Make Huron Home
Staffmeal & Co co-owner and chef Josh Gerber chatted with Mandy Sinclair about his decision to return to Huron County as well and why he decided to “Make Huron Home” once again.
Like you, many young adults leave Huron County for post-secondary education. I’m seeing a generation of former Huron County residents return “home”. What inspired your return to Huron County?
I actually had no inspiration to come back home at all. Alas, the COVID outbreak "forced" me back per se. With that being said, after seeing how much Huron County has grown within the past 10 years, the prospect of being here became more exciting.
You’re a chef who pops up at local venues, creating amazing share plates for diners. How would you describe your food?
I describe the food that I make as exactly that: food. I am insanely fortunate that I am able to serve people foods that I myself enjoy going out to eat. Between my travel background, influences from Italy, Southeast Asia and Quebec, I love to recreate food experiences that I have been a part of, for the people. With the beautiful produce and local farms that are in the area, it makes the whole food part fairly simple - and simple is key.
Can you tell me about some of the most popular dishes you created this season?
Hmm. A fan favourite for sure was the smoked carrot and onion dip. Personally, I felt very strongly about the cheese curd bhaji, the short ribs, potatoes and Staffmeal salad!
Where, in Huron County, do you go to seek inspiration for your menus?
I've found myself at the beach fairly often, or between the farm and garden. Sometimes it's as easy as a short bike ride to the post office really. Inspiration is all over the place. I get excited when lettuce sprouts.
What advantages does basing yourself in Huron County have?
Being local and starting up in Huron County was massive. Between the space and actual land, the small-town family vibe was, and continues to be, overwhelming. I honestly don't think the business plan would have worked as well if it were to be done within a city.
Huron County favourites:
Place to go on a day off: I'm a strong advocate of a day-off drink at The Albion Hotel. I also spend some hours between the farm, beach and hot tub.
Café for whiling away the hours: I haven't had coffee or tea in six years, so based on my sugar addiction, ShopBike coffee wins this one!
Winery or brewery: This industry hadn’t even started the last time I lived in the area. I don’t think I can pick just one, they all have certain aspects that I like. Shout out to all of them really.
Country road: Orchard Line (pre-construction).