RESTAURATEUR, CHEF, ORANGEVILLE BOOSTER
From line-ups at his pop-up patty cart in 2003, to line-ups at his Carib-fusion restaurant today, Phil’s brought some extra spice to downtown Orangeville, but he says he’s just one of many people who’ve revitalized it into one of the most creative and active scenes anywhere.
How’d being a chef happen?
I was one of the youngest guys in a large family, so at any type of event, I would always be stuck in the kitchen with the aunts while the older guys did their thing. It just kind of blossomed from there.
When I moved up here in high school, there was nowhere to get the food I was accustomed to. A friend of mine’s dad started a beef patty cart, and we slowly took it over from him, and when people started asking to order 20 pieces of chicken plus a ton of rice and veggies, we went… sure! From a catering company, we found our first place on Mill Street, and it was really well-received. The fact that we’re home-grown guys really helped.
Do you try to incorporate local produce, local flavours?
We pay homage to the traditional techniques and flavours, but we incorporate them with garden fresh salads, local strawberries. Our potato-chickpea curry uses Reid’s potatoes from around the corner. We have jerk chicken, but we also have jerk chicken lasagna.
What do you do for fun?
I love driving those one lane roads, picking up farm fresh eggs, driving up to Downey’s Farm and stopping for some sangria, someone’s doing honey, another guy’s doing maple syrup.
Our slogan is “Where Ontario gets real.”
Mine’s “Where the Carib meets the country.” My favourite thing is that the people here appreciate the clash of cultures. You come in, you get this nice fresh island flavour, there’s music in the background… people sometimes tell us they forget where they are. They’re like, whoa, am I on vacation?