As of December 22nd, 2014 Darby Piquette became the new Chef de Cuisine at One Restaurant. Having been there from opening day, in many different roles, he was the perfect candidate for the job. Congrats Darby on everything you have accomplished,
Head to One Restaurant to check out his first menu, which launched on January 8th, 2015.
Name: Darby Joel Piquette
Birthdate: September 1, 1989
Hometown: Aurora, Ont
Culinary School Attended: George Brown–but I did not graduate. Learning hands on at a restaurant is much better than spending money to go to school to learn less.
Maunders Food Shop in Aurora. It was a small catering company, butcher shop, fish monger, and prepared food counter. I started there when I was 14 years old as a dishwasher working full time, washing dishes after school every day, and open to close on weekends. My Chef, Rob Lizotte, told me the faster I washed dishes, the sooner he would teach me how to cook. Within a year I was no longer a dishwasher, I was a prep cook. As I got older I took on much more responsibilities at the shop, learning as much as I could before going to school.
Year You Began at One: Year 1
When did you know you wanted to work in the food industry?
When I was a little boy, I would obsess over the Food Network. When I would get home from school, I would watch that channel all afternoon, and attempt to make dinner with mom when she got home from work.
What was your first meeting with Mark like?
Nerve wracking. I was only 18 years old when I met Chef. I knew a lot about him, and my roommate had gotten me an interview at the restaurant. I did my stage from open to close, and asked first thing the next morning if I could come work there again. By the end of the day I was a full time employee. I worked every station around the kitchen, full time, for long periods of time, learning as much as I could. And now I am the Chef de Cuisine.
What are some of the more notable lessons you’ve learned working with Mark McEwan?
This afternoon he taught me a very important lesson. I am stressing out over the office, and the financial side of the restaurant now, as it’s my first time doing all this paperwork. Chef Mark told me “None of this really matters, the food cost, the labour, the office work. The most important thing in a restaurant is making sure that every single plate that leaves the kitchen is as close to perfection as we can possibly make it. Without clean plates and hot, tasty food, there is no satisfaction. And without satisfied guests, where would we be?”
What’s your favourite dish on your newly launched menu at One?
My venison dish … cocoa rubbed venison short loin, with seared foie gras, heirloom squash ravioli, wilted spinach, agro dulce cippolini onions, dark chocolate, fried sage, and a black currant veal jus. I first thought of this dish many years ago when I first started at the restaurant. I had the chance to test run it for my girlfriend’s birthday, Amy who is the Head Pastry Chef at One. And now I finally had the chance to put it on my first menu as the Chef of the restaurant.
If you could pinch-hit at any other McEwan restaurant, which would you choose and why?
100 % Fabbrica, without a question. When I was growing up in the restaurant industry, all the chefs and sous chefs at Fab were the senior staff at ONE. I wouldn’t be any where with out Al, Kovac, Le Clair, Gentile (BUCA), and especially Missy. Missy taught me everything about the Grill and Saucier station, which was the biggest challenge for me in the kitchen at the time. I owe you 1, actually more like 1 000 000 000 Missy!