As featured in Kingston Heritage and Frontenac Gazette:
Chef Ian Arthur is a renaissance man: a self-taught chef, educated in International Development Studies, with interests in politics, activism and promoter of all things local, especially food.
He is Executive Chef at the beloved Chez Piggy restaurant, located at 68R Princess Street, Downtown Kingston. Simple ingredients can make any dish take on a new life. A quick study, Chef Arthur has a way of identifying tastes and creating a menu that is exactly what you the customer desire. This kind of palette requires a lot of experience, although it appears he is a natural.
Ian began his career as the “salad boy” at Chez Piggy, and in 2008 returned to help run the kitchen as Sous Chef then four years ago took over as Executive Chef.
Introduced to the love of food by his mother, Janette Haase author of From the Seed to Table, a local how-to book for aspiring gardeners. Ian learned the difference fresh ingredients could make when cooking. “Fresh elements, simply prepared to showcase their natural flavors, are the cornerstone of Ian’s food philosophy,” states his website. His degree in International Development fueled his already burning desire to understand people, culture and at times the inequity that exists.
What is local? It can mean different things to many people. The farm to table, farm to road movement is alive in Kingston. People are considerate of where food comes from, and Chef Ian Arthur wants to help further this movement by teaching us how to source it, and eat well.
“I am excited about the value of agriculture and the ripple effects it has,” said Chef Ian. “Buying local means that you are feeding that back to farmers and in turn fuelling the local economy. I buy into this philosophy, and I want everyone too.”
“I get out to meet the Farmer and see where things are grown and produced. Recently, I was visiting Lemoine Point Farm, where Jessie Archibald gave me a sample of his homemade prosciutto. It was the best prosciutto I’ve ever experienced before, better than anywhere else in the world.”
A passionate chef. He has learned this by traveling in search of culinary experiences. “My favorite food in the world is Spanish food. It’s about tying three main flavours together, to get high-quality food. Dishes such as aglio e olio, which is pasta with garlic, olive oil and blistered PADRÓN peppers. French food is about taking a million things and still making something amazing, but not as simply.”
“I get bored really easy, which is why I keep busy. As the Chef, it’s all day every day, but it’s fun! When I do have time, I like reading. I read lots of different things. I just read, Dan Barber’s Third Plate and enjoyed his perspective, he asks the right questions and challenges you to really think about food, the book is really a movement.”
Ian knows the importance of absorbing this knowledge and introducing it into his kitchen. “Our team works together; they are very supportive of my ideas, even when they aren’t always convinced, they give it a try.”
Recently, Chez Piggy introduced Sunday roast dinners from now until March 29. Ian believes that Sunday is made for sharing with friends and family so he wanted to start a new tradition. For $20 enjoy the experience of a family style roast, soup or salad, and finish up with a slice of homemade pie. Best part, you can avoid the clean up at home.
Chef Ian shares his convictions readily through his website Ianarthur.ca where he provides recipes, opinions and principles of good food, even a selection of cookbooks that he actively uses or considered to be his “textbooks” for teaching him.
He is involved in community. He is one of a group of chefs who annually participates in Guilty Pleasures in support of food security non-profit, Loving Spoonful. Last week, each Chef prepared a version of a meal that included a component of the Chef before them. The concept of the event being what to do with leftovers and the ease of re-using food in new ways to create something equally as exciting—fresh, not wasteful.
He is a busy guy. In the summer, he supports the Chef demo’s in Downtown Kingston Springer Market Square in addition to all of the charity support Chez Piggy restaurant continues throughout the year.
After their holidays, Chez Piggy delayed re-opening due to some flooding. They have now returned and are offering up winter wine pairings. This special menu features three courses with wine for $40 per person.
Chez Piggy is open Monday to Friday: Lunch 11:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m./Dinner 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Saturdays: 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Sundays 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.
For more information about Chef Ian Arthur visit Ianarthur.ca. Follow this tuned in Chef on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.
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