Women-led kitchens in Calgary

Long the domain of male chefs, restaurant kitchens are no longer an exclusive boys’ cookery club. Here's just a few of the city’s most talented culinary stars who just happen to be female. [Feature photo: Vero Bistro Moderne]

Vero Bistro Moderne

209 10 St NW, Calgary, AB T2N 1V5

Consistently a top-rated destination locally and at the national level, Jenny Chan’s Euro-contemporary Kensington restaurant continues to make a name for itself. Vero Bistro Moderne regulars would rather keep this tiny, ultra-cozy place all to themselves. Book a reservation well in advance, and sit down to housemade pasta dishes, seafood entrees and a constantly changing array of plates featuring Alberta meat and produce.

CHARCUT Roast House

101-303 Centre St SW, Calgary, AB T2G 2B9

One half of the chef-owner team behind CHARCUT Roast house, chef Connie DeSousa is one of Calgary’s best-known restaurateurs, and the eatery is often cited as one of the nation’s best. Described as urban-rustic, Alberta ingredients feature prominently in CHARCUT’s ever-evolving menu. Bestselling dishes include pig-head mortadella and spit-roasted, smoked rotisserie chicken and prime rib as well as poutine with truffle-chicken gravy. The partners have also launched Charbar, an Argentine-inspired barbecue restaurant in the East Village.

Shef's Fiery Kitchen

510 77 Ave SE, Calgary, AB T2H 1C3

A fixture at the Calgary Farmers’ Market, Shefali Somani and her sister Sharon operate Shef’s Fiery Kitchen. Chef Shef (gesundheit!) studied her spicy craft in Thailand and Bali. Returning to Calgary, she established her own food kiosk serving hot as well as frozen, take-home Thai and Indian food. Shef’s signature dishes include naanzzas (naan pizzas), butter chicken and various Tandoor and curry dishes. You can also find her curries at Calgary Co-op stores.

Nicole Gourmet

8001 11 Street SE, Calgary, AB T2H 0B8

A 2013 competitor on Top Chef Canada, Nicole Gomes is a familiar face on Calgary’s culinary scene. The seasoned chef and entrepreneur runs the smashingly successful Nicole Gourmet, a catering service that takes on the planning and service of mealtime events from house parties to large corporate functions. A graduate of Vancouver’s Dubrulle French Culinary School, she has notably worked in the kitchens of Mercato and Catch.

Charbar Restaurant Inc

618 Confluence Way Se, Calgary, AB T2G 0G1

Jessica Pelland began her culinary climb at the acclaimed CHARCUT under chefs Connie DeSousa and John Jackson. A winning contestant on Food Network’s Chopped Canada, she is now co-owner and executive chef of Charbar, CHARCUT’s sister spinoff, where her considerable butchery and cooking skills are put to work, including steering the restaurant’s catering operations.

Foreign Concept

1011 1 St SW, Calgary, AB T2R 1J2

A rising culinary star and killer competitor in local competitive cooking events, Jinhee Lee joined Foreign Concept, an "alternative Asian" eatery that opened its doors at the end of 2016. Now, as executive chef at the restaurant, she serves up dishes such as Alberta trout cha ca la vong and apple-braised pork karaage.

The quintessential Mexican meal, tacos are also a relatively scarce commodity in Calgary. However, we’ve done some digging and unearthed the select few restaurants that make truly marvelous versions of these hand-held snacks.
The city’s summer season features a delicious dance card of culinary festivals and events. Many, such as Stampede-time pancake breakfasts, are easy to access the day of, but the various tasting and tippling shindigs listed here can fill up quickly, so purchasing tickets sooner than later for these foodie festivities is recommended. Image credit: iStock.com/kasto80.
The city’s pathway system is one of the longest in North America. Given its lengthy stretches, the occasional rest and snack stop, though few and far between, are a welcome sight when walking, biking and inline skating. Here are a few restaurants, cafés and snack shacks located on or near our scenic cycling system. Image credit: iStock.com/mihailomilovanovic.
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