Chef of the Week: David Neinstein of Barque Smokehouse

david neinstein

Introducing David Neinstein, Executive Chef and Owner of Barque

This week, instead of profiling just one chef, we’ll be profiling five of our favourites from the upcoming Taste of Toronto, which takes place at Fort York: Garrison Common from Friday, June 15 to Sunday, June 18. Check back daily for a new profile on one of the city’s top chefs and a sneak peek at what to expect at the festival. 

First up for this week’s special edition of Chef of the Week is the Executive Chef and co-owner of one of the city’s best barbecue joints.

Allow us to introduce you to David Neinstein. 

With two locations on Roncesvalles, Barque Smokehouse and Barque Butcher Bar, that regularly have lines out the door, it’s safe to say that Chef Neinstein knows a thing or two about good barbecue. Prior to opening up the smokehouse back in 2011, Neinstein moved down south to Oklahoma to learn how to cook competitive and everyday BBQ, prepping him for the launch.

Now his restaurant falls on almost every city top barbecue list and this weekend, he’ll be serving to the masses at Taste of Toronto. We had the opportunity to chat with him before the big festival. Take a look at our interview below.

david neinstein

Image: Instagram/@jwb1000to

How did you get your start in the industry?
I got into the industry because I love serving people. I decided to go with BBQ because it was one of my favourite things to eat and it would access the highest number of people. In other words, it’s a crowd favourite.

How would you describe your culinary style?
Accessible. It’s very important to me that our menu has the ability to accommodate a wide range of dietary restrictions. Though we are a BBQ restaurant, being able to provide a positive experience to any guest that chooses to dine with us is extremely important.

What’s is your favourite dish that you’re serving at Taste of Toronto and why?
At Taste of Toronto this year, I am excited to be serving our BBQ Pulled Beef Tostada, served with avocado crema and lime – it’s a perfectly balanced dish and I love eating it all the time.

What do you think is the biggest misconception about the restaurant industry?
The biggest misconception about the restaurant industry is that it is entirely innovative and constantly changing. What the average restaurant really does is create a routine that they repeat for upwards of 3-6 months, or maybe a year at a time. This means that all of the dishes that are perfected through that timeframe are repeated for every guest in the restaurant. Returning customers only visit the same restaurant a few times a year.


david neinstein

One of the dishes Barque will be serving, Cajun Mac n’ Cheese

What’s your go-to meal to cook at home?
My go-to meal to cook at home is a bowl of soup. I like to do Asian-style soups with noodles and poached eggs. Ifind it both warming and satisfying.

What are three other dishes at Taste of Toronto our readers should try?
1. Crudite from Actinolite – they have an amazing touch with vegetables and I am excited to see them there.
2. I am really interested in trying Rob’s Paella (Rob Bragagnolo of Labora)
3. Maple Ice Cream from Richmond Station sounds like a great finale to wash everything down.

What’s one tip our readers should know to up their own game in their kitchens?
To up your game in your kitchen is to use your oven like a BBQ. Get a cookie sheet and a raised wire rack, spray it down with a bit of oil, and treat meat and vegetables just as you would with a backyard smoker. It works very similarly.

If there was one thing in the restaurant industry you could change, what would it be?
Equitable access to government funding to new ventures and entrepreneurs. To shift focus from individual chefs and recognize their teams.

How do you think Taste of Toronto benefits the city’s restaurant scene?
Taste of Toronto benefits the city’s restaurant scene by allowing guests access to food from many different restaurants all in the same venue. This gives the guests the opportunity to experience food from many more chefs and restaurants than would normally be possible on any given day. It gives guests the opportunity to interact with chefs and their restaurant teams, learn about their restaurants and food, and participate in any of the numerous activities and demonstrations that take place throughout the festival.

To keep up with David Neinstein and Barque, check out or follow them on Facebook (Barque BBQ), Twitter (@BarqueBBQ), or Instagram (@BarqueBBQ).

RELATED LINK: Chef of the Week: Daniel Duketovesky of Gusto 101

Are there any other chefs you’d like to see profiled? Let us know in the comment section or tweet us at @ViewtheVibe

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