Take A Look Inside Chef Alexandra Feswick’s County Kitchen

It’s been only two years since Alexandra Feswick left her home in downtown Toronto for the greener pastures of Prince Edward County, but in this short time, the award-winning chef has put down some serious roots.

As the executive chef behind the popular Drake Devonshire Inn, she’s won raves for her diverse menus that highlight the rich culinary bounty of the area. Her seasonal dishes transform county fish, farm-grown produce, and locally sourced meats and dairy into the exact kind of hearty, healthy comfort food you crave at a cottage weekend.
“Food that comes from a nearby source just tastes better,” says Feswick. “That’s why I prefer seasonality. It’s also so much healthier and allows me to support the community of farmers [in Prince Edward County].”
Feswick has also incorporated her hyper-local philosophy at home, where she lives with her carpenter husband Chad and their son Reed, 4. When the family needs a handful of heirloom tomatoes for a morning omelette, they just head to their massive backyard garden — a significant expansion from her previous plot in the city. Highlights from this summer’s harvest include cucumbers, eggplants, tomatoes, and lots and lots of fresh herbs.  
“Gardening is a big thing at my house, and I think it’s so important for our overall happiness,” says Feswick. “Reed’s not super adventurous in his diet yet, but in the garden, he gets to touch the plants, and we can have conversations about where food comes from.” 
Feswick’s passion for home cooking started as a child — albeit, with a more international twist. “My parents loved cooking everything from scratch, and they were so creative with it,” explains Feswick. “Every month, they’d take us to the library to research a different country, and we’d often cook some of their traditional dishes.” 
Time is especially tight now that the Drake has opened the nearby Motor Inn. To maximize the amount of home-cooked meals her family eats, Feswick packs her meal prep into one day a week and relies on some tried-and-true recipes for her young son. 
A side of local salmon and fresh veggies is a summertime favourite, as are hard-boiled eggs, pasta dishes, and big batches of crowd-pleasing chili. Yoghurt and cheese are also snacking mainstays in her home — perhaps no surprise, as Feswick won the Grate Canadian Cheese Cookoff in 2016 for her elevated spin on macaroni and cheese. 
Prioritizing home-cooked meals can be challenging when your career requires evenings and weekends, but Feswick really appreciates that the county provide a more family-friendly lifestyle. “Most of the people who work in kitchens here actually have children,” notes Feswick. “You don’t see this as much in the city, since it’s not as accommodating. Making space for everyone to have family lives, and listening to their needs, ensures that we’re all supporting each other. Schedules in the restaurant industry can be tough, and I want to acknowledge this and make sure that they have the space to find balance.” 
So would Feswick ever return to Toronto? “No, I don’t think so,” she laughs. “We’ve really settled in and found an incredible community here.” 
That, and an incredible source for local tomatoes. 
Fast Facts About Feswick’s Home Kitchen
Favourite go-to ingredients
Peek into Feswick’s fridge and pantry, and you’ll always find a fresh stock of yoghurt, cilantro, eggs, salsa, and cooked beans or rice (for use in salads, soups, and to serve as quick side dishes). 
“I’m the only hot sauce eater in the family, but there’s always multiple bottles on hand,” says Feswick, whose absolute favourite brand comes from Barbados. “My brother lived there and got me hooked on it. I managed to find a friend with family in Barbados, and then someone who knew a flight attendant. My bottle is halfway done now, so I need to find another source!” 
Favourite areas to shop
For anything that the Feswick family can’t grow at home, there’s always the nearby farmers’ market. “Every Saturday they have a great one at a church in Wellington,” notes Feswick, and it’s her favourite spot for picking up vegetables and seedlings for use at the Devonshire. 
Beyond the fresh veggies, Feswick also treasures the sense of community that farmers’ markets provide. Customers don’t just wander aisles checking off their shopping lists — at a market, they can hear directly from farmers about how their food was produced and swap recipes with one another about what they’re cooking up. 
Favourite go-to snack
When she’s in a rush, a simple grilled cheese sandwich is always a hit with her son, Reed. And for Feswick’s husband, Chad, it’s as easy as keeping the milk jug full. “Honestly, my husband literally goes through 4 litres of milk every two days,” says Feswick. “I’ve never known anyone to drink that much. It’s almost alarming.”

More from Living