Our passion for fresh foods:
Meet the Team
Chef Justin got his culinary start working in the dish room at Bechtels at the age of 15. At 17, he got a job at Bonanza as a grill cook, learning how to judge steak temperatures and run a line. This is where Justin started to learn the ins and outs of the restaurant business. After graduating high school he attended Lycoming College where he majored in philosophy. During this time, he landed a job at a fine dining Italian restaurant, which is where he says he fell in love with food and the restaurant industry as a whole. “I love the comradery of a restaurant; it’s fast intense work. I love being pushed and challenged during a dinner rush to see what I’m made of.”
Justin, a member of the Ard Family, came to Ard’s in 2008 and has been an integral part of the team ever since. “I love what I do here, the ability to push the envelope and try new things. I love being able to take a classic homestyle dish and elevate it to something surprising and fun. The look on peoples faces when we set a beautiful chicken caprese or a jacked-up chicken and waffles is fun for me.” During Chef Justin’s career at Ard’s he has been recognized locally, and not so locally, for his amazing talent and intense drive for success. Chef Justin along with the Ard’s Farm team, has been honored to cook for some of the top music artists on the chart today, including Josh Turner, Sarah Evans, Cassidy Pope, Randy Houser, ZZ Top and more. He has also appeared on WNEP’s Home and Backyard multiple times to do cooking demonstration segments. “Cooking in front of people or even the camera really doesn’t bother me. I honestly feel right at home, cracking jokes and explaining what I’m doing while I’m doing it.” It’s obvious that Chef Justin has a huge passion for what he does and truly enjoys being able to delight diners with his unique vision on farm foods being treated honorably and whimsically.
Chef Justin isn’t just a chef though. He is a husband, to our baker Leah and a father to three wonderful children who you will likely see in and out of the restaurant from time to time. Justin is the oldest son of Kyle and Alan Ard. “It’s a family affair on the farm, but it works because we all have our own area of expertise. We are respectful each other immensely in those areas, however at the same time we are still family and things can get a little heated. We all love the farm, love what we do and love each other; what else can you ask for?” Chef Justin and his family even live on the farm! “It’s such a unique experience for my kids, to grow up on a big beautiful farm and to be frank they already have amazing customer service skills.”