Jason is the Executive Chef at LANGDON HALL COUNTRY HOUSE HOTEL AND SPA in Cambridge and is an influential leader in the culinary industry. Some of his most notable achievements include opening two restaurants at the TIFF Bell Lightbox – O&B CANTEEN and the more upscale dining room and lounge LUMA. In 2015, Jason was awarded the International Rising Chef Award in Paris, France by Relais & Chateaux and recently, Langdon Hall was recognized for being the only restaurant in Ontario that has achieved the CAA 5 Diamond award for excellence in 2015. We caught up with Jason on his experience as an Influencer Chef and what it takes to make it in today’s competitive hospitality industry.
Tell us how you first started your culinary journey.
I think my journey starts way back to early childhood. My parents are wonderful cooks. We always eat well and they love to entertain. As a child, holidays were split up between grandparents in Perry Sound, Ontario (hunting, fishing, cottage life, cooking) and Amherst, Nova Scotia (on the ocean digging clams and razor fish, visiting the lobster boats, cabbage rolls, boiled dinners and baking bread).
Iron skillet fried pike, bass and pickerel were always a treat after a day fishing on the lake in Perry Sound. Hunting season meant venison and moose would hit the plate and there was always time to forage some wild blueberries for dessert.
From as early as I can remember I knew I wanted to be a chef. And by no coincidence, also as early as I can remember, my family began spending summers on the coast of Nova Scotia with my grandparents at their cottage on Amherst shore. It was a time of relaxation, family gathering, tradition and good food – very good food! My grandparents were wonderful cooks, who enjoyed preparing great feasts of family rooted dishes. They would spend hours in the preparation. I recall vividly the aroma of fresh breads, pies and cookies in the morning, simmering braises in the afternoon and the sweet salty smell of the seafood we would boil in the early evenings after a bountiful clam dig on the sand or visit to the lobster docks. Nova Scotia for me came to represent the very best of my culinary heritage; what my family and my country had to offer.
My Auntie Jan is also a bit of a Gourmand. It was in her Toronto condo I was introduced to a heightened level of cuisine. Delicacies such as escargot, caviar and filet mignon.
In any of these homes, food was always a topic of conversation and always a highlight of family visits.
Tell us a bit about the work you’ve done with Branding and Buzzing.
I have worked with Branding and Buzzing to promote an event called The League of Extraordinary Chefs, a culinary series that integrated Samuel Adams beer with the Cheese Boutique, participating restaurants and the food community. During this event, I was able to collaborate with these two brands to create a Backyard BBQ themed experience enjoyed by the guests who attended the dinner at Langdon Hall.
How do you see collaborative menus evolving in the next few years?
Our world is so connected these days that collaborating with other chefs is just a click away. I have had the privilege this summer to collaborate with some amazing Canadian talent during Langdon Halls popular Summer BBQ Series. I was fortunate enough to be invited to participate in Relais & Chateaux’s Gourmet Fest in Carmel by the sea last year working with some of the world’s top chefs and wine makers. Last fall Langdon Hall hosted chef Olivier Roellinger for a 3 day collaboration of culinary delights to celebrate the 60th Anniversary of Relais & Chateaux. The camaraderie and team spirit that energizes the kitchen when hosting guest chefs is exhilarating. I’m also thrilled to be collaborating with Chef Daniel Boulud on September 19th for a county in the city Brunch at Café Boulud during the Toronto Food and Wine Show. I can only see the push and desire for collaborative menus growing from both the chef’s and guest’s perspective.
What’s one thing everyone should know about you?
I once went spot prawn fishing with David Suzuki! I was lucky enough to be invited to collaborate with Chef Ned Bell in Vancouver to promote the first ever National Sustainability Seafood Day. I’m serious about sustainability and was honoured to be included in the line up. It was during this amazing event that I had the opportunity to fish with the one and only David Suzuki. There may have been a couple of prawns consumed straight from the trap…and I may have been the first chef to have first of the season prawns in Toronto on my return! It was incredible.
What do you do when you aren’t cooking?
I spend time with my family, my two awesome boys, Christian and Sebastian. My beautiful wife Stacey, whose support and strength has been crucial to my success as a professional chef. Behind every great chef is a very strong, supportive partner. This is for sure!
To read more about Jason Bangerter’s take on the restaurant industry, click here.