More big news from Gastown, this time from Blacktail Florist who quietly switched out chef-co-owner Jimmy Stewart a few weeks ago and replaced him with another ex-Top Chef alumnus, Calgary's Geoff Rogers. Rogers was the opening/conceptual chef of Calgary's Market and Home Tasting Room and has spent the past year since moving to Vancouver with Fable as their chef de cuisine. Eater sat down with Rogers to find out more.
What's your plan for the Blacktail Florist?
Really, I want to change the convention of dining so people don't have to feel 'proper' and can be more relaxed. I want people eating with their hands! We'll do a Sunday supper club and I want it to be like those family meals I had at my grandma's with 12 people: so it's OK to reach across the table, you can talk, pass, share and become communal again.
The price points for the sharing plates are around $14-$18 - that feels on the high side.
But the portion sizes are big; I'm suggesting you get three dishes for two people. We're taking the best quality that we can get and applying technique and balance. You won't leave hungry. When I go out to eat, I want to be full when I leave, that's what'll happen here. We're not being gimmicky: food doesn't have to be stuffy. We can be high end and top notch but you don't need to wear a tuxedo to come here.
Not even a Canadian one?
Maybe a Calgary tux: double denim. I want to make everyone welcome: maybe it's a prairie farm boy thing but I want to have people leave happy and content.
You've just launched your first menu here - no more pop rocks on the salmon.
Blacktail may have been lost in the past and not known what it wanted, but there's a transparency in what we're doing now. I always want to peel away the douchebaggery - be humble, cook hard and serve the best.
How are you finding BC produce compared to Alberta?
Alberta is all farmers, but here, I get stoked on the fruit and the greens. There's gonna be a boom here and it'll be fun to watch. I met so many people through Fable, all the farmers and I'll be bringing them in here. There's a Vancouver thing that you need 'A Look' but I'm about giving good service, not being pretentious and just doing the basics.
Did you come to eat here before?
No, but I've got huge respect for Jimmy: he's young and it's rough in Vancouver -you feel you need to stand out. But I want to leave the smoke and the magic and just do good food. Sure, we use modern methods, but you need to know when to use it. Huge props they all worked hard here, but now it's time for Blacktail to find its rhythm; professional, elevated and comfortable.
· Blacktail Florist [Official Site]
· All Blacktail Florist Coverage [EVAN]