Jason Duffy brings the creative to Cooper’s
One of Ottawa’s top culinary talents, Jason Duffy knows a thing or two about creative cooking. The award-winning chef boasts an impressive career, which spans two continents and includes some of Canada’s glitziest parties.
Currently the Executive Chef at Cooper’s Creative Kitchen, Duffy revels in the opportunity to let his creativity shine in a menu he describes as “classically playful”.
“Our menu is designed based on some of my happiest memories, and the idea that Cooper’s is the place for guests to create new memories of their own,” he says. “These new memories lead to new ideas, which is why everything is updated seasonally.”
Gaining notoriety across the capital’s culinary scene, Cooper’s is located inside the newly redesigned Embassy Hotel & Suites. Steps to Elgin Street and the banks of the Rideau Canal, its location is definitely one of its strong suits.
The location also allows Cooper’s to feature a four-season patio — heated during winter months, of course.
“When we began planning the redesign of our property, we knew that Cooper’s was an integral part of the new Embassy experience,” says Colin Morrison, General Manager at the Embassy Hotel & Suites. “Having worked with Jason in the past, I knew he was the right person to lead our Cooper’s team, both in terms of food and overall vision.”
Cooper’s menu features modern takes on classic favourites — presented with Duffy’s signature playful aesthetic. Staples like French Onion Soup are given a Canadian twist with local cheese curds and aged cheddar. Cooper’s Fish n’ Chips features fresh haddock battered in local Kichesippi beer, and local suppliers such as Le Coprin Mushrooms feature prominently throughout the menu.
With dishes ranging from the cult-classic 5-Napkin Burger to the Lamb, Chèvre and Mushroom Cannelloni, Duffy prides himself in maintaining an unpretentious, yet creatively approachable menu.
And despite a few years of industry-wide challenges — complete with closures and health restrictions — Cooper’s is coming back strong, having recently introduced a rebrand of sorts. In addition to a new logo, Cooper’s has adopted the “Creative Kitchen” tagline in lieu of its former “Gastropub” connotation. This, Duffy says, was to reflect a friendlier, more approachable menu — and experience.
ABOVE: Cooper's Beet & Kale Salad with torched halloumi, toasted pecans, and roasted fennel-yogurt dressing.
“Our team takes pride in being recognized as a hidden gem in Ottawa’s restaurant scene,” he says. “We love the neighbourhood vibe, and are happy that many of our neighbours have become regulars, enjoying our ever-evolving menu offerings.”
In a career that spans over two decades, Duffy counts his work with the JUNO Awards and Genie Awards as personal highlights. He also took home the silver medal at the celebrated Gold Medal Plates in 2012.
His passion for the industry began in his teen years in Gatineau and evolved into studying French cuisine at Montreal’s Institut de tourisme et d’hôtellerie du Québec. Jason’s studies led him to an apprenticeship in France where he learned local cuisine, creating innovative menus and, more importantly, how to run a restaurant. Upon returning to Montreal, he apprenticed at the Fairmont Queen Elizabeth prior to undertaking positions at Le Café Du Nouveau Monde and the trendy Boris Bistro.
A few years later, Jason moved back to Ottawa-Gatineau where he helped open Sterling as its sous-chef, establishing the chic steakhouse as one of the top restaurants in the region.
Following an invitation from then Executive Chef Jean-Pierre Bourghart, Jason joined the team at ARC The.Hotel in 2005, rising to become its Executive Chef one year later. His passion and creativity helped establish the ARC as the region’s go-to for high-profile events. Jason later moved to the Delta Hotel in 2015, and has been at the helm of the Cooper’s team since 2017.
“The world is a different place than it was a few years ago, and it’s more important than ever to enjoy time with loved ones,” he says. “Let’s get back to enjoying time together, with a few drinks and some really good food.”
For more information, visit www.cooperscreativekitchen.com
ADDRESS: 25 Cartier Street
KITCHEN HOURS: 7-days a week from 7 am - 10 pm
COCKTAIL HOURS: Until 10 pm Sunday to Thursday • until midnight Friday and Saturday
RESERVATIONS: Click here to reserve a table
(PHOTOS: OLM STAFF)
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