🍴MEET THE CHEF: Jason Bangerter, Langdon Hall Hotel & Spa, Relais & Châteaux, Cambridge
Tripveel sat down with Chef Jason Bangerter of Langdon Hall Hotel & Spa, Relais & Châteaux, Cambridge.
Tripveel: Tell us about your absolute favorite food and why readers should try it if they haven’t already.
Chef Bangerter: I am a sucker for Italian… I love a GOOD pizza, simple, Margarita. Pasta, tomato, basil, parmesan. Barolo… It’s all I need.
Tripveel: When did you get your calling to become a chef?
Chef Bangerter: Swedish chef on the Muppets… He spoke to me as a child :) Seriously, my journey starts back to early childhood. My parents are wonderful cooks. We always ate 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). Family time for me came to represent the very best of my culinary heritage. Food, creativity and the gathering at the table were/are all things that bring me pleasure. When I realized I could do this for the rest of my life, as a career?! I dove right in…
Tripveel: What are 3 ingredients you couldn’t live without?
Chef Bangerter: Truffle, cream and salt.
Tripveel: We love plating. Does designing the perfect dish give you a rush?
Chef Bangerter: I get a rush creating the food that goes on the dish. Plating is personal for a chef, it’s the artistic expression. Give 10 chefs the same 6 ingredients to plate and each plate should be presented different. Cooking and bringing beautiful ingredients to life is what gives me the rush. Making it beautiful and interesting on the plate is art and expression.
Tripveel: What’s one of the most creative dishes you’ve created?
Chef Bangerter: I dig deep into the source of ingredients or into the concept or theme of the dish. I use history, pieces of the landscape and incorporate nature as cooking vessels, methods or even as plate ware. Wood, branches, leaves, slate, clay, bones, skins, rocks, underwater vegetation, sunflowers… these are all items from the earth that I’ve used to create dishes. My goal is to bring together each ingredient to tell a story that focuses on the origin of a product, the farmer, or fisher.
Tripveel: Share your most recent awards and accreditations with us!
Chef Bangerter: I just finished a fantastic year with my team at Langdon Hall. Along with being honoured as the only restaurant in Ontario to be awarded the AAA/CAA Five-Diamond rating, in 2017 I received the Foodservice and Hospitality Pinnacle Award for Chef of the Year 2017; Ontario Hostelry Institute Chef Gold Award 2017; and Best Farm to Table Chef, Canada’s 100 Best 2017. It has truly been an incredible year.
Tripveel: What’s the latest trend in molecular gastronomy?
Chef Bangerter: Bubbles? I’m not sure? My cooking is classic, presented modern and playful. I haven’t explored the use of molecular technique.
Tripveel: Where have you traveled that inspires you the most?
Chef Bangerter: Everywhere inspires. I have a soft spot for France. But, I can be inspired anywhere and by the simplest things. I’m not complicated… I don’t think? The “Terroir” where I am and its bounty is what inspires me. Where I stand and what it has to offer.
Tripveel: What’s your favorite cocktail?
Chef Bangerter: Aged Burgundy Wine…
Tripveel: What do you love about being the Executive Chef at Langdon Hall?
Chef Bangerter: It is a magical place. Passionate, dedicated owners holding the highest standards. A supportive and equally dedicated executive team leading by example. The opportunity to develop sources for sustainable, responsibly produced ingredients. Successfully crafting through mentorship a talented kitchen team that shares my philosophy and vision.
Cooking from the land and having an on-property floral and vegetable garden; working very closely with the Langdon Hall gardener; maple production; foraging wild produce across our 75 acre property; and bee keeping has drastically impacted my cooking. My dishes are now inspired daily by the little miracles of the property. Being closer to small scale farmers and artisans has enriched the cuisine philosophy and offerings as well, creating a true story of cohesiveness…. What’s not to love. It’s a chef’s dream.