Gordon Ramsay has said that there is definitely a bond among kitchen staff. The staff of any restaurant spends more time in the kitchen than they do with their own families. Dusty Pettes has a wife and daughter, yet Ballygiblins in Carleton Place is mostly called home. The former “Undocumented Mayor of Prospect” began the hard way in the old Angus Barn on Highway 29. Within a month of beginning there as a cleaner, he moved up the culinary ladder prepping, and then progressed to Prime Rib and Steakhouse selections. Similar to how Chef Anthony Bourdain trains his chefs, Dusty worked his way up in the ‘streets” of the ktichen.
A chef is a mixture maybe of artistry and craft. You have to learn the craft really to get there. Dusty gained experience at local eating establishments like Leatherworks, and finally met Derek Levesque at the old Mississippi Hotel. From there, it was on to Ballygiblin’s where he never looked back. Bally’s is one of our local gems serving excellent food, sourced locally.
You don’t become a chef to become famous, and Dusty is all about using local produce and meats. Everything is made by scratch like it used to be. You won’t find them opening up a bag of frozen french fries at Ballygibin’s. Sure, it costs a bit more, but they support local farmers and butchers like Anderson Farms. They are known for their burgers, and the ground meat they buy locally is so good very little filler is needed. Their popular homestyle burger has seasonings, salt and pepper, and that’s all she wrote. No matter what it is, Dusty loves to push the boundaries of flavour. A home cooked meal, but with a different approach.
As a chef, you need to respect your guests and their needs. Dusty understands that, and they do a variation of food on the menu. From comfort food with a twist, to world foods, there is something for everyone. Some daily specials are featured as a testing ground to get feedback. It’s all about the customer! Dan, the baking chef’s desserts are so good he could be called “someone’s mom”. Cheese cakes are his specialties, and there is word a Tiramsu is in the works!
His work beliefs as a chef are carried on at home with his daughter being taught how to raise chickens, and his wife Jessica involved with our beloved community Beckwitch. (more about her this week) Fresh eggs, and expanding gardens, are all in the Pettes family mantra.
Dusty loves the small town feel of Carleton Place, but wishes there was more life in the downtown area. It would also be a prefect world if landlords showed some love–but then again, it is easy to say bring them in, but you can’t force anyone.
What final words did Chef Dusty Pettes have?
“You are only as good as your last plate!”
151 Bridge St, Carleton Place, ON K7C 2V6
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Tilting the Kilt, Vintage Whispers from Carleton Place by Linda Seccaspina is available at Wisteria at 62 Bridge Street, the Carleton Place Beckwith Museum in Carleton Place, Ontario and The Mississippi Valley Textile Mill in Almonte. available on all Amazon sites (Canada, US, Europe) and Barnes and Noble