Golden Plates 2012: Chef Dale MacKay aims for greatness

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Chef Dale MacKay is the proprietor/chef of ensemble Restaurant and Bar and ensemble Tap . Born in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan in 1979, prairie boy Dale MacKay knew that he wanted to become a great Canadian chef from an early age, beginning his kitchen career as a fry cook at a Vancouver diner a few doors down from where ensemble is located today. Soon after, MacKay boldly headed to London to ask celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay for a job in his restaurant, despite lacking experience and a CV.

As Chef Ramsay’s protégé, MacKay worked in London’s Claridge's Hotel and Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, and at The Conrad Tokyo Hotel in Tokyo. Before returning to Vancouver in 2007, MacKay worked as Executive Sous-chef at the London NYC Hotel, overseeing Restaurant Gordon Ramsay and Maze Restaurant.

Once back in Vancouver, MacKay became the executive chef of both Lumière and neighbouring db Bistro Moderne, where he mastered his signature method of applying French techniques to Pacific Northwest ingredients. After Lumière and db Bistro Moderne closed their doors in March of 2011, MacKay announced the opening of his first restaurant, ensemble, right before Top Chef Canada aired. On July 4, MacKay beat out 15 contestants and took the coveted Top Chef Canada title.

In his downtime, MacKay enjoys exploring the city with his son Ayden, spending time with family and friends, encouraging young chefs, and mentoring young men.

Ensemble Restaurant and Bar won the Golden Plate for Best New Casual Restaurant this year. Congratulations, Chef MacKay!

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