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Meet Chef JW Foster of Library Bar, Fairmont Royal York

Everyone knows that the best parties always end in the kitchen. With the Kitchen Party Series, we’re sitting down with Feast On Chefs to get to know them, and the local foods that inspire them, a little better.

Chef JW Foster

Library Bar, Fairmont Royal York

Toronto, Ontario

Checkout their Feast On profile here!

What’s your favorite seasonal ingredient?

My favourite seasonal ingredient would be ramps in springtime. They are so versatile that you can use them with many different cooking styles and presentations. They are also a celebration that spring has arrived, and a reminder of all the amazing ingredients that will soon follow.

What’s your drink of choice?

Anything with Mezcal. I love the different varieties and intensity of smoke you can get – it brings such depth of flavour and can inspire creativity in cocktails.

Most underrated ingredient?

The elusive puffball mushroom. My father introduced me to puffballs at a young age and I have always looked forward to when the season is here. I actually saw them at the farmer’s market in Sorauren Park a few weeks back and noticed how people are so curious when looking at them, but so afraid to try them or work with them. I have converted many after preparing puffballs – it is great to see them become believers!

Favorite restaurant?

I have just recently come back to Toronto after 11 years away, so I am still exploring and deciding on new favourites.

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

Throughout my career I have always been a huge supporter of what Ontario farmers and producers grow and make here. I love the passion that our farmers and producers have to take all of these amazing things and proudly showcase them to everyone in Ontario and around the world. After working in different parts of North America, as well as internationally, I have a deep appreciation for our unique seasons and all the gems that are available for short periods each year.

Why is Feast On important to you and your restaurant?

My guiding philosophy has always been to provide an authentically local food experience, as I think food is a powerful way for us to connect to where we live. Feast On is an important way for us to build and foster connections to the amazing people that grow and supply ingredients for us. In turn, we get to showcase these ingredients; we use them to express our passion and creative soul in each plate we offer.

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

Steak tartare.

What does your ‘perfect weekend’ in Toronto look like?

Getting an early start at one of the amazing farmer’s markets in the city, where I get chat and connect with the farmers and producers. After a lazy brunch in a local neighbourhood restaurant, I’d head to a used bookstore to forage for a cool, old cookbook where I can connect with recipes from the past. If the sun is shining, a long walk with the dog in High Park, or a trip to the AGO, or ROM, to check out the latest exhibition (if the weather is not so cooperative).