9 Questions with Executive Chef Rory of Chien Noir

By Lexy Correa

Chien Noir’s executive chef, Rory, has always been passionate about the culinary arts. In fact, he’s never had a job in his life that did not revolve around food. Whether it be working on a farm, in an apple orchard, or at a grocery store, Rory’s path would ultimately lead him to Chien Noir. We sat down with Rory to chat about what brought him to Kingston, new flavours customers should expect, and his love for the culinary industry. 

1. What brought you to Kingston?

St. Lawrence College brought me to Kingston. I graduated from the Culinary Management program in 2013 then moved out to Gananoque and worked at Riva Restaurant. After working there for five years, I moved back to Kingston. I popped by Chien Noir because I had a few friends who were working here at the time and I’ve been here ever since. 


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2. What surprised you most about Kingston?

Kingston is so intriguing. The history and culture of the city is something that I find interesting. Even this building where Chien Noir is situated is jam-packed with history. I also grew up by the water so being close to the lake is always nice.

3. What’s your favourite part about working at Chien Noir?

My favourite part is probably the creative freedom and being able to source things from local farmers. I’ve even had a few opportunities to work with local farmers to grow things specifically for the restaurant. I came from a very agriculture-based workplace, but at the same time it wasn’t very “foodie” – just because they were growing all the produce didn’t mean they were adventurous about cooking. I feel like Kingstonians embrace the culinary scene, which is great. It’s nice being able to express my creativity with such fantastic products. 

4. What drew you into the culinary arts?

When I was 16, I got a job in Toronto working at a restaurant by chef Jamie Kennedy. Just seeing people’s passion and how much drive it took – people would literally pore their every last ounce of strength into working. It just seemed like something fun. Something crazy, but fun.

5. What advice would you give to students pursuing the culinary arts?

Work hard and try to be as creative as you possibly can. Explore as many opportunities you can and try not to get stifled. That’s the one thing I think I’ve regretted in my life – I’ve only probably worked at six or seven restaurants and stayed in each one for about four or five years at a time. I got to experience everything the restaurant had to offer, but at the same time, it has somewhat limited me in what I’ve experienced. 


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6. How do you draw inspiration for each dish?

For Chien Noir, I try to stick to French bistro classics. Say you want to do a dish, but put a certain spin on it. You can combine different ideas. Start with two or three classical preparations and stick to the bare bones of French cooking. From there, you can branch out to different ingredients that will pair well with traditional ones. Not to keep things super traditional, but to make it playfully traditional. 

7. What can people expect from the Chien Noir team?

They should expect a lot of creativity and finesse on their plates. A lot of bold flavours that they maybe haven’t seen before. We’re trying to branch out from what we’ve done in the past and brighten things up a little bit. French bistro food is traditionally heavy and rich – it’s not exactly what everyone wants in this day and age. People are moving towards a lot lighter food. We’re trying to freshen things up.

8. Do you have a new favourite dish that people HAVE to try?

I actually do! My favourite thing to eat is pork, so we have a double cut heritage berkshire pork chop on the menu. The dish has a honey-almond crust and fondant mini potatoes on the side. I’m pretty happy with how this dish turned out.

Chien Noir just launched their new fall 2019 menu! Take a look at their new dishes here.

9. Is there anything else you’d like to share with new and returning customers?

You can expect a lot of the same flavours of what you’ve seen in the past, but at the same time, maybe just a different twist on them. 

You can visit Chien Noir at 69 Brock Street and keep up to date with them by following their Instagram, Facebook, or website.