Chef Luca Ballard

My name is Luca and I grew up in quite the interesting setting in eastern Ontario. Instead of TVs and video games as a source of entertainment, I had the forest, river ways and lakes frame my interests. Fishing and hunting along with respect and knowledge of the woods shaped who I am today. Cooking for me, started when my grandmother sat me on her counter, and I would watch her creating apple pies and butter tarts as if it was an orchestra, featuring Patsy Cline playing the back beat. She would put one of her floral aprons on me, plop me down with some dough and we would spend the morning laughing and dousing the kitchen in soft white flour. Because of this, I think I have always related cooking and food with love and joy.
When I was 10, my incredible mother said “you should be a chef” and as mothers always know best, she was right! At 18, I dove head first into the culinary world. School first, at George Brown, and then the giant restaurant zoo of Toronto. There, I worked for some of Canada’s top restaurants. While living and working in Toronto I learned so much about so many cuisines; but, what I was missing was the wild. I needed the trees and the rivers back in my life, so I took a huge leap of faith and moved back to the country.  It was then that I decided to find a way to combine all of my passions into one. I took my hunter gatherer lifestyle plus my passion for cooking and moulded them together to find my own identity in the culinary realm. In 2016, I opened J. Ballard food co in Muskoka, Ontario in order to create, what I viewed, as the ultimate outdoor dining experience. I wanted to cook and dine with what was around me, at that time. Ever changing and always sustainable.  Herbs from the forest, wild fish and game or locally raised meat. Raw, simple and romantic.
Now, I spend my days hiking the forest foraging for wild ingredients and paddling the rivers and oceans, in search of beautiful seafood.
I have fallen in love with the elements of fire, rock and wood which have taught me how to harness their natural ability, to create amazing food. I, again, fell in love with food, just like when I was sitting on my grandmother’s counter in her floral apron. So with that said, allow me to cook for you and you cook for me.

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Private Events

Chef Luca Ballard also offers private group events

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Private Events

Chef Luca Ballard also offers private group events

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