Downtown Cambridge will come alive with the sounds of folk music from around the world on August 4, 5, and 6 at the Mill Race Festival of Traditional Folk Music.
Executive chef at King Street Trio Uptown in Waterloo, Kyle Rennie says he fell in love with cooking when he was in high school.
“Both my parents worked, so as an after-school chore my brother and I had to cook dinner,” Rennie says. “I would start leaving school and coming straight home to look up recipes. I just got really obsessed with trying things I’d never had before.”
He was 16 when he got his first kitchen job at The Millcroft Inn and Spa under Jason Parsons, and he walked in looking for a dishwashing position. “I remember being at a trade show at Conestoga College. I saw the chefs and started thinking this might be the thing I’d actually like to do for a living. When I told this to the Millcroft sous chef, he started me in the prep kitchen immediately.”
Rennie eventually headed to Toronto where he worked under David Lee at Splendido. “He took me to the farmers’ market, cheese shops and other specialty producers and taught me about high quality and the standards that separate good cooking and ingredients from bad. He encouraged me to look to the season for creativity.”
After stints at Auberge du Pommier, Thuet Bistro & Bakery and Centro, Rennie did tours of culinary duty in Ottawa, Calgary, Muskoka and Niagara-on-the-Lake. He joined King Street Trio in October, 2017. “I love the place. Everyone is committed to a common goal of providing a great experience to all of our guests. For me, that starts in the morning when I visit a market or a cool food shop,” he says adding that after the many cities he’s cooked in, this region has him feeling quite comfortable.
“I love the dining scene in Waterloo Region. It’s going to be my home for a long time.”
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Rapid-fire round with Executive Chef Kyle Rennie
Explore Waterloo Region: Best thing you’ve ever eaten?
Kyle Rennie: My grandma’s apple pie. I’d trade all the truffles and foie gras in the world for another slice.
Other career you could have pursued?
Rennie: I’ve been cooking since I was 16 years old. I’ve never thought about doing anything else.
Rennie: A cold Budweiser or a nice tequila.
Something that gives you pleasure?
Rennie: Watching the Green Bay Packers on Sundays. Relaxing on a patio with a cold beer. Creating a new dish for a menu.
Chef you’d most like to meet?
Rennie: Dan Barber (Blue Hill in Manhattan/at Stone Barns) or Sat Bains (two-Michelin star Restaurant Sat Bains in England).
What scares you in a kitchen?
Rennie: Young cooks cleaning deep fryers.
Where were you born?
Rennie: Mississauga. Grew up in Erin.
Do you ride a bike?
Rennie: Does a stationary bike count?
Moment in your life you’d like to have back?
Rennie: Leaving Splendido when I was a kid. I knew I could have learned more while that restaurant was still open.
Best footwear (for the kitchen or otherwise)?
Rennie: In the kitchen, I’ve worn so many different brands that I don’t have a favourite. So whatever is on sale. Outside, I still like my Chucks.
A favourite teacher you’ve had?
Rennie: David Lee when he was at Splendido, Toronto. He taught me so much about food when I was a kid. I owe him a lot.
Who would you like to cook for?
Rennie: Jason Carter (Dandylion, Toronto).
Rennie: Hmmm. Red Hot Chili Peppers or A Tribe Called Quest.
Best thing about being a chef?
Rennie: Seeing the expression on a person’s face when they are truly enjoying something you have crafted. It’s the best feeling!
Favourite city, other than in Waterloo Region?
Rennie: New York.
TV chefs who annoy you?
Rennie: Guy Fieri.