Chef Justin Cournoyer is challenging the way we eat and think about Canadian food. He challenges himself, and his kitchen to always turn to the land and Canada's rich multicultural heritage to guide his restaurant. By requiring the use of organic and biodynamic ingredients that are grown in the unique Canadian seasons, while collaborating and employing techniques from all the distinct cultures that have built this country, he is redefining the Canadian food experience.
It is about more than just creating a delicious meal, although that still remains at the heart of his dishes. It is about living his philosophy each and every day. He has developed his kitchen to operate in an open-source manner to draw on the talents and experiences of everyone he employs. This ensures nourishing, well-balanced, flavourful cuisine. He believes that "food is the seed to a more sustainable way of life". By working directly with the regional farmers, millers, brewers, and growers to discover what can grow here, and what can nourish our bodies; He is building and creating a sustainable community. With locality at his core, the natural progression is to operate his kitchen/restaurant in an environmentally sustainable way. Not only through managing food waste and employing passive energy techniques, but also sustainably foraging and growing what he can in his urban garden and country forest. This philosophy was not superimposed on Chef, it was a natural evolution.
Reflecting on where he came from and where he was headed, it became clear that the place that is infused with childhood memories, senses, and a deep connection to the land was leading him to forge his own path. The namesake of the restaurant, his hometown called Actinolite. The restaurant is the embodiment of his philosophy and evolution.
Chef Cournoyer continues to grow and mature as a creative, industrious, innovative cook and restaurateur. It is his passion, thoughtfulness and collaborative spirit that set him apart and drive his curiosity. However, it is truly Justin’s family and children that continuously propel him to advance Canadian gastronomy.