Meet Chef Paul Russell of Great Wolf Lodge

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.

GWL_headshotPaul Russell

Great Wolf Lodge

Niagara Falls, ON

Check out their Feast On Profile here!

What’s your favourite seasonal ingredient?

One of my favourite things about fall is the abundance of root vegetables. They have so many different applications in the kitchen and my favourite one to cook with is parsnip. It adds a sweet, earthy and nutty note to any dish. It can be used in hearty stew, added to mashed potatoes, and pairs well with any protein choice.

What’s your drink of choice?

Over the years I have become a big fan of Canadian Whiskies. We are lucky here in Canada to have such a large selection of top shelf Whiskey made to incredibly high standards. Our whiskey is also gaining attention worldwide, even winning awards in places like Scotland where Scotch is king.

Most underrated ingredient?

I think a lot of people overlook off–cuts of meat, either because they don’t know how to cook with them or they don’t have the time that it can take to properly prepare them. Items such as pig’s tail or lamb’s neck have beautiful flavours when cooked right and often come at a much cheaper price than prime cuts of meat.

Favourite restaurant?

Living in Niagara Falls, we are very lucky with the caliber of the chefs and the variety of great restaurants to eat at. My favourite though is AG Fine Cuisine. The love for the ingredients, the farm to table approach, the seasonality of the menu, the knowledgeable wait staff and the sophisticated, but not stuffy atmosphere make it a must for those who enjoy the dining experience as much as the food itself.

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

At home I tend to cook a lot on the grill (although it is tougher in the winter). I love marinating pork or lamb chops for a few days and grilling them with vegetables fresh from the garden. Grilled vegetables are served with any meal I make during the summer months! During winter I tend to use my slow cooker a lot. There is nothing like coming home to the smell of the slow cooker, whether it be chicken coq au vin or a more home-style pot roast.

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

The best part of working with Ontario food and drink has got to be the sheer abundance that our local farmers and producers can offer to us. We are lucky to live in Ontario’s picnic basket and that the quality of what is produced here is some of the best in the world. I get excited when I know that asparagus is coming into season. When peaches start coming off the trees you can usually find me at a fruit stand every morning. We truly are spoiled for choice.

Why is Feast On important to you and your restaurant?

Feast On is important to me and my restaurant because it gives us a chance to showcase what Ontario has to offer. The quality of meat that our province produces is second to none. Our abundance of farm land for fruits and vegetables coupled with the care our farmers put into their crops makes for truly unrivaled produce. And our wine, oh our wine!! I am proud to stock a large selection of Ontario wines not only at my restaurant, but at home as well. We really do produce some of the best ingredients here in Ontario and it is important to me that we support local farmers and producers so they may continue to do what they do best.

Fill in the blank: “If I entered a competitive eating contest, I’d definitely win if the item was _______”.

Crackling. Chicken, pork, or duck. I just love the crunchy texture and the flavour is incredible. When I prepare duck at home I always save the crackling for myself! Shhhh!

Get to know other chefs like Paul by checking out the Kitchen Party Series!

 
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