Chef Darren MacLean came to be known in Calgarys’ food scene with his first foray, downtownfood which opened in 2012 The humble “new Canadian” bistro became a favourite with diners and critics alike. Hailed as one of Avenue Magazines best new restaurants in 2013 dtf has received numerous awards including two back-to-back podium placements with Gold Medal Plates, Calgary Oceanwise Chowder Chowdown Champion as well being selected for one of Canada’s Top 100 best restaurants in 2015.
Integrity is paramount for MacLean, especially when it comes to sustainability. So much that he created Calgary’s first fully integrated rooftop ecosystem complete with solar powered drip irrigation and beehives. The honey produced was used in a collaborative brew with Big Rock Brewery aptly dubbed “killer buzz” This passion for sustainability has persisted to such a degree that Chef MacLean has now partnered up with 4K Farms to produce a truly unique pig called TambutaTM. The first of it’s kind in western Canada. These pasture raised pigs are reared on organic BC hazelnuts, local squash, apples and beer mash. While these ideals may seem extreme for most, it is another way to ensure that both the quality of the ingredients and the quality of life for the animals themselves help to assure our food security for the future.
MacLean’s food philosophy is one he calls “new Canadian” where he engages our country’s rich cultural mosaic and utilizes these flavours and applies them to our local commodities. He often quotes Chef Daniel Bouloud “our gastronomic palette has no geographic boundaries.” This allows MacLean the freedom to apply techniques that best serve the product he is working with; instead of applying a style to a food, he allows the food to tell him what style will best serve it.
MacLean will soon apply this philosophy in his newest restaurant Shokunin opening in Calgary in the Fall of 2015.