A City Full of Chef Crushes

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Winnipeg, Canada

So where are we on my ever growing list? There is Bertrand with his pulled pork sandwich, Sheldon who is likely going to win Top Chef and fiercely opinionated Isaac.

Little did I know I would land in Winnipeg and discover one great crush after another.


Chef Ben Kramer

Chef Ben Kramer

I dedicated an entire post last week about him, he is transforming the food program at the University of Winnipeg provoking many to call him the Jamie Oliver of Winnipeg. Don’t worry you don’t need to go to the school cafeteria to eat his food, he participates in many one-off events and I was lucky to eat his food at the River Pop Up.


scott bagshaw

Chef Scott Bagshaw

If you could only eat at one restaurant in Winnipeg it would have to be Deseo. I cannot rave enough about his food and his girlfriend serves excellent wine pairings. If you get a chance definitely have a chat with him, a bit quirky but definitely entertaining. When I told him I wanted to take his photo he ran to grab a bottle of alcohol to hold. Adorable and weird but the food was amazing.




We asked for Chef Bagshaw to choose the meal and it’s a wise move. My favourites were the sweetbreads and veal cheeks. Chef Kramer recommended the gnocchi with black garlic and black boar bacon and he was right – although you can’t really go wrong with black garlic or bacon, right?


Chef Alexander Svenne

Chef Chef Alexander Svenne  

Of this group of chefs he was one of the first to realize that Winnipeg had fine dining and burger joints but nothing in between. Bistro 7 ¼ is a fantastic place to grab a drink and have really good food. He also runs the kitchen for the Winnipeg Folk Festival, an amazing summer music festival in the city.


Bistro 7 1/4

Again we let him pick the dishes and I will be honest I’m not entirely keen on eating mussels when I’m not near an ocean but the food was fantastic. I’d say skip the mussels and go for the smoked meat board, pulled pork sliders or smoked duck tartine with foie gras mousse pickled zucchini and red wine pear.


Chef Mandel Hitzer

Chef Mandel Hitzer

The man behind the Raw: Almond River Pop Up, unfortunately he wasn’t there the night we ate at Deer + Almond as he was cooking on the frozen river. I did speak to him at the pop-up and he is unnervingly honest, unlike some arrogant chefs he tells us that he was lucky and fell into things. Given the number of interesting events he has been running I am not sure that is true but his modesty is refreshing.

Deer Almond

He has a really interesting menu the varies from soba noodles to pork belly. My favourites were the brussel sprouts with blue cheese, incredibly tender venison and a semifreddo dessert that I swore I would only take one bite of because “I don’t like dessert” but then I ate half of it. I also like how the restaurant doesn’t take itself too seriously, on the drinks menu you can order a mystery can of beer – which is literally a tall tin of beer that changes every night.


And just like that I doubled my chef crush list, this could be a dangerous year, especially as I head next to Finland.


Disclosure: I was a guest of Tourism Winnipeg but they did not request that I write a favourable review or include any chefs from Winnipeg restaurants in my chef crush list, but come on, these guys are adorable.

Join the Conversation

  1. I feel that garlic (nature’s antibiotic), is one the best ingredients a chef or amateur cook can use to add flavor, and it goes with most dishes. I’ve never heard of black garlic though, interesting.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Black garlic became really popular a few years ago, it is fermented and about 100 times more expensive than regular garlic but so worth it.

  2. Caroline Eubanks says:

    This was TOTALLY me this weekend. I was geeking out at a food and wine festival. Editing pictures now and it’s making me really depressed to be back home.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I hear ya on that one.

  3. Kieu ~ GQ trippin says:

    Now I’m crushing.. and hungry!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      It’s a good combination!

  4. A Montrealer Abroad (@amontrealer) says:

    “smoked duck tartine with foie gras mousse pickled zucchini and red wine pear.”

    oh my gosh. seriously. how did canada end up being such a delicious destination that doesn’t have anything to do with maple syrup?

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I think this is wildly different than what most people would think represents local food in Canada.

  5. Andi of My Beautiful Adventures says:

    A man that can cook well is automatically hot in my book!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Mine as well!

  6. Stephanie - The Travel Chica says:

    Most importantly… which ones are single?

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Sadly, none. But it’s probably for the best, Winnipeg is too cold for me!

  7. If “restaurant photographer” were a full-time profession, I would tell you to get into it, girl! Love all your food, interior a chef portrait shots.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      If it were a full-time gig I’d be all over it.

  8. TammyOnTheMove says:

    Why has nobody ever told me about combining Brussel Sprouts with blue cheese? I feel like I haven’t lived.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      You must try it, so amazing.

  9. John @ Imperative Travel says:

    Thats made me super hungry now! very impressed with the standard of cooking too, way better than I could do.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      These guys are pretty talented, the Winnipeg food scene is really changing.

  10. Just had lunch, but I wouldn’t mind eating again after reading this…

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Me either 🙂

  11. Cool restaurants! 🙂 And great food photos. Chefs look like they have some unique style!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Really interesting approach to food, and it just gives people another reason to visit Winnipeg.

  12. Chefs really are the new rock stars. I love it, since I’m such a foodie!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I would much rather eat than listen to music. Although ideally you don’t have to give one of them up.

  13. Emily in Chile says:

    It’s a good thing I’m going out for a nice dinner tonight otherwise I think I’d be licking my screen after all those photos!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Hard to feel bad for you being in Santiago. At least you are warm!

  14. you and your chef crushes… it’s neverending.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      It seems that way…

  15. Jonathan Look, Jr. says:

    I don’t know about “chef” crushes but I am definitely crushing on the food!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      The food makes the man 🙂

  16. Who would have thought Winnipeg has such an amazing food scene! Was visiting with people all the time when in Winnipeg, so only had ‘Mennonite food’ which is great but not quite as gourmetesque 😉

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      It was definitely a surprise for me, but Winnipeg as a city always seems to leave an impression with me. It doesn’t get the credit it deserves.

  17. Lauren @ roamingtheworld says:

    Yum yum yum.

    Love learning about the food scenes in different places in North America! who knew?!

    Hope you find delicious food in Finland too. I’ll be reading closely as I’ve been thinking of heading there in may or june!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Yeah it is interesting to see how smaller cities are developing, in some cases I think a bit of distance from the bigger cities is a good thing.

  18. Micamyx|Senyorita says:

    Good Food + Hot Chef = Yumyum Dinner. Take out, please? 😛

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I just need to add the word single and I’m with you!

  19. Your food posts kill me in a good way.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I’ll take it!

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