Chef Zach Eaton has been in restaurants his entire working life (16 years), starting as a dishwasher and working his way up through the ranks. He attended NAIT’s culinary program in 2014, where he met Michelle (Tryst’s owner and all-around badass) and Hailey (sous chef and Bill Murray fanatic).
His cooking is heavily influenced by people he’s met and worked with over the years. It also consists almost entirely of things that he wants to eat. He never really had a huge interest in cooking as a kid – though he’s always loved eating – but the older he gets the more he realizes that a lot of the people in his family and neighbours he had growing up had a passion for food that influenced him in ways he’s still discovering.
What made you want to become a chef?
“I initially started working in kitchens purely because I was a kid who needed a job. However, I quickly became enthralled with the pace and camaraderie of the kitchen, and fell completely in love with food. Now, I cook because I want to share my passion and tell stories through the food.”
Why do you use Alberta ingredients in your kitchen?
“Restaurants are all about people, being able to get to know and work with the people producing the ingredients we use is amazing! The food community in Alberta is incredible and I love being a part of it. It’s so important to keep as much money as possible in the community so we can all grow and flourish together. Not to mention there are loads of truly outstanding ingredients grown here!”
What is your favourite Alberta ingredient to use?
“Do I have to pick just one? My favourite ingredients change seasonally but Alberta pork is always on the menu in some form!”
What dish should guests be sure to try on your menu?
“The pork shoulder lettuce wraps using Irving’s Farm pork shoulder and Alberta grown vegetables.”
What is a favourite kitchen/cooking memory?
“Sitting down for family meal (pre-covid) is always a highlight, it’s so so important to take a few minutes to sit and eat with your team and just chat about life. My specific favourite memory is probably the soft launch at Tryst, it was incredible getting to feed all my family and friends in one place at one time.”
Why do you take part in Alberta on the Plate?
“I’m always excited to be a part of something that promotes Alberta producers, restaurants, and other food related small businesses.”