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.
Chef Michael Price
LIV at White Oaks Resort
Niagara-on-the-Lake, ONCheck out their profile here!
What’s your favourite seasonal ingredient?
I would definitely say that my favorite seasonal ingredient is fresh lovage leaves, and seeds. I have grown my own lovage for years and it offers such a fragrant taste and aroma to any dish that it is used in.
Towards the end of the season, I harvest the seeds and make lovage sea salt. One of my all time favorite dishes to use lovage in is fresh Lake Erie Pickerel. I season it with lovage salt, serve it with a nice garden tomato and lovage leaf salad. The flavors and aromas are perfect on a warm summers night.
What’s your drink of choice?
Currently my drink of choice is kombucha. The whole process of making kombucha from start to finish is an incredible transformation of yeasts and bacteria to provide a healthy and versatile drink. Not only does it provide numerous health benefits, but it’s incredibly versatile with fresh fruits and making cocktails.
Most under-rated ingredient?
In my opinion, the most underrated ingredient is local honey. As a beekeeper, you see what goes into the honey making process — from the stewardship of the bees, to providing the wild flowers and plants that the bees nurture.
I think that most people just use honey as a sweetener and pick a jar at the grocery store and do not realize that it came from China or India. Local honey describes the native plants and nuances of the area that is was made in. One of many favorite things to do is educate people on honey and teach them on the vast differences between local raw craft honey opposed to commercial pasteurized honey.
This is hard because there are so many restaurants to choose from and many extremely talented chefs in Ontario! My all time favorite restaurant is Zest in Fonthill. When ever Heidi and I go there, we are greeted with a friendly smile from Chef Anthony and the food in this quaint neighborhood spot is always inspiring and well thought out. From the local features on the red door to the printed menu, you can tell that Anthony is a master at his craft and that he enjoys what he does.
Off-duty, what are you most likely to be cooking at home?
That is a tough one to answer too. On my days off, I like cooking to be a wholesome treat for my family, and a time where I can cook in an old fashioned way. Typically meals that I cook at home are made over an open fire in our fire pit or in the wood burning oven. I always try to incorporate fresh eggs from our hens, and a bit of pork belly somewhere. One of my family’s favorite meals is tandoori chicken cooked over the fire with homemade naan.
What’s the best part of working with Ontario food and drink?
I would have to say the best part is that you know where your food came from. When you know farmers and producers, you understand and come to appreciate the hard work and labor of love that provides our food and drink.
In my opinion, one of the best things you can do is visit a farm, winery, brewery, or distillery and have a tour. You see first hand the processes and care that goes into the food that we eat. I feel that this is becoming more important due to factory, and mono-culture farming. What it truly means to farm and work the land is becoming a distant memory. When you can speak to a farmer or chef who supports local agriculture, you are in turn promoting local agriculture and hopefully keeping is sustainable for this and future generations.
Why is Feast On important to you and your restaurant?
Basically what I said above! It makes you want to strive to accomplish more. It brings you in touch with local producers. It makes you think locally as a group and provides a network where you are introduced to producers that you might not have known about.
Fill in the blank: “If I entered a competitive eating contest, I’d definitely win if the item was _______”.
Chocolate chip cookies. If I said that I was addicted to one food, that would be it. Next to those made by my daughter Emily, the best locally baked chocolate cookies are from Our Mothers Cookies in St. Catharines.