“Inspired by seasonality”: An interview with Jason Bangerter, Executive Chef, Langdon Hall Country House Hotel & Spa

RC Show 2017 is thrilled to welcome Jason Bangerter to the show. While at Langdon Hall, Jason has received many accolades, including the Ontario Hostelry Institute gold award for chef of the year in 2017, and Relais & Chateaux Rising Chef award in 2015. Jason will prepare one of the courses at RC Nation’s Feast gala dinner on Monday, Feb. 27 at Casa Loma.

In a recent conversation, we asked him for his thoughts on Canadian cuisine and what inspires his cooking:

In your own words, what does Canadian cuisine mean to you?

To me, the Terroir you inhabit dictates how you define “Canadian cuisine.” And the Terroir is very different from region to region and coast to coast. In my own experience, my Canadian cuisine is about the Ontario bush and the East Coast – the forage and the hunt. It’s also about working together with farmers and fishers to create something special, while supporting community.

What’s your go-to Canadian ingredient, and why?

Maple. It’s versatile and it can be used in many applications. We have some pretty wicked mushrooms, too: chanterelle, morel … Big fan.

What influences have impacted your cuisine and the way you cook?

I’ve been most inspired by seasonality, and responsible growth and harvest practices. Cooking from the land and having an on-property garden has had a huge impact on my cooking: I work very closely with the Langdon Hall gardener. Maple production, the foraging of wild produce, and beekeeping are all influences. My dishes are now inspired daily by the little miracles of the property.

Being close to small-scale farmers and artisans has enriched my philosophy and offerings too, creating a true story of cohesiveness. Becoming more educated about the perils of overfishing and irresponsible fish farming practices in our fresh water and oceans has been key. At Langdon Hall we support sustainable fish-harvesting projects to help the survival of species and maintain heathy oceans, lakes and rivers.

How are you inspired by Canada’s landscape and how does that reflect in your food?

I dig deep into the source of ingredients or into the concept or theme of the dish.  I use history, pieces of the landscape incorporating nature as cooking vessels, methods or even plate-ware. Wood, branches, leaves, slate, clay, bones, skins, rocks, underwater vegetation, salt, sea … the earth of our nation inspires me and I use every bit of it. I hope this is reflected in my cuisine.

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Beth Pollock is a communications and content marketing expert. Working with Restaurants Canada, she has edited and published two newsletters (RC Insider and BITE); developed the RC Show website; managed social media feeds (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram); and written press releases, blog stories, operational manuals, and an op-ed for the Globe & Mail. Beth is also a freelance writer who has written for a number of publications about food, travel, and children’s books, and has written over 600 posts on her personal blog, Of Muses and Meringues about recipes and her personal travels. She has published three books for children.