It’s no secret that we have a soft spot for the Prairies’ food and beverage scene, but every once in a while we’re asked to explain what makes Prairie cuisine so praiseworthy, and one of the first names that always comes to mind is Winnipeg-based chef Mandel Hitzer.
From collaborating with chefs from across the country at his incredibly innovative RAW: Almond pop-up winter dinner series to his multi-award-winning culinary institution deer + almond, chef Hitzer has helped establish Winnipeg’s culinary community as one of the best Canada has to offer.
More recently, chef Hitzer helped to launch a first-of-its-kind culinary concept within furniture retailer EQ3’s flagship store in Winnipeg where he continues to showcase hyper-local ingredients with seasonally-inspired cuisine.
With Season 2 of Wall of Chefs soon coming to a close, we decided it would be a great time to chat with the acclaimed Winnipeg chef about his favourite food and drink spots in his home base.
Luda’s Deli is my neighbourhood spot for catching up with old friends and is the perfect place to start my day. It’s a legendary North End community favourite. For 30 years, mom and daughter duo Tracy and Kristi Konopada have served up classic homemade food. It’s so nostalgic!
During my first time meeting Tracy, she brought me to tears. Her energy, warmth and hospitality reminded me of going to Oma’s house to be spoiled with food that was cooked from the heart.
Lunch in the Peg is epic. So many spots! It’s hard to pick a favourite due to the fact that there is a flavour for any mood of the week. We have a really vast and ever-sprawling ethnic food scene.
The hand pulled, cold noodle dish at Golden Loong is amazing. I can’t put into words the magical, oiled up umami bomb they have created. It’s across town, down Pembina, near the edge of the city and worth the drive…every time.
For dinner, a special treat is Yujiro. They have become an institution for their quality and dedication to the craft of preparing sushi. It rivals any sushi restaurant have I eaten at in Canada!
Chef Ed Lam and Billy Lai also prepare special omakase dinner, which gives you an opportunity to dive deep into the traditional dish you can’t always find on a regular menu. Once you try one single grain of their perfectly cooked rice, it’s game over.
For drinks, the place is The Roost. Elsa and the whole team there have created the quintessential rendezvous spot. Located on Winnipeg’s famous Corydon Avenue, it’s the place to be seen on a summer night.
They typically have line ups to get in for a taste of their fantastic little food menu with classic cocktails and house original. It’s the perfect place for a night cap!
Watch: Meet the Wall | Wall of Chefs
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