Vancouver chef Dale MacKay to open new restaurant in Saskatoon

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      Vancouver chef and restaurateur Dale MacKay is headed to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Nearly six months after closing both of his downtown restaurants, ensemble and ensembleTap, MacKay is planning to open a new restaurant in his hometown.

      “I’m negotiating with two different spaces right now, but I don’t have the space yet so I don’t have a full layout of what it’s going to be,” MacKay told the Georgia Straight by phone today (February 15).

      While the winner of the inaugural season of Top Chef Canada may not know what his restaurant will look like, he’s confident in the type of food it will offer.

      “It’s going to be basically a bistro, and the plan is to have a small specialty butcher shop in the same space,” he said. “We’re doing a lot of stuff like the sausages we used to do at Tap and things like pre-done duck confit, so a lot of things for people to take home and fix themselves.”

      In Saskatoon, MacKay will be working alongside familiar faces. Christopher Cho, who was the bar manager at ensemble before becoming the general manager at ensembleTap, will help MacKay run his front of house. Vancouver chef Nathan Guggenheimer, who previously worked with MacKay as chef de cuisine at DB Bistro Moderne, will also be moving to the prairies.

      “All my family’s really in Regina…but I’m a Saskatoon guy,” MacKay said. “I think it’s going to be good. I’m looking forward to it.”

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      Feb 15, 2013 at 5:51pm

      First Geroy now Dale Saskatchewan's taking all our talent.
      Great for Saskatchewan bad for BC!


      Feb 15, 2013 at 10:00pm

      Let's see, he was at "Lumiere" which closed.
      Then his next two restaurants "ensemble" and "ensemble Tap" closed on the same day. Of course the liquor laws, minimum wage etc. were blamed for this.
      Maybe the guy can't cook food people like?


      Feb 16, 2013 at 4:13pm

      Unfortunately, I was lured back to Saskatchewan with a job offer. Things looked good until I realized the "boom" consisted of the construction of one new downtown building since 1985, lower wages than on the coast and a far higher cost of living. The rents are far higher as well. The price of food currently runs at around 150% of that on the coast. Butter costs $7 (apparently there are no cattle on the prairies) & a six-pack that was $12 on the coast can cost $20 here.

      Minus 45 on a good day as well. I wish Dale the best of luck in the city where Tim Horton's is the very definition of haute cuisine.


      Feb 18, 2013 at 6:16pm

      Wow. pretty ignorant asumption Cathy. Lumier closing had nothing to do with the food, in fact it was voted the best food in vancouver on several ocassions. Pretty clear that you are not a buisness person and have no clue as to the operating costs involved in running a restraunt in vancouver. Considering he has been voted vancouvers best chef several time and oh ya almost forgot...he was voted Canadas TOP chef. Pretty sure he cooks food that people like. Saskatoon deserves talent like mackays and will appreciate the experience of eating his creations.


      Feb 19, 2013 at 11:37pm

      Wow Scott. And you missed her point. I think when Cathy said "people" she meant general public kind of people. You know, the ones that go out for dinner once every week or so. No one (so far) has questioned ability to cook food that judges like. But judges and regular people are different.


      Feb 22, 2013 at 11:21am

      I agree that food quality or cpnsumer preference had really nothing to do with the closure of his two restaraunts. Under captialized and over ambitious would probably be at the heart of that discussion. We see this over and over again with great chefs who have lousy business acumen. Lets hope he learnt from this experience and his next backers have some deep pockets.


      Mar 17, 2013 at 10:49pm

      hope he does well, seven dollars for butter, not likely


      Apr 4, 2013 at 8:27pm

      Poor Bob. He sure doesn't know his prices...I hope he doesn't do the grocery shopping for his house. We visited Dale's Ensemble when we visited Van City...a memorable night. We are looking forward to having Dale's food in Saskatoon...can't wait! Our friends in Van miss his place. Maybe he was overly ambitious with opening Tap...


      Apr 5, 2013 at 4:53pm

      Yay, great news for us!! We live in Vancouver but are moving back to Saskatoon very soon. So happy to hear Dale MacKay will be there with a new restaurant. What a treat for us and for Saskatoon!! Bob, are you kidding me with your prices?!?! Living on the coast is FAR more expensive than SK, I think you should recheck your numbers. And Tim Horton's = haute cuisine? I think you need to find some new friends. Saskatoon is much more diverse than you give it credit for.


      Apr 7, 2013 at 7:19am

      I have been in the food business for thirty years. My question would be how do you close two major restaurants. And just move to open another! Who paid a