Canadian Chefs Profiled: Phil Hubbeard, Toronto ON

by Krlmagi

Phil Hubbeard creates unique dishes that focus on showcasing local, Canadian ingredients as well as unique cocktails at h bar in Toronto.

The passion for food that has driven Chef Phil Hubbeard’s career was started by his family. Hubbard explains that his mother allowed him to cook whenever he wanted and would be in the kitchen to help out. He adds that his father had an interest in unique ingredients and grew his own sprouts and other things. Hubbeard points out, “We’d also go to farms and get fresh eggs and that sort of thing. It just became something that I did and something that I enjoyed doing.”

After working in various coffee shops and cafés, Hubbeard went to Algonquin College and took the culinary arts program there. He says, “A lot of what Algonquin taught was hands on and it drew me in further. I couldn’t get away from it after that.”

Beet and chevre salad with wheat berries
Beet and chevre salad with wheat berries

Hubbeard says that his early influences were multi-faceted. Before he started to cook, he says that he watched Jamie Oliver on television and was impressed by his passion. He talks about Chef Mario Ramsay who taught him at Algonquin College and calls him a strong influence and a mentor for him. He points out, “After that, I just took what I could get from every chef that I worked with.”

Although the restaurant imposes a few constraints on him, Hubbeard says that he cooks like he’s at home, playing with interesting flavour combinations and using local ingredients that showcase the diversity of Canadian products. He points out, “I love to see different parts of the country, so It’s inspired me to use as many local, Canadian ingredients as possible. Whatever we bring in from outside of Canada is used to enhance the local ingredients.”

The experience of visiting farms as a child shaped his respect for small, local producers according to Hubbeard. He says, “It’s what they do, it’s what they live and it’s what they love. They give back to the environment as well. I feel that their animals and produce are treated with more respect. I feel that I should support them for those reasons.“

He adds, “The love that’s put into the animals and the crops comes out in the food. As long as it comes to a kitchen where people want to treat that food with the same passion.”

Mushroom and smoked chicken eggs Benedict
Mushroom and smoked chicken eggs Benedict

Hubebard talks about how he builds and maintains relationships with his suppliers. He says that many of his sources are people that he’s worked with in the past. Hubbard points out that he’s working with 100 Mile Foods in Toronto and is learning about new suppliers through their connections.  He says, “So far, it’s been only a small journey outside of what I normally do but I’m hoping to gather more smaller farmers going forward.”


The inspiration for creating a new dish often comes from a single ingredient, Hubbeard says. He explains that he’ll find some “really cool produce or a cut of meat” and the ideas blossom from there.  He says, “I take some of my experiences and flavours that I haven’t really played with before and just combine them. I do take suggestions from people on my team because they’re also pretty passionate and willing to play and learn too.”


In terms of important traits for a chef to have, creativity and passion go hand in hand, in Hubbeard’s view. He points out, “When you get caught up with money and being too pushy and demanding with the people you work with, you lose the passion. Having the experience that I have here, I get to create cocktails and food, so it’s great for me to be able to interact with people in a positive way.”


Hubbeard says that when it comes to his kitchen team he’s looking for people that demand more of themselves in terms of creativity and strive for a higher level of cooking. He continues, “We don’t necessarily do the most high end food but everything should be made from scratch and every single piece should contain that love.”

Motivation comes from many sources for Hubbeard. He says he takes some inspiration from other people’s menus, but even more from the ingredients that he’s got to work with. He explains, “I like to be inspired by the ingredients themselves and the time of the year. It’s playing with what’s happening at the moment

Thick-sliced bread pudding French toast with bourbon maple syrup
Thick-sliced bread pudding French toast with bourbon maple syrup
Updated: 04/15/2015, Krlmagi
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