During this episode of Talking Chefs, I interview Paul Rogalski, Culinary Director and Owner of Rouge Restaurant and Bistro Rouge in Calgary. Paul tells us, “I have always been engaged and hooked into the world of food – all levels of food.” He said “I feel very fortunate that I found an industry that fits me and I hope everyone else out there has an opportunity to find their passion and go with it.” We touch on his time spent working at La Chaumere, as Klaus Wockinger’s apprentice and the style in which Klaus taught him to cook. Years later, Paul would take over the kitchen from Klaus and became La Chaumere’s Chef. We will hear the story of the creation of Rouge Restaurant along with the many lessons the story holds, including the power of a restaurant’s name. We will get a clear sense of Paul’s principles on hospitality including how he avoided falling into the trap of it becoming more about the pride of the cook and less of the satisfaction of the customer. We discuss the vegetable garden on the premises and the tasting menu offered at Rouge as Paul tells us, “Fundamentally we wanted to showcase culinary skills, paired with the ingredients that were available to us and showcase the ingredients to the best that they are.” We learn what led to Paul and his business partner Olivier’s decision to open a causal restaurant, Bistro Rouge, and some of the insights he learned opening the second restaurant. Our conversation covers how Paul joined Chef Michael Smith as one of the managing chefs for the 2010 Winter Olympics, an intense experience that was by some measure one of the hardest things Paul has done in his career. He shares the challenges they had from starting up a kitchen in the Athletes Village that would serve 12,000 meals a day during the Olympic games. This is a conversation filled with great stories and lessons you don’t want to miss. I hope you enjoy listening to this episode as much as I enjoyed putting it together for you.

Noteworthy Links From This Episode