Stephanie Ogilvie might have embodied the image of the strong, silent type on this past season of Top Chef Canada, but when quiet assertion, fearless creativity, and consistent results in the kitchen earn you the title of “low-key monster”, you can let your food do most of the talking.
Born in Moncton, New Brunswick, Ogilvie’s culinary trajectory has been on an upward climb from an early age. After graduating from the Culinary Institute of Canada at Holland College in Prince Edward Island, Ogilvie completed a stage under Anthony Walsh at Canoe Restaurant, and continued to impress with a series of successful stints at George Restaurant, Jane’s on the Common’s, and Brooklyn Warehouse.
In addition to nearly claiming the title of Canada’s next Top Chef on Top Chef Canada season 8, Ogilvie’s accolades include being named one of the best chefs on the East Coast, a fourth place showing at the Canadian Culinary Championships in 2016, and a regional win in the Gold Medal Plate competition in 2017.
Since then, Ogilvie has helmed the kitchen at Halifax dining institution Chives Canadian Bistro, and for the past two years, Ogilvie and partner Brock Unger have been operating Hop Scotch Dinner Club, which, before transitioning into a permanent location last week, was widely considered to be the premier pop-up on the East Coast.
We recently had a chance to catch up with the Top Chef Canada runner-up, who gave us the inside scoop on all of her go-to places to eat and drink in Halifax.
Halifax loves their brunch, but I have a soft spot for the old school diners that typically serve breakfast until late, which to be honest, works with my schedule a lot better! There are some real gems. Westcliffe Diner, Johnny’s Snack Bar and the Ardmore Tea Room are all classics.
Water and Bone never disappoints. They typically have a lunch special, but really, just do yourself a favour and order a bunch of stuff to share. Also, if it’s summer, the patio is a great option.
Rinaldo's is also a great option. Pizzas, pastas, and sandwiches all made in house. Personally, I’m a big fan of the eggplant hero--it always hits.
Chkn Chop is really great as well--can’t go wrong with a fried chicken sandwich. Great weekly specials, although the classic McChkn is always a winner, killer sides to go with. And when it’s too busy, it’s easy to do takeout and go find a spot on the Commons to indulge and have an impromptu picnic.
Little Oak is always a lovely time. Small plates, easy for sharing, and inspired flavours by their chef Joe MacLellan. The wine list is always exciting and the staff is super knowledgeable. A few suggestions, and they will work their magic and you will be sipping on your new favourite to complete the experience.
Bar Kismit is another favourite. Chef and co-owner Annie Brace-Lavoie creates beautifully executed dishes with simple, clean flavours. With co-owner Jenner Cormier behind the bar, the cocktail list is always creative, inventive, and should not be missed.
The Stillwell Freehouse. Be still, my heart. A place to relax, get cozy and share some pints with friends. The ever-changing tap list will keep you coming back for more.
Charlie’s Club--OK, I guess I can share this with you, even though I’d like to think of it as “my bar”. You never know what group of regulars you’re going to walk into. Grab an Olands with friends, play some songs on the jukebox, or play a friendly game of crib or pool. Or, just sit yourself at the bar for chat with your favourite bartenders.