Back to Basics and a Wild West Mentality: The duo behind CHARCUT speak about what makes Canada cuisine awesome

Restaurants Canada is honoured to welcome Chefs Connie Desousa and John Jackson, the infamous duo behind the widely celebrated CHARCUT Roast House in Calgary, to RC Show 2017.  Desousa and Jackson will be two of the celebrity chefs preparing a cross-country tribute to Canada’s 150th birthday at RC Nation’s Feast, held at Casa Loma on Monday, Feb. 27.

We caught up with Connie and John to ask them a few questions about their culinary influences and styles. Here’s what they said.

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

In Alberta our culinary identity seems to be fueled by our Wild West and collaborative mentality where we feel there are no boundaries. 

What’s your go-to Canadian ingredient? And why?  

Bison is my meat of choice and such an important animal to the parries and our history. 

What influences have (locally or globally) impacted your cuisine and the way you cook?  

At CHARCUT Roast House we are back to basics and back to flavour in our cuisine. Our teams love to know the first names of the farmers, ranchers and artisan producers that provide us with amazing products through out our menus.  Connie and I often find ourselves looking to our own heritage and love to dig into the past for inspiration with our food at CHARCUT.  

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

Our terrior consists of mountains to the west and prairies to the east. This along with our diverse cultures that are concentrated through out Alberta makes us pretty awesome! We are a young city with a wild west and collaborative mentality, and we together are creating something special. 

Give us your most positive and memorable restaurant experience that has had an impact on you? 

I would say both Connie and my more memorable recent restaurant experience would be in Saskatchewan at Ayden Restaurant. Our good friends Dale MacKay along with Christopher Cho and Nathan Guggenheimer just opened their spot. The prairies are our home getting to see such an amazing restaurant open in Saskatoon was very inspiring. They nailed it, from the design to the prairie focused dishes. I truly felt right at home the moment I stepped foot inside. They have recently opened Little Grouse and are working on a new exciting concept called Sticks and Stones.  

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Content Marketing Specialist at Restaurants Canada. For inquiries or guest submissions, contact achauhan@restaurantscanada.org