A graduate from a two year Culinary Arts program from St Clair College in Windsor, Ontario, Jeremy McKinnon is the new Executive Chef at The Sheraton Hotel Newfoundland, St. John’s. During our interview I found that he’s got more than enough experience and enthusiasm for all the possibilities ahead!
At the top of his ‘to-do’ list when he came to The Sheraton Hotel, was a new menu for Bivver. “We are featuring a share plate where you can ‘pair it’ – a food item with a beverage that complements it,” Jeremy explains. “Tapas offerings are delicious appetizers, or, let’s say, festive fare. For example, one such a treat at the Bivver bar might be roasted Brussel sprouts with scrunchions tossed in a balsamic vinaigrette, and accompanied by a Pinot Noir. Or, it might be smoked salmon rillettes with herb crème fraiche and grilled sour dough that’s been paired with a lightly oaked chardonnay.
”At The Sheraton, Jeremy’s food and beverage responsibilities include Bivver (the ever-popular lounge), Oppidan, (fine-dining restaurant) as well as all banquet and catering events and in room services
Both Oppidan, a wonderfully relaxing restaurant with impeccable service, and the banquet and catering menus were also in line for some exciting new updates as Jeremy launched into the Executive Chef’s position. He says he is especially interested in presenting new, different and delicious foods to the Hotel’s travelling guests and it’s very important local guests. “My goal is to tackle the myth that ‘hotels do not have good food’. Here at The Sheraton, we are building destination restaurants.
”Bivver and Oppidan are in the process of becoming Ocean Wise certified. Ocean Wise is a program that started at The Vancouver Aquarium and is dedicated to bringing awareness to ocean conservation, and in part to sustainable seafood choices … so that healthy fish stocks are part of our world for years to come. “At the end of the day, we have a choice as consumers, where and how we spend our money. It’s our responsibility as Chef’s to help educate our guests I making better choices. As consumers we need to make better choices to protect and help replenish our oceans.”
What are your signature products / services?
Our signature product is, of course, food… food prepared and served with care and attention. I became a Chef because of my passion for food. The Sheraton Hotel Newfoundland is focusing on local items that are available on a sustained basis, sourcing as much locally as we can and serving the best of the seasons.
What is the secret to your success?
As a young boy I was impressed by my grandparents who were so keen to preserve, can and pickle the different food items available each season … my grandpa even had his own smoke house!
What inspires you to be the best in your field?
I’m inspired to see my cooks and sous chefs succeed. In due course, when they step away from my kitchen and are working for another Chef elsewhere I want it to be said, “Wow! They’ve been well-trained!” I love to teach but at the very same time, I’m learning each and everyday too…
What brands do you carry?
Of course we have literally thousands of brands in our kitchen … different spices, different flours, meats … and we are always excited to experience new products.
What are people surprised to know?
That I’ve moved here from Whistler, British Columbia; and I drove the entire way, all 7000+ km’s…
What is your guilty pleasure?
Oh – for me it’s dark chocolate. I always have three or four kinds in the house … I pair them with different wines!
Contributions to the community
I enjoy being out there in the community meeting people. I’m excited to be here and I enjoy meeting the local chefs. I think that together we can do a good job of promoting Newfoundland.
Jeremy McKinnon, Executive Chef, The Sheraton Hotel Newfoundland. A passion for food … good food and good company.
Sheraton Hotel Newfoundland
Cavendish Square, St. John’s.