Everyone knows that the best parties always end up in the kitchen. Meet Duff Lampard, the Executive Chef of the Metro Toronto Convention Centre in Toronto.
METRO TORONTO CONVENTION CENTRE
What’s your favorite seasonal ingredient?
For me, it’s more about the great selections we have in Ontario and layering ingredients into complete seasonal menus, as opposed to nominating one ingredient as the star performer.
What in your opinion is the most underrated ingredient?
It might sound a bit abstract but time. During the pandemic, I think many individuals started looking for something to do with their day during the shutdown and with that came a sense of getting back to the basics in the kitchen. Capturing wild yeasts in a sourdough starter from scratch, slow braising, pickling vegetables, curing and smoking meats and generally taking some time to slow down. Creating and enjoying dining at home with family. Hopefully everyone will continue to embrace the importance of honest ingredients and support local food initiatives as we move forward into 2022.
Do you have a favorite food & beverage pairing?
I think this is really about knowing your audience and creating a pairing that works for the time of year and who you are enjoying it with. I always enjoy exploring the local specialties when travelling and many times, I try to recreate these experiences with friends. I still really enjoy a simple Ontario charcuterie / cheese & wine night, usually due to the fact that it’s my wife Jenn’s go-to and means I’m off the hook in the kitchen for the night.
What do you enjoy doing outside of your chef life?
I love to spend time up at our cottage and really enjoy the outdoors, including hunting and fishing when I get a chance. I actually do a lot of cooking at home whenever possible. I seem to always gravitate back to the kitchen somehow.
What is your favorite dish to cook at home?
It would be hard to narrow down. It depends on the season and who we are entertaining. Lately- one pot braises if it is just the four of us. Jenn likes these as well from a mess standpoint.
What to you is the best part of working with Ontario food and drink?
Interacting with the producers, farmers, vineyards and learning about their collective stories and passions for their products. I really enjoy the feel of getting out into the fields and the overall accessibility to the individuals behind the scenes. Also, the quality and freshness of what is available.
Why is Feast On® important to you?
I think it brings like-minded people together, creates support and a voice for local products and communities. It educates and stimulates growth in our hospitality sector and reminds us how cool it is to be involved in such a dynamic and evolving industry.
What does your ‘Perfect Weekend’ in Toronto look like?
Actually, at this point it would be at work on a Saturday night, with two gala events happening at the same time on the tail winds of a busy F&B week at the Centre. Working with my team, popping in and out of plate up for a couple of thousand people and putting the finishing details on the evening.
The next morning, walking our two Leonbergers Skye & Bodhi with Jenn down on the harbourfront where we live, then packing everyone up and driving up north to our cottage. From there, perhaps take out the motorcycles, mountain bikes, kayaks or our boat on Georgian Bay to see if we could catch dinner. Afterwards, most likely throwing a couple of steaks on the grill and cracking a good bottle of Lambrusco.