being a part of a hotel team that feels more like a family

Executive Chef Kenton Leier, photographed in the Westin Ottawa’s kitchen.

As long as I’ve lived in Ottawa, I’ve always known the Westin Ottawa to be a beautifully appointed hotel with a great location and supported by a quality international brand. Now that they are sponsoring our loveOttawa project, both Anita and I are getting to see more behind the scenes, and we’re learning it’s a hotel with heart and a very hospitable team who consider themselves a big family!

The other week we were fortunate enough to meet and photograph Kenton Leier, who’s been the executive chef for the hotel for the past five years. Kenton told us how much he loves the excitement and pace of the Westin’s kitchen. He especially enjoys working with his closely knit team. “We serve everything from very large gala dinners for hundreds of people to small VIP functions. We cater outside the hotel as well, so it’s a huge challenge to plan and execute it all at a very high level and that’s what I love about it.”

© dwayne brown studio  – the  loveOttawa  project

© dwayne brown studio – the loveOttawa project

Kenton loves that Ottawa has all the great things a big city offers…“great dining, entertainment, shopping and culture without the hassles of a really big city. I also love that there is so much green space, parks, trails with such easy accessibility.” Kenton appreciates how much the city’s dining scene has evolved over the past 10 years. “We can definitely compete with any other city for the number of quality places to eat and everything from very low key and casual to upscale and formal. There is lots of culinary talent here in Ottawa!”

Kenton’s favourite places to eat in Ottawa are quite varied. “I love the sandwiches at La Bottega in The Market and Pho at a number of places in Chinatown. Murray Street is a favourite restaurant, as well as The Cheshire Cat Pub in Carp, breakfast at Sconewitch, Baker Street Café or Wilf and Aida’s.”

Thanks so much to Kenton Leier for showing us around the kitchen at the Westin and for sharing some of what he loves about Ottawa! Please follow Kenton on Instagram at @chefleier to see what he and his team are working on in the kitchen!