I was lucky enough to be visiting Calgary on a Monday night for Charcut restaurant's weekly Top Chef Canada viewing party. Connie DeSousa, the chef-owner of Charcut, which is located in the Le Germain hotel, was a Top Chef Canada finalist. She's also been instrumental in helping build a chef community in the increasingly foodie-city of Calgary.
To build chef cameraderie, DeSousa started hosting viewing parties where friends and family can come watch and cheer for local chef contestants. The menu features two dishes that night from two different competitors and the diners vote on that night's winning dish. Regardless of the night you come to dine, the meat-centric menu is one of the city's best. DeSousa and her partner John Jackson are known for making sausages and charcuterie in-house (you can see meats being cured back near the kitchen). Start with the charcut board—a butcher block loaded with pig head mortadella and insanely good brassica mustard, and hand-mixed pork studded with pistachios and truffles. If pig's head isn't your thing, try the shaved country-style lamb ham with cave aged gruyère which comes with squishy Parker House rolls (photo).
The menu is meant for sharing. Don't underestimate the deliciousness of the slow roasted heritage chicken, which comes with pickled fennel, apple, and house-cured bacon. And save room for DeSousa's desserts, particularly the brown sugar chess pie with a bourbon bacon fat crust.