Sage’s executive chef Shane Chartrand brings his progressive Indigenous cuisine to the world
Photography credit: Walter Tychnowicz
Shane Chartrand never set out to be an executive chef that would be given the reins of various high-class restaurants, appear regularly on TV and in magazines or get noticed worldwide for his Progressive Indigenous food. But through hard work and a keen sense of the value of continual education and growth, Chartrand has made his mark and more on the local, national and international cooking scene.
As the executive chef of the award-winning Sage Restaurant at the River Cree Casino and Resort, Chartrand has come a long way from his humble beginnings as a teenage dishwasher.
“I saw the older kids cooking at the restaurant and I was fascinated by it, and I just wanted to be cooking alongside with them. I didn’t really have a talent at the beginning. I was always creative but I took me a long time to start expressing myself,” said Chartrand.
After years of cooking menu-specific meals with very specific ingredients, Chartrand says it took him until his early 20s before he started to find his “niche.”
“I was cooking the way everyone else did and I just followed suit, but then I started reading books and browsing various restaurant websites and I was fascinated with how everything was constantly changing with fusion foods, so that was my first step to realizing there was much more to learn than what I had learned in culinary school or in hotels,” explained Chartrand.
In the past 10 years, Chartrand said his style has been very progressive cuisine and he works hard to keep up on some of the latest and greatest cuisine trends around the world where he can build on or be inspired by for his own creations.
And his unique take on progressive Indigenous cuisine has garnered Chartrand international recognition. Being Aboriginal himself, Chartrand says he is happy to see his take on Indigenous food being well-received, and he has even been the subject of two documentaries.
Closer to home, Chartrand has been a regular on many local TV shows, such as Citytv’s Breakfast Television, Global’s The Morning News and CTV Morning Live, as well as being featured in many local magazines including Avenue Magazine and WHERE Magazine.
But beyond being recognized by media for his style and personality, as well as his work in the community, Chartrand is continually recognized by his peers as well. Among his accolades, Chartrand has won Plate of the Year at the Chaine Des Rotisseurs in 2010, Silver Medal at the Gold Medal Plates 2012 and Bronze at the Gold Medal Plates in 2010. Chartrand is once again up for a chance to win Gold in the 2014 Gold Medal Plates Edmonton, being held to a sold-out crowd on October 23 at the Shaw Conference Centre.
“This will be the first time that I will be doing a First Nations dish in this event,” says Chartrand. “It has been weird though [at the Gold Medal Plates] in the past. I won a bronze the first year, then didn’t place, the third year I won a silver and last year I didn’t place, so I’m hoping the pattern will work for me this year,” he chuckled.
GAME ON! SAGE AND RIVER CREE EXECUTIVE CHEF SHANE CHARTRAND GOES BACK TO HIS FIRST NATION ROOTS
One of Chartrand’s famous Progressive Indigenous dishes. As a member of the Enoch First Nation, Chartrand returned to his roots for this dish.
with garlic dressing
and reggiano cheese
Executive Chef Shane Chartrand says he was inspired to use farm fresh ingredients with farm beets and Canadian cheese in this salad creation.