CHARCUT Roast House Co-Owner John Jackson announces bar heavy Christopher Cho has arrived in Calgary, making his mark among the wine-and-spirits set with deft twists on the classics. One of Canada’s most notable barkeeps is transforming the popular restaurant’s drinks methods and menu behind the bar during a significant stint, over several months, in advance of opening Chef Dale MacKay’s next restaurant in Saskatchewan later this year.
“Since drinks matter to the CHARCUT experience, we set out to find a true-tops beverage professional to add to the team,” says Jackson. “Christopher will add a lot to the scene, city and the humble bar at CHARCUT. Feeling lucky to lure him for a time, at a pivotal time in his career.”
No stranger to working alongside leading chefs, Cho is known for matching excellent drinks with fresh, seasonal culinary fare. From briny to savoury to sweet, Cho is designing a fluid list to enhance and elevate the flavours from the awards-winning kitchen.
CHARCUT's house-made stamp makes its way to the bar too through natural, local ingredients where possible. Drinks at CHARCUT are best enjoyed sampling food and great conversation at the communal table. Seats at the intimate bar are favoured by Calgary’s downtown crowd, popular all day long. They overlook the bustle and a backbar with an Enoteca system for great wines by the glass and preferred bottles like Antinori, Tiganello and Brancaia, il Blu from Italy’s Tuscany region, and Napa Valley's Duckhorn Paraduxx or Red Cap Vineyards' Cabernet Sauvignon.
He shakes and stirs fresh herbs and fruit, natural sweeteners, house-made syrups, and a honed variety of quality spirits to enhance each glass. Cho is now serving from a fresh, world-wise list to complement the extensive beer program spearheaded by the CHARCUT beer steward Kirk Bodnar as well as the chef's creations. A sample of cocktails Cho is serving now includes:
Sake. Ginseng & Aloe Syrup. Elderflower Liqueur. Rosemary.
Bombay Gin. Honey Cinnamon Syrup. Muddled Preserved Apples. Lemon Juice. Egg Whites.
WHEN FIGS FLY
Bulliet Bourbon. Cointreau. Sage. Fig Jam. Fig Shrub. Lemon Juice. Walnut Bitters.
“Calgary is basking in a whole new light now and I bring what I can through strong drinks,” says Cho. “In equal measure, I am certain to learn a lot from the people and my peers here to advance my craft.”
Born (1983) in the Caipirinha capital of Sao Paulo, Brazil, Christopher moved to the Cosmopolitan city of Toronto (1988) and now resides in downtown Calgary, birthplace of the Caesar.
Graduated (2003) from the Food and Beverage Management program at Fanshawe College in London, Ontario and then honed his skills with a three-year management stint (2005-2008) at the Windermere House in the renowned Muskoka Lake district.
Moved from Ontario to Vancouver where he added expeditor to his broad skill set.
Passionate about the convergence of food, spirits, people and relationships on the cocktail scene, Cho made the transition from the kitchen to the bar.
Raw talent and whimsy in mixology have opened doors to restaurants by Canada’s top chefs, like Ensemble and Ensemble Tap with Dale MacKay, Fable Kitchen with Trevor Bird, and now CHARCUT with Jackson and DeSousa.
In 2012, Christopher participated in Restaurant Rumble, a boxing event organized by Aprons For Gloves Boxing Association, where he was victorious in his category, walking away with an amateur boxing record and a Junior Featherweight Championship title.
In 2013, he worked alongside Dale Mackay at the Cayman Island Cookout with some of the best chefs in the world today.