When it comes to sourcing the best eats, there’s no other group who has more impeccable taste or higher standards—yes, we’re talking about chefs. And not just any chefs, but the crème de la crème of food aficionados in the country; the folks who lead Canada’s food culture and inspire us with their mosaic of delicious creations. We connected with 10 such chefs and asked them to share an incredible dish that they ate most recently. Here’s what they had to say.
Kunal Ghose, Chef at Fish Hook, Victoria, B.C.
The Fort Street district area of Victoria is blooming with good eats. Right around the corner and upstairs from my spot emerged the Livet. It’s a good thing that I welcome competition because it delivers. The stand out for me was its house-made longaniza sausage. The perfect snap of the skin and flavourful and juicy interior melded so well with the beautifully braised black beans. It was sausage and beans at its best. I’ll definitely be back for more! – Kunal Ghose, Chef at Fish Hook, Victoria.
Paul Rogalski, Chef and Owner of ROUGE Restaurant & BISTRO Rouge, Calgary, AB
My wife Carol and I recently escaped to Banff for the weekend for some much needed RnR after a busy holiday season. After toiling for hours about where to eat dinner we decided to go to The Bison. We were over-the-top delighted with the gnocchi poutine: 24-hour braised elk, Oka curds, truffled gravy and fresh herbs. The flavours were layered, distinctly different but working in unison. The elk was tender as butter, the cheese was melted, stringy perfection and the truffle was not overpowering. It was the perfect flavour delivery mechanism. – Paul Rogalski, Chef and Owner of ROUGE Restaurant & BISTRO Rouge, Calgary, AB.
Michael Robins, Chef at Sous Sol Osborne, Winnipeg, MB
When asked to share my favourite dish I ate in January, it only seemed fitting to write about the one I consumed more than any other. An amazing aromatic broth with hand-pulled noodles, spiced beef, cilantro, radish, green onion and chilli oil—it’s literally number one on the menu and in the city. The only thing that distracts me from the nearby slurps is watching my girlfriend and other diners work on their not so adequate chopstick skills. Dancing Noodle is a great spot for a quick bowl of soup any or every day of the week. – Michael Robins, Chef at Sous Sol Osborne, Winnipeg, MB.
David Gunawan, Chef and Owner of Farmer’s Apprentice, Vancouver, B.C.
The best thing we ate last month was at pilgrimme restaurant on Galiano Island. The dish was humboldt squid with fermented Galiano chilli broth prepared by chef Jesse McCleery. The squid was amazingly tender and the broth was well balanced — sweet, sour, salty and spicy all at the same time. – David Gunawan, Chef and Owner of Farmer’s Apprentice, Vancouver.
Jon Vettraino, Chef and Co-Owner of The Commodore, Toronto, ON
Recently my wife and I spent a night at the Don Valley Hotel in North York, which is where we spent our wedding night. When we woke up we skipped room service and headed to my favourite dim sum destination, Asian Legend. I find most of what they make is amazing, but the soup dumplings is the standout dish for me. There are a couple of different choices and they're all good, though experience is needed to successfully eat a dumpling without torching your mouth! And I suggest letting the little fella hang out in the black vinegar dip for a hot minute before putting the whole thing in your mouth. I also quite enjoy the smoked duck and the wonton peanut sauce soup. Don't let the peanut part fool you; it’s amazing. Being in the restaurant industry and working brunch every weekend at The Commodore, I rarely get a chance to take part in dim sum—one of my all time favourite meals—so I relish the opportunity when it presents itself. – Jon Vettraino, Chef and Co-Owner of The Commodore, Toronto.
Andrew King, Chef and Owner of Damaurizio Dining Room, Halifax, N.S.
My most memorable food moment this month was at Stories. It is the dining room at The Halliburton boutique hotel in Halifax. The restaurant is located in a Victorian space which has been refurbished, while keeping its original charm. The menu utilizes local ingredients and incorporates wild game and hard-to-source ingredients. The dish that stayed with me was the scallop appetizer. Wrapped with rice paper and pan seared, it had the perfect contrast of crispy on the outside and a succulent centre, and was served with a delicate sesame and ginger vinaigrette and garnished with a savoury tuille and mixed greens. It was a perfect blend of local ingredients with an Asian flair. On an ever-changing menu I do believe this is the one dish that is a regular on the menu. Great choice! – Andrew King, Chef and Owner of Damaurizio Dining Room, Halifax.
Felix Zhou, Chef and Co-Owner of Heritage Asian Eatery, Vancouver, B.C.
I was out on a business meeting with one of the Heritage partners, and we decided we really wanted to go somewhere with no fuss and just eat. We found this hidden gem in the Royal Centre food court in downtown Vancouver called Kari Kitchen, where they offered Thai curries and their own house-made drinks. The curry was phenomenal and we just couldn't believe this was coming from a food court—and for only $9! – Felix Zhou, Chef and Co-Owner of Heritage Asian Eatery, Vancouver.
Ashley Jacot De Boinod, Chef and Owner of Glory Hole Doughnuts, Toronto, ON
My husband and I love going to new restaurants. Being an ex-cook himself, he's a lovely date. An old classmate of mine, Brandon Olsen, had partnered up with King Street Foods to create La Banane, a take on traditional French cuisine. The dish that caught my heart was the tuna. I'm a huge fan of simplicity in cooking. That’s why this dish was a perfect one for me. The nuttiness of the brown butter paired so well with the zing from the capers and added extra texture to the melt-in-your mouth fish. – Ashley Jacot De Boinod, Chef and Owner of Glory Hole Doughnuts, Toronto.
Mark Perrier, Chef and Co-Owner of Osteria Savio Volpe, Vancouver, B.C.
Typically I prefer to cook at home with my family when I’m not in the kitchen at Savio http://www.saviovolpe.com), but the one time I ate out this month was at Dinesty Dumpling House on Robson Street in downtown Vancouver. Everything I ate there was great, but their xiao long bao (steamed pork soup dumplings) were spot on. – Mark Perrier, Chef and Co-Owner of Osteria Savio Volpe, Vancouver.