Paul McGreevy | Local Seasonal Aficionado

By Shivana Maharaj and Kailash Maharaj
December 10, 2007

Photography by Shaun Hicks

Long before the one hundred-mile diet was a craze and perusing farmers markets was a weekend ritual, the ethos of eating local and seasonal had been a part of Paul McGreevy’s life. His first food memory revolves around eating peas from his parents’ backyard garden. “While Mom and Dad were in the house I would run off and steal the fresh vegetables from the garden.” That youthful inquisitiveness has never waned.

His philosophy of simplicity is fully incorporated into the entire culinary experience. ” Nothing beats the flavour of a carrot that you’ve literally plucked from your backyard. It’s simple,” notes McGreevy wrinkling his nose with verve. “We feel like we’re these little guys who are fighting, doing everything we can pulling from different suppliers. I try to find a way to present [the food] that is taking a classic dish like a cassoulet, and manipulating it a bit without sacrificing the food. The best way to do this is to use a local product.” Ingredients such as bison and beef are scouted from High Country and Spring Creek respectively, dairy is sourced from a producer in Lethbridge, poultry from Sunworks farms, lamb from Ewe-nique Farms. All ensure a simple pureness of flavour, and a respect for the roots of the ingredients.

McGreevy constantly ventures to manipulate and re-work recipes to appeal to a wide variety of palettes. “Experimentation is something that makes us so different in Alberta. To have someone producing a form of Parmesan cheese not far from Calgary, or the stone fruit wines that we’re seeing now, even raising Berkshire Pork, a breed originating from England. It’s insane,” says McGreevy excitedly.  With impishness, McGreevy muses at the thought of being able to enjoy comfort food with experimental Spanish Chef Ferran Adria and the Kings of French cuisine George-Auguste Escoffier and Paul Bocuse. Though the mere dream of such a feast brought a smile to his face, upon further reflection, McGreevy, beaming, divulged, “but my favorite place to eat in the city, is my Mom’s house. It’s the best part of my week. I’m simple when it comes to food, when it comes to what makes me happy. It doesn’t take much.”