Culinary Royalty in Prince Edward County: Famous Chefs

Culinary Royalty in Prince Edward County: Famous Chefs
Culinary Royalty in Prince Edward County: Famous Chefs

Prince Edward County, with its lush landscapes and flourishing local produce, has become a haven for food enthusiasts. In recent years, the region has seen a surge in the culinary scene, thanks in no small part to the talented chefs who have chosen to make it their home.

Let’s delve into the lives and accomplishments of some of the famous chefs who have made their mark on Prince Edward County, exploring their backgrounds, their culinary contributions, and where you can savour their delectable creations.

Jamie Kennedy: A Pioneer of Farm-to-Table Cuisine

Background: Former owner and exec chef at Scaramouche, Jamie Kennedy at the Gardiner, and Gilead Café and Wine Bar in Toronto.

Prince Edward County Connection: Following the closure of Gilead Café and Wine Bar on March 31, 2015, Jamie Kennedy redirected his attention to Prince Edward County. He has since taken up residence on his farm in the area (which he bought in 2001), embarking on a journey to further delve into terroir-based gastronomy from this new home base.

Current Position: He is the owner of a catering company called Jamie Kennedy Kitchens. Jamie also operates a french fry stand (J.K. Fries) at the Picton Town Hall Farmer’s Market, Wellington Community Market, and at events in Toronto. The potatoes used for his french fries are locally grown at Jamie’s farm.

Cuisine: Jamie Kennedy’s cuisine emphasizes the use of fresh, locally sourced ingredients, celebrating the County’s agricultural heritage. His menu features a range of dishes that highlight the region’s seasonal produce and artisanal products.

Albert Ponzo: Elevating Culinary Experiences

Background: Former executive chef at Toronto’s iconic Le Sélect Bistro.

Prince Edward County Connection: After almost a decade as the ched at Toronto’s Le Sélect Bistro, Albert was drawn to the desire to embrace farm-to-table dining in Prince Edward County. In 2017, Albert, his wife Marlise, and their three children moved from the city to 65 acres of fields, forest, and marshland near Ameliasburgh in the County.

Current Position: Albert is now the executive chef at the Royal Hotel on Picton Main Street.

Cuisine: Albert possesses more than twenty years of culinary expertise and a deep understanding of sustainable farming practices, particularly emphasizing the concept of nose-to-tail dining. Driven by a profound connection to nature and a commitment to ethical sourcing, Albert is dedicated to crafting farm-driven cuisine using the freshest, locally sourced ingredients during their peak season.

Norm Hardie: A Master of Wine and Wood-Fired Cuisine

Background: During his early twenties, Norm achieved his sommelier certification through the renowned wine program at the University of Dijon in Burgundy. He then applied his expertise as a sommelier at Four Seasons Hotels for seven years.

Prince Edward County Connection: In 2003, Norm put his roots down in Prince Edward County by planting 12,000 Pinot Noir vines, and in 2004, he planted an additional 3,000 Chardonnay and 2,000 Pinot Gris vines. Norm Hardie’s eponymous winery, “Norman Hardie Winery and Vineyard,” is now a beloved destination for wine enthusiasts in the County. 

Current Position: Owner of Norman Hardie Winery.

Cuisine: The winery’s wood-fired cuisine complements Norm Hardie’s wines beautifully. Diners can enjoy a range of dishes, including Neapolitan-style pizzas, all prepared in the wood-fired oven, which imparts a unique and flavorful touch to each creation.

Amanda Ray: Canadian Culinary Cuisine Expert

Background: Former chef de cuisine at Biff’s Bistro in Toronto and chef de cuisine of Le Mount Stephen Hotel & Events in downtown Montreal.

Prince Edward County Connection: After a several-year stint in Montreal, Amanda made the move and became the executive chef at The Drake Devonshire in March 2021. Chef Ray says she loves living in the County, being close to the water, surrounded by art and culture, building relationships with farmers, and working for a company with values that align with her own.

Current Position: Executive chef at the Drake Devonshire in Wellington, Ontario. She takes on all aspects of food service, making her responsible for six menus – the dining room, room service, food truck, and catered events – and a kitchen brigade of around 20.

Cuisine: Amanda put a unique twist on some of The Drake Devonshire’s comfort menu.

Stuart Cameron: Invested in International Experiences

Background: Former executive chef at Icon Legacy Hospitality (Byblos, Patria, Mira).

Prince Edward County Connection: In September 2020, Cameron made the move to Prince Edward County and bought a home in Bloomfield. He later opened up Bocado, an up-and-coming restaurant on Picton Main Street.

Current Position: Chef and owner of Bocado restaurant, located at 252 Main Street in Picton. They are serving seasonal and Spanish-inspired food, cocktails, and regional wines.

Cuisine: Cameron’s menus showcase his global culinary background, where he skillfully highlights the finest ingredients sourced from various corners of the world, ensuring they take centre stage in every dish.

These famous chefs in Prince Edward County have not only elevated the region’s culinary offerings but have also championed the use of local ingredients and sustainable practices. Their restaurants provide a delightful opportunity to savour the flavours of Prince Edward County while enjoying the breathtaking scenery that surrounds them. Whether you’re a dedicated foodie or simply looking for a memorable dining experience, these chefs and their establishments are sure to leave a lasting impression on your palate and your heart.

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