Name and job title: Jess Stone, Chef
Home city: Current — St. Catharines; Grew up — Windsor, Ont.
I started my career working in restaurants in Windsor before moving to Toronto to attend culinary school at George Brown. During school, I was first cook at the Grand Hotel, then moved on to be sous chef and eventually chef at Beer Bistro. I was able to travel around Europe, getting a tremendous amount of food knowledge and inspiration, especially from Italy.
I eventually moved out West for a few years and had the pleasure of working for Connie DeSousa and John Jackson as their Sous Chef at Charcut Roast House and, later, chef at Chix Egg Shop. While in Calgary, I was lucky enough to win the Food Network Canada TV show Fire Masters.
I returned to Ontario to be closer to my family with plans to live in Toronto with my girlfriend, but the pandemic happened and we landed in St. Catharines in our half-finished house. I had a lot of downtime, like many other chefs, so I started to renovate and finish the house. I am currently the chef at Triple D’s Diner and have a personal venture starting this spring. Stay tuned.
Favourite meal out — where are you going and what are you having?
I would say dinner, although I, unfortunately, haven’t had the chance to go to all of the restaurants I want to due to the pandemic. I was able to get takeout from Oast House and Ma Chinese Cuisine that was amazing! I am looking forward to eating at Ravine Estate Vineyard, Dispatch and Pharmacii.
Takeout that got you through the pandemic?
Pizza. Definitely Maestros Pizzeria and Oast House beer!
What’s been your favourite discovery about Niagara since moving here?
All of the amazing local shops! I love walking over to Bushel & Peck — they carry the best local ingredients from the Niagara region.
Oast House Brewers is another amazing find. Their beer is wonderful, easy drinking and fun.
Wandering Spirits Coffee is by far my fave coffee to pick up when my partner and I are headed out for a nice long walk. I also found a bunch of new biking trails in Niagara-on-the-Lake last summer, which was a lot of fun and beautiful.
When you need an afternoon pick-me-up, where do you go?
When I need a pick-me-up I do a workout out, then I eat waffles — honestly! I fell in love with the waffles at Triple D’s. It’s one of the reasons why I became the chef there.
Where do you go for creative inspiration?
I try to find local craft breweries. Not always to drink, but to come up with recipes. I really like cooking with beer. I discovered Blackburn Brew House this past summer and have been baking with their porter and braising pork shoulders with their amber ale. My partner, Heather, always laughs and says, “You have one sip of a beer and write a whole menu.” Cooking with beer and pairing it with food is underestimated but it’s my passion.
You’re barbecuing tonight. Where do you shop for your ingredients?
Bushel & Peck, St. Catharines Farmers Market, The Meat Shoppe butcher shop in Niagara Falls.
What’s an essential stop when your family visits from out of town?
Well, my family and I are known to have a bit of a sweet tooth, so we always try to get our hands on Beechwood Doughnuts!
Author: Tiffany Mayer
Follow her on Instagram: @eatingniagara