Mar 01

The Big Taste Conversations | Chef JP Pedhirney, Bridgette Bar

by Downtown Calgary · 0 comments

Who: JP Pedhirney, Executive Chef
Where: Bridgette Bar

Downtown Calgary: How’d you get here? Did you always want to be a Chef?

JP Pedhirney: I got a job in high school washing dishes to pay my car insurance on my 1988 Jeep YJ, and I’ve been in a kitchen ever since. I did have a little interest in professional kitchens but at that time all I really cared about was snowboarding, wakeboarding and eating…you get to eat lots working in a kitchen. Things really changed for me when I decided to go SAIT for cooking. I worked for JOEY Restaurant Group at that time and I ended up piggy backing on a trip to cook at the James Beard house in New York City with Canadian Chef Christopher Mills. I was floored by the food scene in New York and I knew then and there I wanted to take this career as far as I could go.


DC: What’s your process for developing your Big Taste menu? Do you bring the theme of Big Taste into the brainstorming of dishes?

JP: Our focus when creating menu items is seasonal availability and what benefits best from woodfired cookery, as we use a wood burning oven and grill. The beginning of March is a challenging time for menu development; common winter ingredients like squash, potatoes, cabbage and citrus are on their last legs while spring ingredients are just a few weeks away from being available.  We approached this year’s Big Taste menu by using a lot of bold spices and preserves like urfa pepper, saffron and kumquat jam to pack a lot of flavour into what we have available.

DC: Do your Big Taste dishes ever inform your future menus or recipe development?

JP: Yes, absolutely. Big Taste draws a lot of customers to the restaurant who specifically come for the set menu. We find out very quickly what works and what doesn’t. Some items maybe over ambitious or very tedious which after a couple of long days we work on some better efficiencies.

DC: Why should people get out of their own neighbourhood and go downtown to eat?

JP: I think that people can feel a little intimidated sometimes by some of the caliber of restaurants and concepts we have downtown. There is a lot going on that they might not be used to in their own neighborhoods. It’s a competitive area in the city so we are always looking to find the “new” and a lot of restaurants downtown do an excellent job of showcasing that. These restaurants are pushing so hard to break the status quo on food, beverage, service and price to get your business. Come and enjoy the diversity.

Check out Bridgette Bar during The Big Taste at their signature event or make a reservation to try out their prix fixe menu!

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