Jason Bangerter’s pursuit of culinary excellence has taken him to Paris, London, Berlin and St. Moritz, Switzerland. He’s received numerous awards and accolades for his outstanding achievements in the kitchen. Under his guidance, the restaurant at Langdon Hall has been recognized by the CAA with a Five Diamond Award for Excellence, the only restaurant in Ontario to receive such recognition. Most recently, Jason was awarded the Relais & Chateaux Rising Chef Trophy and was the only Canadian Chef to be selected to participate in the 60th Anniversary celebration of Relais & Chateaux’s Gourmet Fest in Carmel-By-The-Sea, California.
“The cuisine at Langdon Hall starts by looking out our kitchen windows,” says Jason. “We’ve got huge gardens that grow a lot of the food that’s used daily in our dishes.” He credits head gardener Mario Muniz as being the creative force behind Langdon Hall’s bounty of fruits, vegetables and herbs. There’s also wild produce growing in abundance on the hotel’s 75-acre property. For Jason and his staff, this provides a much sought-after but often elusive goal in food preparation: direct access to food that has been locally grown. “Fresher is always better. The closer to home you can access your food, the less travel time is involved which means you’ll have a fresher product.”
Local to Jason also means supporting the community. “We’ve built relationships with local farmers, foragers and artisans who support our philosophy of providing wholesome, natural products that have been prepared with care and respect.” That care and respect resonate a lot with him, especially when it comes to food sourcing and preparation. As someone who depends daily on the environment for his food sources, he notes there’s an increased awareness among the general population about the food that is eaten, where it comes from and how it’s processed. “More and more people are taking an interest in sustainability, eating fresh and local.” He’s also committed to environmental sustainability and notes that he participated in the first ever National Sustainability Seafood Day in Vancouver, an event that gave him the opportunity to fish with renowned sustainability expert, David Suzuki.
Cultivating relationships and learning about sustainability were two things Jason discovered at an early age. He grew up knowing he wanted to be a chef, a demanding career that depends on others to help one achieve culinary distinction. Both of his parents were, in his own words, “wonderful cooks” and he spent summers with his family in Nova Scotia. It was there where he learned to appreciate not just the art of preparing and cooking food, but also the strong emotional connection that it could have for people.
Creating that connection is what makes all the difference for him: “It’s about more than just combining ingredients.” Maybe that’s one of the reasons why he loves the Summer BBQ Series at Langdon Hall so much. “It’s a wonderful way to experience the property in a more casual, outdoor setting.” To help prepare a menu that features local fruits, vegetables and other fare, Jason collaborates with guest chefs, fishermen, artisans and farmers – no small feat considering the hotel is located in a forest, some distance from a major city and is, in Jason’s own words, “…off the grid.” It’s also a great opportunity for Jason to show off the gleaming elegance and cooking power of his Crown Verity. “These grills make cooking outdoors so pleasurable. I love the simplicity and the amazing heat. The grill gets hot fast, holds the heat and won’t cool down even after it’s reached its peak temperature.” One of his favorite accessories is the griddle. “It’s perfect for searing more delicate foods like fish.”
While he’ll grill almost anything, Jason’s favorite is meat. He has a particular fondness for Ontario beef and one of his signature dishes features grilled rib steak with charred onion and wild mushrooms. “With some natural juices and fresh thyme, it’s heaven,” says Jason. “The only thing missing is a glass of wine."