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One-on-One with Chef Kyle Panton

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Kyle Panton’s love for cooking started at an early age, watching his mom preparing family meals. Originally from Belfast, PEI, Kyle graduated from the Culinary Institute of Canada before starting an apprenticeship in Toronto under David Lee at Nota Bene.

Today he is the winner of several awards including PEI Burger Love Local Food campaign, PEI Flavours Local Food at the Savour Food and Wine Show, and the International Seafood Chowder championship. Kyle is home again and he finds his inspiration gardening, hunting, and visiting local farmers to source the most natural and flavourful ingredients while showcasing the diversity of PEI.

Kyle will be supporting Food Day Canada with a fully Canadian menu. Get to know him in this interview with MENU before you head to Sims Corner Steakhouse & Oyster Bar for a taste of PEI.

Do you have a lucky charm in the kitchen?

Not really…but I am known for wearing camo pattern aprons.

What’s the last thing you burned?

The bottom out of a pot at a cooking demo in front of 500 people.

Your favoUrite spice?

We have our own Sims Steak Spice. We retail sell it and I use it on everything.

What makes you “kitchen angry”?

When people make mistakes and try to hide them instead of dealing with them.

Latest flavour combination you discovered?

Hickory and sweet black garlic.

What’s your most extravagant purchase?

At the restaurant, a new grill. In my home life, we just bought a baby lamb.

FavoUrite song in the kitchen?

I’m a little old school when it comes to this; I don’t like music playing when I’m in the kitchen.

What’s your comfort food?

My comfort food is a beautifully made pepperoni and cheese pizza.

What’s your most essential tool?

I always say my hands are by best tool, but I do always have a pocket knife with me that I have use for so many jobs.

If you could change anything in the food industry, what would it be?

I would like to try and change the focus on work-life balance to insure quality life for the industry.

FavoUrite smell in the kitchen?

Toss-up between fresh biscuits coming out of the oven or a rib-eye just off the grill.

What’s your bad habit?

I try not to have any.

What do you admire in other chefs?

Being able to mentor their team and develop young, talented chefs.

What or who is your greatest inspiration?

Now that I’m older, my family is my inspiration. I try and make them all proud of what I do.

The dish you are the most proud of?

I have to say seafood chowder as I have won three international titles and two PEI titles.

What’s your end of the world menu?

I would have to go with a bone-in rib-eye steak with a Sims mac and cheese.

Your favourite advice or quote?

I have three that I say every day: Practice makes permitted; don’t make your jam before you pick your fruit; and fire it up, ready to go.

What is the one ingredient that you would never buy if it is not produced locally?

Maple syrup and lobster.

What is your favourite local drink?

Right now, Colliding Tides – a gin twist drink produced by the PEI Brewing Co.

 What is Canadian food to you?

Canadian food is food produced/harvested and caught locally. It’s most possible natural way – nothing wrong putting a twist on it!

What makes you proud of the Canadian terroir?

The ability to produce all these beautiful foods and beautiful culture.

Why do you participate in Food Day Canada?

Love showcasing Canadian food and especially PEI food.