People

A Passion That Inspires Us

Ross Bowles, Head Chef

Ross Bowles has returned to River Café after two years in London, England where he worked on the opening team at the two-Michelin-starred restaurant Core by Clare Smyth. Ross dedicated his time to learning every section of that accomplished kitchen and traveled with Smyth’s team on culinary events.

Ross began his chef journey by working with Chef Matthias Fong at River Café while in high school and at SAIT eventually taking on the role of Sous-chef prior to his travels. He quickly responded to the restaurant’s philosophy and challenge for ‘How local can we be?’ and the ongoing quest for new sustainable practices in the kitchen and beyond, adopting and creating innovative techniques with exceptional local ingredients.

His passion for the pursuit of culinary excellence has inspired his education and travels ever since. A recent stage at Amass, Sustainable Restaurant of the Year for 2017, in Copenhagen, Denmark is of particular note as he takes on the role of Head Chef at River Café, Canada’s Greenest Restaurant.

“Working and eating throughout Europe the last few years, I encounterd some incredible food, talent and restaurants, still nothing seems to compare to the produce at River Cafe. These incredible local products is what drew me back to Calgary and this special restaurant.”
“We make very deliberate choices about how we source local ingredients, and champion producers who care for the land as a renewable resource. We also make very conscious decisions on how we operate. We have created practices to address our source and use of energy and resources, and how we dispose of waste and unwanted materials.”

Sal Howell, Founder and Proprietor

British born and educated on both sides of the Atlantic, Sal holds a Fine Arts Degree from Mount Allison University. Both as an artist and restaurateur, her natural style and palate for extraordinary local food have come together in her restaurants.

Sal has been recognized both nationally and internationally for her dedication and persistence in forging new paths to sustainability and for her contributions to Canadian cuisine.

Sal was awarded Independent Restaurateur of the Year 2009 at the Food Service & Hospitality Pinnacle Awards, Best Restaurateur 2014 at the Terroir Symposium Awards for Excellence in Hospitality, and Leader of Sustainability Award 2010 from The City of Calgary, and Earth Day Canada’s Hometown Hero’s Award 2016, and received The Laurie Masterson Award 2016 from Women Chefs and Restaurateurs. YWCA’s ‘She Who Dares’ 2017.

River Café has numerous accolades including, Canada’s 100 Best Restaurants, Best Overall Restaurant, Avenue Magazine and Where Magazine, WHERE Magazine Ocean Wise Sustainable Seafood Award for dedicated effort in supporting the Ocean conservation, and inclusion in the international publication ‘The 1001 restaurants you must experience before you die’.

Bruce Soley, Sommelier and Cellar Manager

Bruce has been a familiar face for guests and a savvy guide to River Café’s wine list since 1999. A graduate of The International Sommelier Guild, Bruce continues to expand his vast knowledge through regular tasting, reading and—lucky him—travel in wine country. Bruce enjoys maintaining the list’s quality and diversity and believes that the most important part of his job is listening to guests to help them discover new favourites. Like any wine aficionado, his personal preferences change daily depending on mood, temperature, season, time of day and of course, what is on his plate.

BEST OF AWARD OF EXCELLENCE 2017 – Wine Spectator
BEST WINE LIST 2014 – Vancouver International Wine Festival

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