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Rustic Regionalism

Fine dining at the Banffshire Club


With its pristine setting, five diamonds, and four stars, the Banffshire Club at the Faimont Banff Springs has rustic recipes that will tantilize any taste buds.

With its pristine setting, five diamonds, and four stars, the Banffshire Club at the Fairmont Banff Springs has earned a reputation for epicurean excellence and no small measure of rustic elegance. Deepening the room’s regional roots has been a mission for some time.

“We’ve been the ultimate in fine dining for many years,” says chef de cuisine Ian Bens, who recently assumed the role of his mentor Chef Daniel Buss and since has taken firm aim at balancing comfort and authenticity. Front and centre is an emphasis on local ingredients lovingly prepared. As such, slow cooking sous-vides (using a low-temperature water bath) and lovingly crusted proteins from the restaurant’s renowned maple hardwood charcoal grill share the labour, while regional bounties take the spotlight.

Although year-round fresh ingredients are a challenge to procure in Alberta, Buss and Bens have developed a network that continues to grow. Broxburn Farms in Lethbridge provides the kitchen with sustenance throughout the seasons with a mix of hothouse and field-fresh products. The family-run greenhouses at Hotchkiss Farms supply organic heirloom vegetables to the Banffshire Club and many other restaurants in southern Alberta. Heritage-bred Berkshire pork is a recent addition from Broek Pork Acres.

For Bens, who is perpetually inspired by quality ingredients, the network fuels both his passion and his dishes.

“People are extremely interested in organic products and they react well when we promote our sources,” he explains. “Every time we change the menu, we include the names of the farms and work to educate both our servers and guests.”

Bens agrees that local farmers’ markets are enjoying a resurgence. “They’re huge here now, and a real sense of community has developed. Being able to meet the people who grow your foods, bring home the best ingredients, and know you are helping the local economy is a great thing.”

He laughs at the notion that it is far easier to grab a frozen pizza from the supermarket than cook a healthy meal. “There is really nothing simpler or more delicious than a ragout of local vegetables, some seasonal greens, and a roasted free-range chicken.”




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Matthew Kadey, MSc, RDMatthew Kadey, MSc, RD