Erik Peacock, Niagara-on-the-Lake
A passionate professional, Erik Peacock is Chef and proprietor of longtime esteemed restaurant Wellington Court in St. Catharines, and Executive Chef at The Coach House Cafe at Henry of Pelham Family Estate Winery. His cuisine strikes a perfect balance through combining wholesome, local ingredients and an innovative, stylized approach, earning his kitchens a fiercely loyal following.
Opened originally by his mother as a cafe, Erik took the reigns at Wellington Court more than 17 years ago. Born and raised in St. Catharines, Erik is a firm believer in sustaining a local food economy and has deep-rooted relationships with local farmers, growers and wineries. Erik is a vital part of Southern Ontario's culinary scene, teaching courses at Niagara College and participating in many culinary and community events.
Erik and wife Dale live in St. Catharines with their two kids, in a local historic treasure: an awarded mid-century modern home completed in 1960, drafted by Saul Herzog with James Secord as architect.
Questions and Answers
Your fave kitchen utensil/gadget?
My favorite gadget at the moment is a hand held mandoline I bought at the grocery store. I use it go make quick vegetable salads but also to break down cauliflower or celeriac to make a puree instead of a potato dish.
What would we typically find in your fridge?
Apples, avocados and cucumbers are always a staple. I often make a late night salad of the three with just some olive oil, salt and fresh lime.
Your signature dish?
At home I have two signature dishes: a breakfast rice dish with avocado, poached eggs, Hoisin sauce and tomatoes. For dinner it would be a roasted chicken with garlic and roasted vegetables, with a salad of Boston lettuce (a simple dinner.) In fact I would say that one of my other regular specialties is on Sundays, I like to pick a bottle of wine and work a dinner around it.
What were your must-have kitchen layout requirements?
When designing our kitchen at home, my wife Dale and I have always insisted on no upper cabinetry. It just gives us more work space and room to breathe when entertaining.
What was your biggest kitchen splurge?
My biggest kitchen splurge was my wolf range. I love it so much that I would have the logo tattooed on my back. (Not really.)
Where did you get your love for cooking?
My love for cooking came from my mother who always put so much effort into our family meals and from my grandmother who was my greatest critic and never spared my feelings. Anyone who knows me understands I can't stay out of the kitchen at a party. I still look forward to doing this every day.
Your guilty food pleasure?
I have many guilty food pleasures but I really need to stay away from hot dogs at the Canadian Tire Store! My Family (apart from me) is quite fit so only on occasion we have potato chips and once in a while there are Lindt milk chocolate bars around, but I can never find them. They just appear miraculously after dinner and it drives me insane!
I am not a huge fan of sauteed egg whites...the texture just isn't for me. My wife makes pavlova though and I love love love it.
Fave cookbook authors?
Cookbook authors...that's a tough one. I have a sh*tload of cookbooks but I don't really read, although I will say that when I do, I find Thomas Keller to speak to me the most. I feel as though I can hear him describe a given task in his clear, easy style, and I've found that very helpful. The same holds true for an old friend Michael Olson (Anna's hubby). He has written a couple of books and his writing style speaks to me. He is also an incredible story teller.
Complete this sentence: People would be surprised to find out...
That I'm grumpy for the first few hours of a Sunday at home, when I realize that I am very far from being the boss!