It’s been just over a year since Sal Howell of the renowned River Cafe and her tireless team opened Deane House at the confluence of the two rivers that define the early history of Calgary.
The Bow and the Elbow were a traditional meeting place for the First Nations communities and it was at this watery crossroad that Fort Calgary was constructed in 1875 by the Northwest Mounted Police. The community sprang up around the fort clustering along the banks. It was a multi year dream punctuated by a major flood that hit all the national media and countless delays that would cause other less-determined people to simply walk away, but Ms. Howell is not faint of heart. The results of the restoration, the haunting of Prairie antique outlets, the honing of the menus to source the best local ingredients is something for which all Albertans can be mightily proud.
Today this region is known as Inglewood and it has some of the oldest architecture in this hyper-modern Prairie city. It’s also one of the most vital culinary communities and is home to Rouge and Knifewear, a must-visit shop for any chef.
The culinary philosophy of Deane House, as with River Café, is deeply rooted in sustainability. Decision-making around all aspects of operations is governed by a commitment to championing local food economies. “How can we lessen our food-print / foot-print? How local can we be? These are the questions we ask ourselves,” says Howell. One answer is found in the edible garden planted on the grounds, and in their support of other urban gardening initiatives. Long-standing partnerships with organizations such as Ocean Wise, which promote sustainable seafood choices are also important.
“Environmentally-driven practices are not always obvious to diners, and often cost more, but we continue to devote our time and resources to these efforts,” explains Howell. “We do everything in our power to conserve on water and energy, which dictates things like what equipment we purchase, to when we turn on the lights in the dining room.” But it’s the food that will make this restaurant one of the real north stars in Canadian dining.
Chef Chris Barton, a born and bred Calgarian, graduated from the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (S.A.I.T.) one of Canada’s most highly regarded culinary schools. He headed to Europe to work in several Michelin-starred restaurants before coming home. His food has always been exceedingly ingredient-centric and goodness knows, Alberta overflows with some of the most interesting foods on the continent. A lovely example (at left) is the poached Alberta Trout with crispy sunchokes, pickled cucumber, and dill. The trout are raised by local producer @alberta_trout_inc (formally Allen’s Trout Farm) the only green fish farm in Alberta.
Contact Deane House at the number below to reserve a Food Day Canada table.
Contactez Deane House directement, au numéro ci-dessous, afin de faire votre Journée des terroirs réservation.
806 9 Ave SE,
Calgary, AB T2G 5E1
Photo Credit (Trout) Marnie Burkhart