The top chef in Canada is set to do some home cooking for a change. The very first winner of Top Chef Canada, Dale MacKay, is to move from Vancouver back to his home town of Saskatoon.
“I’m super, super excited to get back to Saskatoon and hope to give Saskatoon something they don’t have already,” the 33-year-old chef says. MacKay left home on the day he turned 15 years old and started in the restaurant industry, working as a dish washer. When he was in his 20s he worked for infamous celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay and actually ended up helping him to open up restaurants in Tokyo and London. MacKay was also the executive chef at Lumiere in Vancouver, and in 2011 he opened his own places, Ensemble and Ensemble Tap, in the same year that he won Top Chef Canada.
MacKay has already been scouting for locations for a restaurant in Saskatoon and this past summer he made the decision to close both of his restaurants in Vancouver because of the high cost of the overheads, with just the rent for both places costing him as much as $40,000 per month.
“It was tough but I pulled out a lot earlier than most people would and saw the writing on the wall,” MacKay notes. “I’d rather say I got over-ambitious than let the food and the restaurant quality go down.” MacKay wants to have his relocation complete and a new restaurant in Saskatoon up and running by the summer.