10 Questions with Blair Lebsack (RGE RD: Edmonton, AB)

10 Questions with Blair Lebsack (RGE RD: Edmonton, AB)

September 10, 2015

We asked Chef and Owner Blair Lebsack from Edmonton’s RGE RD 10 tasty questions to get to know him better:

1. What does “good food” mean to you?
Good food starts with stewarding the land. Farmers that respect the soil and environment in which the food is grown and raised set the groundwork for what eventually ends up on the table. Good food is then in the hands of cooks who rely on the best ingredients to create a wonderful marriage of flavours.

2. What was the last meal you ate that you loved?
I am in a good line of work for eating food I love. I recently went to a bbq at our friends (farmers to be honest) where we ate porchetta. The pig was raised by them, butchered for the party and slow roasted over wood for hours. Everything was delicious.

3. What’s your favourite dish to share with friends and family?
This time of the year it is succotash. This dish builds on flavours based on sweet corn, salty bacon, spicy peppers, and it pairs so well with pork or fish or seafood.

4. What’s your favourite ingredient to work with?
Sunchokes. Delicious root vegetable!

5. If you could pick anyone to cook for, who would it be?
Paul Bocuse.

6. What’s your most beloved food from childhood?
Saskatoon berries

7. What’s your favourite song to listen to in the kitchen?
Anything from Arcade Fire.

8. What do you think needs to change in Canada’s food system?
Labelling. Labels are still mis-leading and counter productive. 2 examples: Product of Canada can mean anything that has been repackaged in Canada, this undermines our hard working farmers that steward the land. Cheese, the best before date typically is before the cheese is even at an age it is at its best and can be completely enjoyed, yet consumers and grocery stores are discarding it because it is past the date. Many food items can be put in this category and this is food waste at its most wasteful.

9. Why do chefs make great advocates for change?
Mainly because working with foods everyday we see first hand how consumers’ tastes and preferences evolve. If we can help to make an ingredient popular that used to be discarded then we win on all levels.

10. Name and describe a person/organization that you believes does inspiring work in helping to build a fairer, healthier, and/or sustainable food system.
Cook it Raw, founded by Alessandro Porcelli meets all of these standards. Cook it Raw works closely with chefs, but leaves its mark by ensuring clean, healthy and sustainable food is first on the minds of the community as a whole.