Notable Canadian chefs on what's new and where they want to eat

A few of Canada's best chefs share their thoughts on what's big this year and what they want to eat

Chef David Hawksworth sees vegetables becoming the star of the dish. Could the cauliflower be the most popular ingredient this year? Photo by Big Dubya on Flickr.

Spring is near, and that means a lot of menus are going to get a facelift. So what can we expect to see this year and what are some of the most celebrated chefs in the country looking forward to eating? We asked a few.

David Hawksworth, Hawksworth (Vancouver, B.C.)

A native Vancouverite, chef David Hawksworth lets his Canadian heritage shine through his cuisine at his eponymous restaurant, Hawksworth. Having cooked at Michelin-starred restaurants throughout Europe, chef Hawksworth and his restaurant have won countless awards since its opening in 2011 at the Rosewood Hotel Georgia.

What to watch for:

"Slowly, but surely, I think we are seeing a shift towards simplicity. The molecular side of cooking will always exist but I feel it is becoming less and less prominent. Chefs are realizing that beautiful dishes can be created by simply showcasing the best-quality ingredients, similar to what we do with our contemporary Canadian menu at Hawksworth Restaurant. We’re increasingly seeing vegetables becoming the star of the dish, and the notion of that not being enough is fading."

Antonio Park, Park (Montreal, QC)

Antonio Park eats, sleeps and breathes sustainable seafood. A part of The Syndicate, a newly formed group of young chefs, Park will open Antonio’s in Montreal later this year. He is currently the executive chef and owner at Montreal’s celebrated Japanese restaurant, Park

What to watch for:

"I think the explosion of Japanese cuisine will continue. Canada picked up this trend really late so it will continue to grow here. There will be more of a focus in preparing dishes that are traditional Japanese – like home cooking – out of respect for the history."

Where he's looking forward to dining:

"Everywhere in Calgary! CHARCUT, Market, Catch, Teatro… It will be good to support other Canadian chefs. I also really need to eat at Bar Isabel in Toronto, Raymonds in Newfoundland, Maison Publique in Montreal, L'Abattoir in Vancouver and Parts and Labour in Toronto. And, Beast! I have to make it there this year!"

Paul Rogalski, Rouge Restaurant (Calgary, AB):

As the culinary director and co-owner of Rouge and Bistro Rouge in Calgary, Paul Rogalski is well respected beyond the city’s ever-growing culinary scene. Rogalski’s favourite food time of the year is September, when local produce is plentiful including his #1 fave, cherries.

What to watch for:

"That is a good question. I’m not really sure, but will guess that fermentation will be popular on menus, as well as the return of classical dishes, but with creative twists. And, mini desserts or dessert tasting menus."

Dale Mackay, Ayden Kitchen and Bar (Saskatoon, SK)

Chef Dale Mackay was the first winner of Top Chef Canada in 2011. Last year, he opened Ayden Kitchen and Bar in Saskatoon, named after his son. The restaurant has quickly elevated Saskatoon’s dining scene with its comfort food and delicious cocktails.

Where he's looking forward to dining:

"I'm really hoping to get out to the East Coast this year and eat at my buddy Todd Perrin's place new place, Holland College and Jeremy Charles’ place, Raymonds."