Chien Noir chef competes in Grilled Cheese Chowdown

With a Parisian bistro feel, located just a few blocks away from historic Market Square, Le Chien Noir Bistro in downtown Kingston is known for serving up fresh, seasonal, high quality, and local ingredients along with a spectacular wine list. This neighbourhood hangout spot dishes up pleasurable experiences and offers feel good classics with an innovative twist and friendly service in a beautiful art deco inspired setting.

Chef Eric Brennan.
Chef Eric Brennan.

Offering traditional French dishes such as Duck Confit, Boeuf Bourguignonne and Tartare, this bistro would not be complete without highlighting charcuterie and Canadian artisan cheeses that will be featured among many more at The Great Canadian Cheese Festival where Sous Chef Eric Brennan will swing into action against three other Ontario chefs at the Grilled Cheese Chowdown.

Who can cook 250 grilled-cheese sandwiches the quickest? Well that is yet to be determined but Kingston native Chef Eric of Chien Noir is certainly ready for the challenge as the winning chef will have $1,000 donated to his favourite charity and where the first 1,000 ticket holders admitted on Sunday, June 7, will receive a free grilled-cheese sandwich as part of the fifth anniversary celebrations at the biggest cheese show in Canada. It doesn’t get better than that!

Chef Eric’s grilled cheese creation you may ask? It pays homage to local products—from Stonemill Bakehouse and its Prince Edward County Rye, Stirling Creamery butter and of course the pièce de résistance, a two-year white cheddar from Wilton Cheese on the Cheddar & Ale Trail in Bay of Quinte Region.

Le Chien Noir: The Kingston resto definitely looks like a bistro.
Le Chien Noir: The Kingston resto definitely looks like a bistro. Click on any image for an enlarged view.

Let’s take a moment though to appreciate Chef Eric’s passion for creating uncomplicated dishes using locally sourced ingredients and embracing the local food movement – this truly makes him the perfect addition to the Grilled Cheese Chowdown with his unique flair in the kitchen. He rose to this level as he climbed the culinary ladder at Chien Noir after completing his apprenticeship at George Brown College while he gained first-hand experience at several popular Toronto dining establishments including Chippy’s Fish & Chips, The Harbord Room and Frank’s Kitchen.

While with every man, the true motivation that keeps Eric going is the love of food and having grown up surrounded by his parents big garden—sitting in the dirt rows between the plants, picking beans and peas and eating them is where the true appreciation for good fresh food commenced and has yet to leave him. So it is no surprise that Chef Eric is a great supporter of local Canadian cheese as well—his favourite being Wilton cheese curds or “squeaky cheese” as he calls it. He relishes in the fact that the options are almost endless with cheese. With so many styles and ages, there is always room for a slice or shred of the good stuff!

Cheese and charcuterie locally sourced at Le Chien Bistro.
Cheese and charcuterie locally sourced at Le Chien Bistro.

With all this talk about cheese be sure to visit Chien Noir’s Sous Chef Eric Brennan as he competes at the Grilled Cheese Chowdown at the fifth anniversary Great Canadian Cheese Festival—the biggest artisan cheese show in Canada as it takes place Saturday and Sunday, June 6 and 7, in Picton, Ontario, at the Fairgrounds. For complete information and tickets, please visit

—Rosalyn Gambhir

A food writer and photographer who calls Kingston home. She blogs about food, fashion and other good things life at




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