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Chef Connie DeSousa is co-executive chef and co-owner of CHARCUT Roast House in Calgary. (Greg Henkenhaf/Greg Henkenhaf)
Chef Connie DeSousa is co-executive chef and co-owner of CHARCUT Roast House in Calgary. (Greg Henkenhaf/Greg Henkenhaf)

What chefs eat for dinner: pretzels, poutine and pickles Add to ...

Connie DeSousa, 29, is co-executive chef and co-owner of CHARCUT Roast House in Calgary and recent finalist in Top Chef Canada (she conceded defeat to Dale McKay). The former ballerina is a big supporter of the local food movement. We asked her what she ate on a recent Saturday:

10 a.m. - Every morning I go for a run, about 30 minutes, because while the food that I cook is healthy, it's not necessarily low in calories. After I got back, I had a fruit smoothie. It had bananas and blueberries mixed into plain yogurt that I sweeten.

12 p.m. - Saturdays I go to the local farmers' market with my co-executive chef John Jackson. We pick up our fresh vegetables there. I was snacking on some of the local green beans, asparagus, first-of-the-season cherry tomatoes and beautiful, really thin-skinned cucumbers that we found. John and I like to taste-test before we buy.

3:30 p.m. - While we were preparing for the dinner menu - we have this shaved fennel salad with the last-of-the-season Okanagan apples - I was shaving these Pink Lady apples on the mandoline slicer. When they would get to the point that there was too little left to slice, I would eat the remnants. My diet is kind of strange because I find that when you're working on the menu and you're hungry, you taste things better. But I do snack on strange things while we're cooking, like our house-made, paper-thin, supercrispy bacon or a wedge of cave-aged, very aromatic, local gouda.

10 p.m. - Every Saturday, Jack and I sit down with our partners, who are also owners of CHARCUT, and we have everything on the menu. It's like a giant, kind of medieval feast. We started off with our preserved Italian-style, in-house pretzels and paired with local mustard and house-made pickles and pickled beets. I love pickles, they are one of my favourite things. We also snacked on poutine, which is made with truffle-chicken gravy and freshly shipped Quebec cheese curds. Then we shared all of the entrées - including our spit-roasted prime rib, which just the smells alone make my mouth water - while we sipped on some Blasted Church merlot, which is from the Okanagan Valley. For dessert, I love chocolate so I always opt for a chocolate dessert. Desserts are the one thing we don't share at the table. I had the Verona chocolate semifreddo. It's just a simple chocolate mousse that is semi-frozen and sliced into wedges. I also had a hot chocolate because I don't drink coffee. This was a pretty typical day, believe it or not!

As told to Madeleine White.

This interview has been condensed and edited.

Editor's note: An earlier online version of this story incorrectly referenced John Jackson as Jack.

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