Mountains of Meat. Piles of Potatoes. NEXT TIME YOU BUY GROCERIES, SPARE A THOUGHT FOR A LOCAL CHEF.
You may think you may go through a lot of chicken, tomato sauce or milk at home, but you probably don’t go through food quite like the average Calgary restaurant or food retailer. Here’s a look at a handful of local businesses, plus the ingredients that they’re famous for using in vast quantities. by Shelley Boettcher
The ingredient: FLOUR COBS BREAD
How much? Each COBS bakery in Calgary uses
about 330 pounds of flour each day, to produce about 661 pounds of dough.
“The flour comes from Lethbridge, from wheat grown and milled in the Lethbridge area. It’s some of the best in the world,” says David van Rietschoten, COBS Bread’s technical baker. While COBS has locations across North America, each is slightly different when it comes to customer favourites. “The sweet stuff in Calgary is particularly popular, everything from the scones to the cinnamon buns,” says van Rietschoten. His personal pick, however? “Anything made with our sourdough, especially our sourdough loaves and our sunflower and flax sourdough,” he says. “We use a natural levain, a natural starter, and it produces a very tasty product with a good crust.”
The ingredient: BEEF GAUCHO BRAZILIAN BARBECUE
How much? About 48,000 pounds each
year at the Calgary location.
This traditional Brazilian churrascaria – barbecue house – serves beef from certified Angus cattle raised in Alberta. That’s a lot of cattle, considering one live Angus bull weighs roughly 2,300 pounds. Gaucho chef/co-owner Ede Rodrigues says his favourite way to eat beef is the picanha, a traditional cut sometimes called a sirloin cap or rump cover. “It’s very tender and juicy. I like it rare,” he says. “You can’t get tired of it, ever. It’s never too much.” It’s a customer favourite, too, he says, as well as the alcatra, a garlic-topped sirloin, and the beef parmigiano. “We throw parmigiano on the top and give it a little toast,” Rodrigues says. “People really like that one.”
The ingredient: POTATOES PETER’S DRIVE-IN (CALGARY LOCATION)
How much? 10,500 cases a year (50 pounds in a case);
that’s 525,000 pounds of potatoes a year in Calgary “We start with potatoes, fresh potatoes, which we still have as potatoes when a customer asks for French fries. We don’t do any pre-production. We don’t have buckets of water with pre-cut fries hanging around,” says co-owner Stephen Hayden.
Each potato then gets dropped into an electronic cutter, which washes, cuts and spins the potato to get out all the extra starch and moisture. “From there, we dump them straight into the fryer, which contains trans-fat-free 100 percent pure canola oil, the best cooking oil in the world,” he says. Within minutes, a new order of Peter’s famous fries is ready to go out the door. “They’re unbelievable. They’re just so fresh,” says Hayden. “You can’t make them any better.”
CITYPALATE.ca JANUARY FEBRUARY 2017
The Flavour of Calgary's Food Scene - Eat Well, Spend Less