Meet chef Elbert Wiersema of Table Rock House Restaurant | Ontario Culinary
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Meet chef Elbert Wiersema of Table Rock House Restaurant

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 Elbert Wiersema

Table Rock House Restaurant, Niagara Parks

Niagara, ON

What’s your favourite seasonal ingredient?

My favourite ingredient is short lived, delicious and simple – Fiddleheads.

What’s your drink of choice?

VQA Guwurztraminer. I love the bouquet and characteristic of this wine. Having a sweet tooth makes me lean towards a more sweeter wine. Also, the newly introduced Wayne Gretzky Canadian Cream Whisky is certainly giving Bailey’s a superior run for their money.

Most underrated ingredient?

There are a few coming to mind: veal cheeks, oxtail and hemp seeds. The latter simply for the delicate nutty flavour and added health benefits, like omega 3 and 6. Did you know the seeds contain about 30% fat? It’s great for pressing oil.

Favourite new feature in your restaurant’s rebrand that highlights Ontario?

Ontario spring lamb, paired with celery root compote and rosemary undertones. Norfolk County is close to us and raises some of the best lamb available here in the region.

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

It is the ever changing seasonality of our fruits and artisan products from our region. It gives our chefs a bounty of choices; it allows cooks to become less static and more engaged in what the local food has to offer.

Why is Feast On important to you and your restaurant?

Connecting producers and chefs will ultimately give our visitors a taste of place. The stories attached to each ingredient also gives a sense of place. Story telling with our food puts our guests right in the middle of Ontario’s terroir. I deeply believe that most of our visitors are looking for something more authentic – an experience they cannot get at home. In essence, that is what traveling is all about.

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

I would say ice wine, but that’s a none food item… hmmm? It has to be sweet for sure, so I will go with maple phyllo butter tarts and seabuckthorn gelato. I do not suffer from brain freeze.

What does your ‘Perfect Weekend’ in Niagara Falls look like?

Check into a cozy Niagara-on-the-Lake B&B during Summer time. Wake up early, grab a basket and go pick out my own peaches (preferably white peaches) at The Fruit Shack. Then I would visit Pingue Prosciutto for charcuterie; Willows Bakery for artisan breads, and The Pie Plate for pastry. Then while making my way down to the Niagara Parkway, I’d drop in at one of our wineries to pick up a bottle of vino. Lastly, I’d find a spot along the river and enjoy my collection of food (and kiss my partner, of course).