Chef Connie DeSousa
Dubbed the Primal Ballerina – for her years of formal dance training juxtaposed with her meat-centric culinary mastery – DeSousa is one of Canada’s Top Chefs having starred as a finalist in the Food Network culinary competition and a Tourism Calgary Culinary Ambassador. She is known for stand-out butchery skills. Yes, she can debone a pig’s head in record time. Far from gratuitous, DeSousa and her restaurant are true to time honoured culinary techniques, sustainability and walking the “toe-to-tail” talk. In a “back-to-basics style” she expertly prepares authentic, regional food at great value and to high critical acclaim.
DeSousa obtained Le Cordon Bleu Paris Certification and graduated on the Dean's List with honours from the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology’s culinary program. She competed with the Alberta Culinary Team at the World Culinary Olympics in Erfurt Germany. She worked in Koln, Germany at Taku Restaurant under Chef Sven Feldman. In 2005, Connie opened the Mobil 5-Star St. Regis Hotel, San Francisco. While in San Francisco, DeSousa was awarded many distinctions including the nomination for Rising Star "Chef" San Francisco. While working in the United States, Connie was also given the opportunity to train and stage at many award-winning restaurants, including Chef Jean Georges Vongerichten's Michelin 3-Star restaurant, Jean Georges, in New York City, and Chef Michael Tusk's Quince Restaurant in San Francisco. Before opening CHARCUT, Connie worked at Alice Waters' Chez Panisse in Berkeley, California. This experience had a tremendous influence on DeSousa's style of cuisine.
DeSousa was recognized nationally as Canada's 2013 Outstanding Chef in the GE Monogram-Terroir Awards and received the 2013 Vacay.ca award for Top Female Chef in the country, chosen by 34 judges from across Canada. She was a judge on Food Network Canada’s Top Chef Canada Season 3 Finale, filmed in Calgary and aired in June 2013.