Chef Landon Schwarz grew up in a small forestry and mining town in Central BC and moved to the Thompson Okanagan in his late teen years. Most of his time was spent playing and competing in sports. At 19, he moved to Kelowna to attend Culinary School and completed his apprenticeship under Chef Rod Butters at RauDZ Regional Table. That is where his love for locality and “farm to table” took form and has been a staple in his life as a Chef ever since. In 2015, he moved to Alberta and has really grabbed on to everything that Alberta has to offer. He has put roots down in Calgary now and plans on raising his family here. He and his wife are expecting their first child in September 2023.
What made you want to become a chef?
“I often say that cooking found me. It was never something I imagined myself doing. I was always a really picky eater growing up until I got a job in a small bakery & café shortly after I graduated high school. The owner grew a lot of his own food for the restaurant and made everything from scratch, I fell in love with the knife work and the fast pace. What was originally just a summer job, ended up being my career.”
Why do you use Alberta ingredients in your kitchen?
“I think the real question should be why not? Alberta has an abundance of high-quality ingredients and great infrastructure with regards to indoor farming facilities, which I think are going to become crucial to the future of sustainability. Supporting local and cooking in season are a big part of my DNA, it can be tough during the winter, but it is still possible.”
What is your favourite Alberta ingredient to use?
“That is a very difficult question to answer. But if I had to choose 1, it would have to be Taber Corn. It is most definitely the best corn I’ve ever had in my life, and I grew up in a place that is well known for its corn, so that is saying something. It’s extremely versatile and is perfectly balanced in sweetness and texture. *Small, zero waste tip* you can turn your corn cobs into charcoal and use them to cook with and your husks as fire starter.”
What dish should guests be sure to try on your menu?
“As I write this, we are currently transitioning to our summer menu at The Nash. At this stage in the season, we will have many items that will be comprised of ingredients that are exclusively from Alberta, but The Beetroot Salad is sure to be a hot seller during the patio season and beyond.”
What is a favourite kitchen/cooking memory?
“My Mom has always been very active in the kitchen, she’s a great cook and we never went hungry. We always spent a lot of time from a young age in the kitchen at home. When I look back now, I think that is where it all started for me. Those are moments that I will always cherish from my life.”
Why do you take part in Alberta on the Plate?
“I think it is important to showcase what Alberta has to offer. I feel that the ingredients here are highly underrated compared to other places in our vast country and it’s a great opportunity to show Albertans what they can get in their own backyard. Local & seasonal is already a huge part of our regular programming and we are always excited for the opportunity to tell our guests where their food comes from.”