Chef Ben Standing in the doorway to the kitchen at Iron Kettle Bed and BreakfastMy name is Benjamin Leblanc-Beaudoin. I am a Chef and have been for the past 11 years. My quest to become who I am today, has led me down many different paths, and kitchens around the globe.  I am a passionate individual with a clear vision – to discover the best food available and prepare it for my guests, regardless of the season.  That’s how my relationship with Pure Flavor® began; they provide greenhouse grown vegetables to the local area and like me, they stand behind everything they do.  I take an enormous amount of pride in the food that I prepare daily and as a grower of vegetables, Pure Flavor® understands this and helps support my culinary aspirations.

Since 2014, my wife Ginette and I have been the proud owners of the historic Iron Kettle B&B.  Located in Comber Ontario just minutes away from highway 401 and the Tomato Capital of Canada, Leamington Ontario.  We saw potential in growing our business, but it was the landscapes rich agriculture and abundant produce bounty that made moving our family here the best decision of our lives.

As a small business in rural southwestern Ontario, our focus is to showcase our region as a prime tourist destination by creating an unforgettable culinary & hospitality experience for tourists and locals alike.

Being a chef, my interests and passion start and end with cooking, PERIOD. With an opportunity to have the bounty of our region and of southwestern Ontario within minutes from our kitchen, this has the potential for an award-winning recipe. Local is a BIG word; it is something that gets tossed around way too much in my opinion. The term isn’t something that everyone believes in, because let’s face it – ‘local’ doesn’t mean easy.

Chef Benjamin from the Iron Kettle Bed and Breakfast looking at cherry tomatoes in the Pure Flavor greenhouse

As is the reality in kitchens across the world, the challenge is to get local food into our fridges and pantries year-round. Challenge accepted! Our introduction to the world of greenhouse grown vegetables brought our vision of LOCAL, quality ingredients, and the best of what we can find, all together as one.

My culinary inspirations come from a wide variety of places. First, I always look to see how I can add a twist to a classic dish, to kind of put my own flavorful spin on it.  I recently held an event at the inn and was tasked to create a number of intriguing appetizers.  With the autumn season fast approaching and the leaves starting to fall, I wanted something unique, colorful, crunchy, tasty, and most certainly memorable.   I chose Pure Flavor’s purple Baby Eggplant for inspiration and it wasn’t long before I was slicing my way into appetizer heaven.  The result: Baby Eggplant chips.  Potatoes never stood a chance against these bite sized treats.

There is a certain degree of trust that a chef lends to a producer. That trust must rely on amazing flavor, consistency and the potential for something new. Something groundbreaking that will inspire something unique and flavorful. When I look at the wide variety of greenhouse grown vegetables from Pure Flavor®, whether it is the cucumber, tomato, eggplant and all of their varieties – I feel inspired to put together a great meal not only for our guests, but for my family.  When I see fresh produce, that has been carefully grown, just for me – I can’t hide my smile & appreciation. I see all the hard work that many people have put into this, and I have the simple task of transforming it into an unforgettable meal.

What I have learned over the years is that a quality vegetable doesn’t need much work from a Chef. It needs a small amount of care, and a few touches and ingredients – but the work has been done for us by the growers who brought the amazing vegetable to life. That is what we need to be thankful for in my opinion.

-Benjamin