Chef Harrison Hennick will tell you that he makes the best chicken in the city. “Everyone thinks they make it better at home,” he says, when I explain that I very rarely order chicken at a restaurant unless it’s fried. “But trust me, if you make good chicken, it’s worth it.”

Harrison is bold and unabashed in his statement. You can tell that he’s confident - in the power of poultry, no less - and it’s this same unwavering passion that’s driven Harrison’s impressive culinary career, one that’s taken him from local hit restaurant, George, to gigs in New Zealand and England and now, to compete in his first-ever Underground Chef Co. battle, The Winter BBQ Battle, this coming January 25th.

Having grown up loving the arts – everything from music to painting to theatre – it’s no surprise that Harrison ended up in the culinary field.  After all, one of the first things many learn from chefs is that “baking is a science, but cooking is an art.”

A little bit of Instagram stalking (who doesn’t, these days?) will show that this connection to art has translated to Harrison’s extensive collection of tattoos. Most recently, his knuckles that read “OTOD”, or “One Team One Dream” were featured on the ultimate cool-chef-approved account @IndustryInk. And it’s clear that spreading this motto, that prioritizes teamwork and unity, is just one of the many ways Harrison is making his mark on the Toronto food scene.

But The Six seems to be giving Harrison some woes (the real kind – not the Drake kind), so he’s dropping the hustle and bustle of the city - “it’s honestly just too much sometimes,” he says – for the up-and-coming, soon-to-be-gentrified Hamilton.

Harrison plans on opening his first restaurant, Nique, in fall of 2016. Between planning the menu, sourcing the décor, and simultaneously balancing business acumen with culinary mastery, the move has kept him busy.

“A shit ton of restaurant open every month in Toronto, and at the same time, just as many are closing,” he explains. “The city is so saturated – everywhere you turn you see someone serving food. It makes it that much harder to stand out and be different. I’m excited for what Hamilton has to offer.”

But first? Harrison is amped and ready to take on Chef Terry Port “I’m more current, I’m more fresh, and I’m ready to see what he’s got to give.”

So, let the games begin.

*Special thank you to UCC favorite and new resident blogger - Alanna Glass, for putting together this amazing post.