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Chef Darren MacLean Presents a Year-Long Endeavour to Further Global Culinary Connectivity Through Inclusive Exploration of Culture, Food and Industry Issues

Calgary, Alberta, 29 June 2022: World-renowned international chefs will visit Calgary throughout 2022 and 2023 as part of Cultural Chef Exchange, an initiative of Chef Darren MacLean in partnership with Food Tourism Strategies. The Cultural Chef Exchange Series starts this week with events around the visit of celebrated Mexican Chef Colibri Jimenez. Each month, a different influential chef or culinary professional will visit Calgary to collaborate, learn, and inspire. The exchange seeks to actively promote Canada’s rich culinary background and cross-cultural character globally, while learning of the culinary cultures of other nations.

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Among the culinary elite bound for Calgary are chefs from The World’s 50 Best Restaurants, Michelin-star chefs, and fellow contestants of MacLean on Netflix’s global cooking competition ‘The Final Table’. The chefs will partake in an immersive five-day program to gain an appreciation of the nation’s natural beauty, food resources, indigenous peoples, and local terroir.

An exploration of Canadian fare will see the visiting chefs collaborate with Chef MacLean from field to fork, sourcing local ingredients from farms, foraging seasonal indigenous, fishing, and hunting, before creatively coming together to experiment in the kitchens of his acclaimed restaurants Shokunin and EIGHT. Both restaurants, along with MacLean’s third Calgary restaurant Nupo were recently named in Canada’s 100 Best Restaurants, making MacLean the first Canadian chef to achieve a “hattrick” in the widely respected annual listing.

Chef Darren MacLean shares his vision of the program. “We aim to create and nurture a local-to-global culinary network to share talent, exchange techniques, encourage cooperation, advance tourism and tackle sustainability issues, to the benefit of those living, working and visiting Canada. Our country has so much to offer, it can be both teacher and student of meaningful ways to connect around food.”

The Cultural Chef Exchange includes ‘Dialogues’ hosted by SAIT (Southern Alberta Institute of Technology), a monthly panel presentation and discussion about culinary hot topics and trends, followed by a meet and greet with the chefs.

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Tannis Baker from Food Tourism Strategies explains, “The goal of this inclusive forum is for influential global chefs, those who work in the culinary industry, and passionate members of the public to share intelligence and ideas on sustainability issues facing the culinary profession, from food waste and imbalanced ecosystems to costly food production and inaccessibility to quality meals.”


Cultural Chef Exchange Program

July-September 2022

Program #2 – Chef Colibri Jimenez – MARIA RAIZ Y TIERRA (Merida, Mexico)           July 5-10

Program #3 – Chef Alberto Landgraf – OTEQUE (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)                        August 2-7

Program #4 – Chef James Knappet – KITCHEN TABLE (London, UK)                              August 13-18

Program #5 – Chef Aaron Bludorn – BLUDORN (Houston, USA)                                      September 13-18

Fall Programming: October-December 2022

Program #6 – Chef Sam Tran – GIA (Hanoi, Vietnam)

Program #7 – Chef Amninder Sandhu – BLISS FOOD EXPERIENCES (Delhi, India)

Program #7 – Chef Nathan Gould – SHELTER (Martha’s Vineyard, USA)

Program #8 – Chef Aishling Moore – GOLDIE (Dublin, Ireland)

Program #9 – Chef Shane Osborn – ARCANE (Hong Kong)

Chef Exchange- select menu and pairings by visiting chefs @ SHOKUNIN

Friday evening events providing a unique opportunity to taste small plates from visiting chefs and Chef Darren Maclean and his team.

Location: Shokunin 2016 4 St. SW Shokunin Registration Link

Upcoming Shokunin events: July 8, August 5, September 16

Chef Exchange Canadian Exploration Tasting Menu @ EIGHT

Each Saturday of the program a limited number of seats (20) will be released for this epic tasting menu.  Seating is very limited, and these dining events will be released individually.

Location: EIGHT, 631 Confluence Way SE, Calgary

EIGHT Registration Link: via TOCK reservation page

Upcoming EIGHT events: July 9, August 6, September 17

Cultural Chef Exchange Dialogues  

Each Dialogue program will run mid-week during the visiting chefs stay and be hosted at the main campus.  Registration is free, but donations to the SAIT FOOD HAMPER PROGRAM will be accepted.

Location: John Ware Building SAIT – Demonstration Lab Room E212.

Digital attendance option available.

Registration Link:  SAIT REGISTRATION LINK  *Enter 999999 for the ID CODE to register

Upcoming Dialogue Events:  July 6, August 3, Sept 14

ABOUT Chef Darren MacLean

Chef Darren MacLean is one of Canada’s most acclaimed and outspoken chefs, restaurateurs and environmental advocates. His three Calgary restaurants, Eight, Nupo and Shokunin are all listed in Canada’s 100 Best of 2022.  Canada’s sole contender and a finalist on Netflix’s global cooking competition ‘The Final Table’, he is also the first-ever Canadian chef invited aboard to consult and collaborate with Princess Cruises. He uses his profile to showcase Canada’s culinary scene to international audiences. MacLean is passionate about sustainability and the food building community. While he regularly participates in events as an educator, speaker and culinary judge in Canada and abroad, he is happiest in his kitchens.

NUPO, opened in 2020 is in Calgary’s East Village Alt Hotel offering Canada’s first ever Omakase Sushi Experience focusing on vegetarian, sushi, and large-format fish dishes and featuring a unique-in-Canada dry-aging chamber for fish. EIGHT is a discreet, eight-seat, high-dining restaurant where tasting menus focus on MacLean’s unique philosophy of true Canadian cuisine.  Shokunin, Maclean’s flag-ship restaurant is a charming 50-seater in Mission. Opened in late 2015, Shokunin continues to delight with small plates, crafted cocktails and charred yakitori with sake, seasonal, and local ingredients.

Inspired by all the cultures of Canada’s indigenous and multi-ethnic mosaic, MacLean’s appreciation for diversity leads him to travel extensively, further developing his unique perspective on food and the culinary experience. MacLean spent extensive time traveling in Japan studying the cuisine of the country that inspires him. Believing in the power of food to bridge cultures, he welcomes global chefs to his country and kitchen and travels often to collaborate with others, from Mexico City to Tokyo.