John Pritchard is at the helm of Terre Rouge Bistro Marché
by Luke Arbuckle
Many people seek a profession that will allow them to travel to new places and try new things. Few make such allowances. Such is a benefit of life in a kitchen. For chef and now owner of Terre Rouge in Charlottetown, John Pritchard, it never really mattered where the kitchen was.
With nothing more than natural talent, a tuned pallet and backbreaking work ethic, John has climbed the rungs of the food industry and now sits at the peak as a successful business owner. “I’ve been at this a long time, put a lot into it, it defines me I guess,” says John. “My first cooking job was in 1989 and it’s been non-stop since.”
John has taken his profession and his food to several kitchen around the world. He’s worked in Bermuda, Grand Cayman and the US. He also starred in his own cooking show on Global TV. “I filmed 130 episodes here in Canada and in Bermuda,” he says. “It was call Red Hot and Ready, it was a lot of fun and as much as I was trying to teach people, I was always learning too.”
John made the move back to PEI about 10 years ago, worked at the Dunes Restaurant, started his own catering company and envisioned his own establishment. It took some work, but by October, 2012, he was ready to open the doors at Terre Rouge.
“It’s always been something I’ve wanted to do, something I wanted to work towards,” he says. “Everything started coming together and I knew it was the right time.”
Not only did John open a restaurant, he took advantage of the open concept at his location on Queen Street, and incorporated a small charcuterie, sells pastries, organic vegetables, artisanal cheeses, fresh seafood and other specialties.
Terre Rouge is a farm-to-table establishment that prides itself on the 100 mile concept of food growth, production and consumption. “I’m proud of what we’re doing,” says John. “It’s something a little different and the whole concept is meant to be healthy and supportive of the local economy. We want to help farmers help us.”
Like many Island establishments, the restaurant slows down in the winter and John operates with about five staff. During the summer is another story. John requires up to 27 staff members to properly operate the unique business. “It get’s crazy in here sometimes, but I have a great team to help out with things,” he says. “Honestly, they’re great and this place would not run as smoothly without them.”
When asked which menu item he recommends, John thought for a moment, furrowed his brow and said he didn’t have one. “We alter the menu fairly often, we like to try new things and what we can make depends on the season,” John says. “What I can tell you is this. Our servers are the best in the business and they can tell you day to day which menu item you should try. I always tell people to trust their servers.”