Kitchen Party: Jay Jackson & Frank Aquino

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.  This time around, it’s two for the price of one! 

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Screen Shot 2016-03-30 at 12.44.26 PM Jay Jackson

Executive Chef, Windows by Jamie Kennedy

 

Screen Shot 2016-03-30 at 12.50.33 PMFrank Aquino

Sous Chef, Windows by Jamie Kennedy

Check out their Feast ON Profile here!

What’s your favourite seasonal ingredient? 

FA: Heirloom tomatoes.  JJ: Being a part owner of a high-end veg farm in NOTL I really don’t think I can say I have one favorite seasonal ingredient, rather one favorite season of ingredients and that would be mid-summer when the gardens are in full swing and the day’s harvest is bountiful and full of colour. With things being picked in the morning and dropped off just a few hours before dinner service, the colours make the dishes pop off the plates and that fresh out of the ground flavor can’t be beat.

What’s your drink of choice? 

FA: A cold, cold Steamwhistle!

Most underrated ingredient? 

JJ: I think brussels sprouts are one of the most underrated ingredients.  There are so many different ways they can be done; one of my favourites is to halve them and sauté with some house cured double smoked bacon, a little butter, a touch of roasted garlic, sea salt and fresh ground black pepper, and finished on the plate with a nice shaved parmigiano-reggiano.

Off-duty, what are you most likely to be cooking at home? 

FA: I like to cook family-style meals. Any sort of roast in a nice heavy pan with vegetables and potatoes. Those hearty meals that leave leftovers for lunch the next day. And when the season is right, tomatoes from my garden make perfect toasted tomato sandwiches in the morning! 

What’s the best part of working with Ontario food and drink?

FA: It’s just a better product. The flavour and quality of the seasonal ingredients we have around the Niagara region really can’t be beat.  JJ: The best part of working with local Ontario product is being able to tell its story.  From where it came from, the people that had a hand in raising or growing it, to how we prepared it. A quick call to Nathan at Cumbrae Farms and I can tell you about the beef we are using that day or to my father, owner-operator of Just Veggin in NOTL to find out which day the vegetables I’m serving were planted and any details right up to harvest. It’s great being able to speak to that and it goes a long way with the guests

What are you most looking forward to doing in 2016? 

JJ: Getting out riding the back roads on my Harley and stopping at the farmgate stands to see all the new and fresh things the local farms have to offer this season.

If I entered a competitive eating contest, I’d definitely win if the item was…. 

JJ: Foie gras…or maybe hot dogs…or maybe chocolate ice cream. FA: Pasta! 

Favourite road trip in Ontario?

JJ: Definitely Port Dover on Friday the 13th for the bike rally and some delicious local perch.  FA: The Kawartha Lakes area. (Ed. note – Find our Perfect Weekend for the region here.) 
 What we’re dying to try?    …how about the entire menu? From pan-fried Lake Erie yellow perch to short rib poutine served atop Jamie Kennedy’s famous frites and Silversmith Black Lager braised lamb shank, Windows definitely has the “wow” factor. 
 
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