New Meets Nostalgia on Calgary’s Riverfront as Plans for charbar Take Shape

charbar represents strong Alberta roots – from the chefs and ingredients to the community and the city’s most promising heritage building redevelopment – with global culinary inspiration. The city’s newest meeting place is on schedule to open doors in just over a year. 

Calgary AB: Early 2015 sees charbar open in Calgary’s downtown scenic waterfront as part of the East Village’s promised main attraction -- the historic Simmons Building -- along with a Phil & Sebastian coffee roastery and a bakery by Sidewalk Citizen Bakery’s Aviv Fried.

Showing panoramic views of the Bow River, St Patrick’s Island and the Calgary skyline from its rooftop dining and event venue, charbar is the latest chef-owned restaurant by Calgary’s Connie DeSousa and John Jackson. Together, they proudly introduce Chef Jessica Pelland to the position of Executive Chef.

Upon opening, charbar guests will travel with Connie, John and Jessica in and around their own Alberta backyard to places beyond -- Spain and Portugal, Argentina and Peru -- as journeys lend inspiration to the menu and cooking style. The charbar menu tells stories about people and places. The cuisine that unfolds here derives from first-hand learnings old and new-world techniques to define a unique charbar culture.

The first chapter of the charbar story starts with what the chefs call “hearth and embers”. Cooking over live fire a primitive technique that lets the ingredients speak for themselves. . To bring this to life, the chefs have selected a dramatic focal point for their work and guest’s enjoyment at charbar: a custom grill hand-made by Grillworks,® a family-run wood-burning institution for more than 30 years.

“This original Grillery is at the core of every grill this custom shop crafts and will make for an ultimate piece of custom kitchen equipment for Connie, Jessica and our other charbar chefs,” says Jackson. “This majestic open-fire centrepiece becomes as dramatically important to the room’s design as to our cooking at charbar. Understanding how to work the gear best is a first step.”

“We will be travelling to Northern Michigan to watch as our new grill is built,” says DeSousa. “Then we take to the road to visit other renowned kitchens in the US to try it out, learn from others and bring our skill home.”

About charbar
Opening in 2015, charbar brings Calgary a new way to experience food, drink, art and socializing at the Simmons in East Village. Offering delicious fare from the main floor to the massive roof-deck with river views bar none, charbar draws on international inspiration from mentors, peers and food lovers everywhere. Further word about its next exciting chapter promises to be announced as details become available. Stay tuned onfacebook/charbarcalgary and Twitter @charbar_yyc

CHEF: Jessica Pelland, charbar restaurant & rooftop patio 
charbar Executive Chef Jessica Pelland is an award winning new radical and fierce competitor in the culinary arena. A born-and-bred Calgarian, her culinary roots are loyal to Alberta soil with international inspiration and flavour interpretation. Since 2010, Chef Pelland has been cutting her teeth and sharpening her skills working alongside John Jackson and Connie DeSousa at CHARCUT Roast House as their right hand. Known as an ambitious powerhouse in the kitchen, she specializes in whole-animal butchery, curing, grilling, roasting and works magic in her refined rustic cooking style. In 2015, Chef Pelland begins a new journey as Executive Chef of charbar; an innovative ingredient-driven restaurant that promises to entice Calgarians and visitors with new ways to experience food, drink, art, and socializing. Passionate about travel and exploring food communities, Chef Pelland prepares for the ultimate culinary adventure in 2014, where she will eat and cook her way through iconic culinary destinations like New York, San Francisco and further south to Peru and Argentina. This journey of discovery will define and inspire charbar’s food philosophy and identity. At the helm of charbar, Jessica will have the opportunity to stage and collaborate with some of the worlds most influential chefs of this decade.

About Grillworks 
Grillworks Inc was founded by Charles Eisendrath, a foreign correspondent for Time Magazine in the 60s and early 70s. After being exposed to some of the best outdoor cuisine in the world, he set about designing his own "dream grill" focusing on making grilling over live wood fires easy. Fourteen prototypes and countless material combinations later he presented to perplexed family and friends a stainless steel machine that satisfied his requirements and even had a unique beauty about it. He dubbed it "The Grillery". Many dinner parties followed. The design was soon granted a US Patent. After years of success, Charles passed the torch onto his son Ben who keeps the fires burning today as CEO and President. Grillworks® has been a wood-burning institution for more than 30 years.

“A cult favorite among chefs.” – The New York Times
“It is such a dynamic machine that we now customize our style of cooking to it. We're constantly challenged to use it to its full advantage, which makes it less like a tool than a source of inspiration.” - Dan Barber, owner and Executive Chef, Blue Hill at Stone Barns
“Brilliantly thought out and well-constructed.” - James Beard, dean of classic American cuisine

Media Contacts for charbar
Heather Kirk 416 500 1752
Jessie Cayabo