February 15, 2020
Calgary’s Chef Darren MacLean, in partnership with Food Tourism Strategies, presents a year-long CULTURAL CHEF EXCHANGE to help further understanding of our culinary identity.
No stranger to collaboration, MacLean has hosted more than 20 global chefs -- such as Mark Best, Amanda Cohen and Timothy Hollingsworth – and travels often to cook and learn abroad. Most recently to Tokyo with World’s 50 Best Chef Yoshihiro Narisawa of his award-winning namesake restaurant.
Globally Celebrated Mexican Chef Ángel Vázquez Arrives in Calgary, Alberta to Cook, Communicate and Celebrate the Program Kick-Off, February 16!
World-renowned international chefs will visit Calgary, Alberta, Canada throughout 2020 as part of Cultural Chef Exchange, a new year-long initiative by Chef Darren MacLean in partnership with Food Tourism Strategies.Each month a different influential chef will visit the city and surrounding area to collaborate, learn and inspire. The exchange seeks to actively promote Alberta’s and Canada’s culinary background and cross-cultural character around the globe while learning about other country’s culinary cultures and practices.
Through the Cultural Chef Exchange MacLean establishes narrative around Canadian food and products on an international level by inviting incredible world-renowned and Michelin Star chefs from around the world to begin exploring Canada. Through their expression of Canada’s commodities, sharing and learning from one another, we showcase Canada as a world-class culinary destination.
“We often learn most about our own homes through the vision and impressions of those who are discovering a place for the first time,” says MacLean. “With this ambitious project, we seek to show Canadians the value of this country’s cultural and culinary heritage demonstrated by appreciation from the world’s best chefs.”
This immersive exploration of Canadian fare sees visiting international chefs collaborate while sourcing local ingredients from farms and foraging, creatively cooking together in the kitchen of EIGHT, MacLean’s new and unique Canada-centric restaurant, and by discussing contemporary issues and opportunities for positive change. Participating chefs partake in a six-day program, touring Alberta’s lakes, mountains and Prairies to develop an appreciation of the province’s natural beauty and terroir.
The Cultural Chef Exchange also presents Dialogues, a coincident monthly public panel presentation, discussion and meet-and-greet with the chefs. In partnership with SAIT School of Hospitality and Tourism and held at the Tastemarket by SAIT, Dialogues is geared to inspire the next generation by examining a range of topics from sustainability issues -- food waste, imbalanced ecosystems and costly food production -- to tactile and creative ways of discovering global and regional flavours within Canada. Each month will:
· welcome a new international chef· spark interest in new topics, hot trends and opportunities· share intelligence and broker radical ideas· foster remarkable networking within the culinary community and most importantly for the benefit of our future chefs.
“The goal is for influential global chefs, those who work in the culinary profession, and passionate members of the public to actively experience what we as Canadians have to offer, our culinary provenance and our cross-cultural character in new and exciting ways,” says MacLean. “When different chefs boast their own culture, conservation and culinary excellence, it allows an important, thoughtful and impactful culinary community to be not only viable but realized. This local-to-global network shares talents, exchanges techniques, encourages stewardship, advances tourism and tackles sustainability issues to the benefit of those living, working and visiting here.”
Those coming to Calgary include Michelin-Star restaurant owners, chefs from the World’s 50 Best and MacLean’s fellow contestants Netflix’s global cooking competition The Final Table, where MacLean was a finalist.
FORAY PROGRAMMING: Chef Ángel Vázquez
Starting this week, events focus on the visit of celebrated Mexican Chef Ángel Vázquez. Master of Poblano gastronomy, Vázquez, a winner of Best New Restaurant at Mexico’s Gourmet Awards and a Gold medalist at FHA Singapore, launches the series with two events:
Dialogues - Session One
Wednesday, 19 February, 4 – 6 p.m.The Tastemarket by SAIT, 444 7 Ave SW, CalgaryPre-registration here: firstname.lastname@example.org
Cultural Chef Exchange Dinner # 1Saturday, February 22 6:00 p.m.Chef Ángel Vázquez (Mexico)High Mexican Cuisine, Mexican Aesthetic with Canadian ingredients.8 seats at $300 each (pairing included)EIGHT, 631 Confluence Way SE, CalgaryBookings: https://www.exploretock.com/eight
Cultural Chef Exchange Dinner # 2March 22 – 29Chef Esdras Ochoa (USA/Mexico) & Chef Shane Osborn (Hong Kong/Australia)
The subject of a LA Times profile titled “the taco missionary,” Esdras Ochoa made a name for himself as the chef of popular Los Angeles Mexican restaurants Mexicali Taco and Salazar, named by Conde Nast as among the city’s vest restaurants, before moving to Hong Kong where he runs another taqueria called 11 Westside and became a contestant on Netflix’s The Final Table.
Shane Osborn has plenty of experience working in acclaimed kitchens, having been a part of the staff at L’oranger in London that garnered a Michelin star in 1996, and he served as executive chef at London’s Pied à Terre when it won a second star in 2003. Since 2014, Osborn has run his own restaurants in Hong Kong, Arcane, which holds one star for its seasonal fare that blends the cuisines of Japan, the United Kingdom, and France, and the recently opened Cornerstone.
Cultural Chef Exchange Dinner #3April 19-26Chef Andrew Clarke (UK)
Winner of the Innovation Award at the 2019 Craft Guild of Chefs Awards, Andrew Clarke is chef-director at the St Leonard’s and Brunswick House restaurants in London, as well as the founder of the Pilot Light campaign, which is devoted to combating the stigma surrounding mental health in hospitality.
SPONSORS AND SUPPORTERSThe Cultural Chef Exchange is possible through the vision of Chef Darren MacLean and the cooperation and commitment of the global chefs. The dedicated partners and sponsors, whose generous support has helped to shape and realize the potential of this program through their contributions include:
· Payments and Point-of-Sale Company, Square (Featured Sponsor)
· Alt Hotel Calgary East Village (Official Hospitality Sponsor)
· East Village
· Food Tourism Strategies Inc.
ABOUT Chef Darren MacLeanChef Darren MacLean is one of Canada’s most acclaimed and outspoken chefs, restaurateurs and environmental advocates. MacLean was Canada’s sole contender and a finalist on Netflix’s global cooking competition ‘The Final Table.’ He is also the first-ever Canadian chef invited aboard to consult and collaborate with Princess Cruises. He uses his profile to showcase Canada’s culinary scene to international audiences. MacLean is passionate about sustainability and the food building community. While he regularly participates in events as an educator, speaker and culinary judge in Canada and abroad, he is happiest in his kitchens.
MacLean’s Japanese izakaya-style restaurant Shokunin, in his home city of Calgary, has been voted one of the country’s top 50 restaurants for three years in a row. Its predecessor Downtownfood was also listed as one of Canada’s top restaurants. In September 2019, he opened Greenfish, North America’s first fully sustainable sushi eatery, take-away and delivery. Also in 2020, MacLean opened NUPO located in Calgary’s East Village Alt Hotel. This restaurant, bar and Omakase Sushi Experience focuses its offer on vegetarian, sushi, and large-format fish dishes and features a unique-in-Canada dry-aging chamber for fish. In 2020, he also opened EIGHT, a discreet, eight-seat, high-dining restaurant where tasting menus focus on MacLean’s unique philosophy of true Canadian cuisine.
Inspired by its ethnic mosaic, MacLean believes this forms the foundation of what defines Canada’s national food culture. His appreciation for diversity leads him to travel extensively, further developing his unique perspective on food and the culinary experience. MacLean spent extensive time traveling in Japan studying the cuisine of the country that inspires him. Believing in the power of food to bridge cultures, he welcomes global chefs to his country and kitchen and travels often -- from Tokyo to Mexico City -- to collaborate with others.
About Chef Ángel VázquezVázquez is a native of Puebla, Mexico who worked in restaurants in New York City, Paris, Thailand, and Barcelona as a young chef. Those international influences can be found on the menu at his Puebla restaurant Intro. He also has three other restaurants in Puebla, Salomé, Augurio and Carbon. He was awarded a Gold medal by FHA Singapore 2010, was a contestant on Netflix’s The Final Table and won Best New Restaurant at the 2017 Gourmet Awards.
MEDIA CONTACTSHeather Kirk, Immedia PR (Culinary and News Queries)email@example.comCalgary: 403 910 8910Toronto: 416 500 1752
France Savard (Hotel Queries)Alt Hotels Senior Public Relations Coordinator/Coordonnatrice senior relations firstname.lastname@example.orgT. 514.954.0702C. 514.830.5334