Chef Amber Ternes’ kitchen career started 15 years ago, as a dishwasher at a hotel in her home town of Turner Valley, Alberta. Before graduating high school in 2008, she was promoted to Kitchen Manager. Shortly after graduation, Chef Ternes started her apprenticeship under a classically-trained French Chef in a small fine dining smokehouse that once was a ranch house built in 1895. She really loved it there and ended up managing the restaurant until it closed.
In 2010, Chef Ternes helped manage a small family-run restaurant until moving to Medicine Hat in 2013. She started at Paradise Valley Golf Course shortly after the move and has made it her home away from home. During her employment at Paradise Valley, she has gotten married, had a daughter and challenged her red seal exam.
What made you want to become a chef?
“I grew up cooking with my grandmother, helping her prep large family meals. I always loved seeing the family come together, we would sit down and reconnect. Food brings people together and I wanted to be a part of that.”
Why do you use Alberta ingredients in your kitchen?
“The fresher the ingredient is, the better it tastes. It’s just that simple.”
What is your favourite Alberta ingredient to use?
“I know my answer should be beef as Alberta beef is known around the world as some of the best. But being in Medicine Hat, I’m lucky enough to be able to work with some amazing greenhouses growing such a large variety of fresh vegetables. When you think of Alberta, you rarely think of red peppers or butter lettuce. But some of the tastiest fresh veg is grown right here in Medicine Hat.”
What dish should guests be sure to try on your menu?
“One of my favorite dishes on our menu is the Roasted Red Pepper Penne with Garlic Meatballs. The sauce is made in house with fresh hand-picked red peppers and tomatoes from a local greenhouse that we then roast off. It’s served with 100% sirloin meatballs and baked with fresh parmesan – it’s even good enough to eat cold!”
What is a favourite kitchen/cooking memory?
“The first time I ran a dinner service as the Head Chef of a smokehouse, the building was quite small with a tiny open kitchen. After the craziness of the service was done, I could hear guests laughing and talking, enjoying their meals. I was reminded of cooking in my grandmother’s kitchen with a house full of family. It was in my happy place.”
Why do you take part in Alberta on the Plate?
“I feel like this last year  has been exceptionally difficult on the restaurant industry and our suppliers. Supporting each other has never been more important. It’s not just about the public supporting their favorite local spots but local businesses supporting one another spreading the word of great food and great ingredients. If the businesses in a community are doing well, then the community itself will flourish. Community has never been more needed than it is right now.”