Local Producer Spotlight
Iron Kettle Bed & Breakfast
By Rylee Wallace
For Benjamin Leblanc-Beaudoin of The Iron Kettle, becoming a chef seemed to be inevitable. His father spent his career in the food industry, his uncle in hospitality, his grandfather a butcher, and of course, he always had a natural love of food. These were all significant factors in bringing him to where he is today.
While on track to receive his Bachelor of Commerce at the University of Ottawa, Benjamin took a job at the Westin’s front desk. It gave him a taste of the hospitality industry that his uncle had already been long involved in. Rather than giving in to the typical student diet of Kraft Dinner, he had grown to love cooking real meals for himself. So, with one semester left, Benjamin decided to drop out of BComm to enroll in culinary school. And he hasn’t turned back since!
Benjamin and his wife Ginette are now the owners of The Iron Kettle Bed & Breakfast, a six-room B&B built in 1876 in Comber, Ontario. The couple first stayed at the B&B on their wedding night in 2013, falling in love with its country charm. Shortly after, they learned the inn was for sale, and they made the plunge into B&B ownership.
Braising a lamb shoulder is the single most comforting food prep that I experience, no matter how many hundreds of times I have done it.
The Iron Kettle Bed & Breakfast will immediately have you falling in love with its charm and atmosphere, perfect for everything from gatherings to overnight stays. It will steal your heart (and your taste buds) with its dinner service and catering, where meals are made from scratch using locally grown ingredients. Whatever Benjamin may be cooking, he stands behind each item he prepares and has a story for all of it!
Despite having training in classic French cuisine, not to mention the ability to create all kinds of tasty meals, Benjamin has a favourite dish to prepare – and eat! Lamb Navarin. In his own words, “braising a lamb shoulder is the single most comforting food prep that I experience, no matter how many hundreds of times I have done it.” His favourite part of the meal? How the flavour of lamb transforms the vegetables after braising for hours – who could refuse a meal like that?
As well versed as he is, there are some cuisines that Benjamin hasn’t yet mastered. He looks forward to spending more time getting to know the origins of Arabic cuisine, more specifically Lebanon’s food, and the flavours he loves so much so he can understand what it takes to make it.
It’s quite clear that Benjamin cherishes his partnerships with all his local producers. He knows where each item comes from, knows the producers and the farmers by name. To him, they are more than just partners, he considers them friends!
His advice for struggling cooks? Using a deep fryer requires minimal skill – push yourself away from using it. For those who need an extra hand in our own kitchen, we can typically find Benjamin heading cooking classes once a month at Lee & Maria’s. Unfortunately, while Ontario is still under restrictions, lessons have been put on hold for now.
But, have no fear! If you can’t get your culinary juices flowing – and step away from your deep fryer – you can take advantage of Ben’s pizza dough, available in the on-farm market and delivery service, and freshly baked bread on Fridays and Saturdays.
Learn More About the People, Crops & Products that make Lee & Maria’s Special
KINGSVILLE - On this #GivingTuesday, we are supporting people who find barriers in accessing healthy food options. We are donating $4,000 in cash and fruits and vegetables, spread across non-profit organizations that help those in need across the region.
Some of our most popular services at Lee & Maria's are getting a new name. Less confusion equals more happiness. Learn more about changes coming to some of your favourite services.
By Rylee Wallace - A healthy lifestyle is always important to maintain; however, when you have an autoimmune disorder like Celiac Disease, it’s even more essential to sustain a healthy lifestyle and diet! Shannon Kamins was a Health Science student at Western University when she started brewing her own kombucha in hopes of reducing the pain caused by her Celiac Disease. She would set up for the lengthy process on her kitchen counter, brewing 10 litres at a time, adding specific medicinal herbs she knew would be the most beneficial to her health, such as chaga mushroom, wild rose petals, and bee pollen.
Working at Lee & Maria’s was a dream come true for Chelsea, literally. “I was a delivery customer for a long time and always dreamed of working here. I would tell my husband about it all the time, to the point where he’d get annoyed.”