Everyone knows that the best parties always end in the kitchen. With our series, Kitchen Party, we’re sitting down with Feast On Chefs to get to know them, and the local foods that inspire them, a little better.
Urban Pantry Restaurant, 4 Toronto St., Uxbridge, Ontario
Check out their Feast On profile here!
What’s your favourite seasonal ingredient?
I am a fan of just about anything foraged, from puffball and slippery jack mushrooms to chokecherries and crabapples. Of all the foraged foods, ramps and fiddleheads are by far my two favourites. Every year I do tempura fiddleheads with burnt leek yogurt and maple chili sauce, which very quickly became a local favourite. The ramp yield was also exceptionally high last spring so I had the chance to play around with them. I made pickled ramps, ramp kimchi, ramp ash and tempura fried ramps….I’m still not sure which was my favourite!
What’s your drink of choice?
It’s a tossup between a good bottle of cider (West Avenue or Ernest take my top spots) or an expertly made old fashioned! Richmond Station’s walnut old fashioned is to die for!
Most underrated ingredient?
I feel like the most underrated ingredient is one that is used way too often. Let me explain: beets have become an ingredient not uncommon on menus anymore but always as “roasted beets”. Beets are one of the most versatile vegetables this earth has given us. You can prepare them pickled, shaved raw, steamed, fried into chips, made into a puree, dehydrated into a powder and of course the fan favourite, roasted.
Any Feast On restaurant…okay fine if I had to pick one I would have to say Café Belong. Chefs like Brad Long and his outlook on local food, is what I feel inspires the rest of us.
What’s the best part of working with Ontario food and drink?
Ontario is a beautiful place. You can grow almost anything and the farmers and chefs are incredibly passionate. Having the chance to cook with food that is grown or raised literally next door is spectacular. You get the question sometimes where people ask “can you even tell the difference?” YES……you can see the difference in the way the food looks, tastes, smells, feels. It’s truly magnificent.
Why is Feast On important to you and your restaurant?
Feast On is not just a certificate for us at Urban Pantry; it is a badge of honour showcasing our desire to use only the best ingredients available to us. We take a lot of pride showing our customers that we are a Feast On restaurant because we want them to be proud of what they are eating and to be proud of what Ontario has to offer. All these efforts support our local farmers & economy. In addition being a Feast On “Certified Chef” makes me feel that I am on the right path to being the chef I want to be.
Fill in the blank: “If I entered a competitive eating contest, I’d definitely win if the item was _______”.
Poutine… I’m sorry to sound like a cliché Canadian but if I could eat poutine every day I would. Especially if it had duck confit and truffle aioli on top!
What does your ‘Perfect Weekend’ in Uxbridge look like?
Cuddled up on the couch with my fiancé, my three cats, and maybe a nice cheese board to top it off!