met.
IN: Imagine this: I wasn’t even in the first part of our love story.
EG: I had just broken up with this guy and was feeling lonely in the city, so I went to stay with my parents, who were in Israel at the time. I’m half Israeli and grew up going there every summer, so it’s my happy place. I flew to Israel and was single and ready to mingle. Then, on my last night, I went to a birthday party and two girls at the bar who I didn’t know asked me my name and where I lived. Out of nowhere, one of them says that she has someone I need to meet, so she takes out her phone and messages Ido on Facebook. I didn’t really think anything of it. Then, he added me on Facebook as a friend, but didn’t write to me. So I wrote to him and suggested we hang out. He wrote me back, we started chit-chatting—he was trying to get to know me on Facebook.
IN: I was very busy and single-y and this came out of nowhere—I didn’t consider it to be a lead for something serious. But I figured if my friends put us in touch, they probably think there’s something there.
EG: He was dating so many women when I met him. He broke up with, like, five women. [Laughs.] Our first date was at Marshall Stack in the Lower East Side. I got to the bar early, ordered a glass of wine, then the door opens and this guy walks in and I was like, “Holy sh*t.”
IN: I got super awkward. I was taken aback because I wasn’t expecting a really gorgeous girl— it was a total surprise. By the end of the night, I was introducing her as my girlfriend to people at the bar.
EG: True story. We basically closed the bar down. We drank wine; I ate a BLT. The day after, we saw each other again for dinner and were inseparable for weeks. Then he had to go to Israel for work, and the day he came back, he proposed. We met November 18 and were engaged December 24.
“This one diamond just stood out to me. It looked vibrant and lively; there was something warm and happy about it.”
How did the proposal go down?
IN: I got back really early in the morning and went straight to her apartment. When she woke up, I told her that I was going to make her shakshuka for breakfast. So we went to Essex Market, where [Eden] used to do all of her food shopping. When we got there, I asked her what her favorite spot was, and she walked me over to the vegetable aisle. I was like, “Well, this is the perfect spot.” And she goes, “The perfect spot for what?” Then I got on my knee.
EG: I was in such a state of shock. I couldn’t even wrap my head around what was going on. It was such a New York moment—this elderly woman walked by and goes, “Oh my god, is he proposing?!” Obviously, I said yes. Then we ate tacos.
Who chose the ring?
EG: Ido did it all himself.
IN: She was not involved in anything—cushion, round, princess cut, she had no idea. Fortunately, her aesthetic and my aesthetic are very similar, so I’m almost always on point with the jewelry.
EG: He does a good job.
IN: When I got to Israel, I asked my mom for help—her good friend’s brother is Yoram Dvash, who’s chairman of the Israel Diamond Exchange. I started with the diamond first—I didn’t look at the ring—and when I saw it, I was like, “This has life.” We didn’t talk about all the Cs: cut, clarity etc.—I just loved it. This one diamond just stood out to me. It looked vibrant and lively; there was something warm and happy about it.
Why did you decide to choose a natural vs. lab-grown diamond?
IN: I knew it was ethically sourced, but I didn’t even know there was a possibility of getting lab-manufactured diamonds.
Then you chose the ring.
IN: Then I chose the ring. My mother has another friend, Tovi Farber, who’s an amazing jewelry designer, so we customized the ring together. They have this Byzantine matte gold that looks raw and hammered and beautiful.
EG: I get a lot of compliments on the ring. He did amazing.
What do you love most about it?
IN: I picked and chose between different characteristics I liked about other rings that she had. I definitely didn’t want a solitaire; I wanted something unique. And something flat because she cooks a lot. I didn’t want something that could get caught in things.
EG: I don’t take my ring off [when I cook], because I always feel like I’m going to misplace it, and it’s my biggest fear. I sleep in my rings.
IN: And you like to stack, too.
EG: Yeah. I also stacked another ring on top and I’m wearing my wedding band underneath, which is pretty chunky.
IN: This one that’s on top is one I got you after for the push gift.
EG: After Edo saw me push out our daughter, he was like, “I didn’t know what to do, so I got you a ring.” He was so shooketh.
IN: I had never seen a watermelon escape a body before. [Laughs.]
Ido, do you wear diamonds too?
EG: I took a necklace off his neck! It’s from a brand called Zahava—it has a calendar etched into it and our daughter’s birthday marked with a diamond, because she’s an Aries and that’s her birthstone.
IN: She stole it.
What is your favorite meal to cook together in lockdown?
EG: I’ve been cooking a lot from my cookbook, Eating Out Loud, which came out September 1. All the classics: shakshuka, hummus, tahini, roasted cauliflower and sweet potato, beets, labneh, carrots and harissa—we eat a lot of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern food. Aside from that, we’re going classic pasta like every other person in quarantine. Comfort food, bring it on!
IN: We had a puttanesca moment, then lemon pasta with pine nuts.
EG: Then we did aglio e olio, then bolognese, then cacio e pepe. So much pasta.
Eden, has your ring size changed at all during pregnancy?
EG: It’s still working. But I’m only halfway there—in the second half of pregnancy, sh*t gets crazy physically, so we’ll see.