A Quick Bite With Jonathan Gushue

A Quick Bite With Jonathan Gushue

Langdon Hall instantly shuttles you into a dream-like state when you visit. During your stay, you float through your days randomly pinching yourself as you wonder: ‘how did I get here?’ and ‘what will my next meal be?’ After all, at Langdon Hall, eating is a priority. Once you’re back in BoringTown, it’s harder to conjure up how great it felt to wake up from the world’s most perfect sleep (atop the hotel’s massive feathertop beds) or the scorching heat from the Thai stem sachets pressed into your newly massaged skin. One experience that never hard to recall? The food. It’s easily some of the most delicious and unique fare I’ve had the pleasure of tucking into. From the poached lobster to the Jerusalem artichokes or the pumpkin seed and wild rice risotto, banana bread, maple water and lavender goat cheese, everyday snacking just isn’t quite the same. And the person to blame for such a crime? The award-winning and Newfoundland native, Jonathan Gushue. Langdon Hall’s executive chef isn’t just charming, inventive and super-talented—he’s also the father to the adorable Tim (10), Nick (8) and Allie (4). After a stroll through the garden and ingesting four very memorable meals from his kitchen (not including snacks!), we sat down to probe into Jonathan’s personal love affair with food.

SPC:. What is your earliest food memory?
JG: My Dad making vichyssoise every Saturday morning.

SPC: What was your favourite food as a child?
JG: It would be Dad’s vichy or his linguini and clams.

SPC: How did you learn to cook?
JG: I would get in and cook with my Dad as much as I could. He is the original “Anal Retentive Chef!” So there was a lot to take in. It is a great memory.

SPC: Was there a food you hated as a child but have learned to love?
JG: Oysters. Coming from Newfoundland oysters were a huge tradition at Xmas. All the men would gather around and scoff hundreds. I always thought it looked like so much fun. Unfortunately, every time I got one down it would come right back up. Thankfully, that trouble has passed and I enjoy oysters any chance I get.

SPC: Salty or sweet?
JG: Salty. It has more applications. Salty goes with sweet, sweet does not necessarily go with salty.

SPC: What’s your favourite way to involve your children with the cooking process?
JG: Making bread is the best way. For them to be able to see the results from such raw product in a day has a huge impact. Grilling gives them the results they are looking for as well.

SPC:What’s your go-to meal for a busy, getting home late kind of evening?
JG: Ramen with poached eggs and nori. I always have miso for just such an emergency.

SPC:What do you love most about cooking?
JG: The freedom. The ability to create with the seasons. Every day is different.

SPC:Why is sitting down and enjoying dinner with your family so important right now?
JG: We all have very busy lives right now. I only get to sit and eat dinner with my family twice a week. So to be able to prepare something as a family and then share it together, no experience is more rewarding. Besides, there is always a good laugh to be had around a table housing a 4, 8 and 10 year old.

SPC:What’s your default, throw-together-and-wow-everyone meal?
JG: Grilled flank steak with herbs from the garden, romaine and mint salad, grilled bread rubbed with garlic, grilled stone fruit.

SPC:  If you could have any one person over for dinner (the sky’s the limit) who would it be?
JG: I would have to have two. Alain Passard and Marco Pierre White. I would just love to sit and listen to their conversation. Two very generous and respectful food minds. I would cut off a finger to cook for them.

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