I read somewhere, some time ago, that a Carleton Place chef had struck up a ‘you scratch my back’ relationship with a pig farmer. All kitchen scraps go to slop the farmers’ pigs, and chef puts some well-fed pork on plates at his restaurant. Then I heard news that Roger Weldon, chef of the grand-sounding Ballygiblins Restaurant and Pub in Carleton Place had been invited to attend Terra Madre in Turin this month. As far as I know, Roger Weldon is the only cook in the Ottawa-Gatineau region with an invitation to Slow Food International’s biennial convention of the Terra Madre, where he’ll be sharing classrooms with some of Canada’s shiniest chefs.
So just who was this guy and what was this restaurant? After setting out to find out, I’d say he’s someone to watch, and Ballygiblins – which has a stronger pub than parlour look about it – will be worth your exploring once he’s back from Italy and has had some time to digest.
As it stands now, the Ballygiblins menu doesn’t inspire much confidence. It is an odd blend of please-em-all pub grub (deep fried pickles/wings/zucchini, macho nachos, etc) with a side bar of sandwiches, burgers, mussels, ribs and seafood (fish and chips, mostly.) But the salmon is wild and the vegetables come from the Farmer’s Market (and taste as much) and the bruschetta is loaded with fresh basil and gorgeous heirloom tomatoes. Local craft beer and onions flavour the mussels, and the homemade desserts are pretty good.
Tuck this one away for future reference. It will be interesting to taste Ballygiblins again after the international food community in Torino has left its mark. My hunch is that they’ll be no more Peruvian asparagus on the early October menu.