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What chefs eat for dinner: pretzels, poutine and pickles

Chef Connie DeSousa is co-executive chef and co-owner of CHARCUT Roast House in Calgary.

Greg Henkenhaf/Greg Henkenhaf

Connie DeSousa, 29, is co-executive chef and co-owner of CHARCUT Roast House in Calgary and recent finalist in Top Chef Canada (she conceded defeat to Dale McKay). The former ballerina is a big supporter of the local food movement. We asked her what she ate on a recent Saturday:

10 a.m. - Every morning I go for a run, about 30 minutes, because while the food that I cook is healthy, it's not necessarily low in calories. After I got back, I had a fruit smoothie. It had bananas and blueberries mixed into plain yogurt that I sweeten.

12 p.m. - Saturdays I go to the local farmers' market with my co-executive chef John Jackson. We pick up our fresh vegetables there. I was snacking on some of the local green beans, asparagus, first-of-the-season cherry tomatoes and beautiful, really thin-skinned cucumbers that we found. John and I like to taste-test before we buy.

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3:30 p.m. - While we were preparing for the dinner menu - we have this shaved fennel salad with the last-of-the-season Okanagan apples - I was shaving these Pink Lady apples on the mandoline slicer. When they would get to the point that there was too little left to slice, I would eat the remnants. My diet is kind of strange because I find that when you're working on the menu and you're hungry, you taste things better. But I do snack on strange things while we're cooking, like our house-made, paper-thin, supercrispy bacon or a wedge of cave-aged, very aromatic, local gouda.

10 p.m. - Every Saturday, Jack and I sit down with our partners, who are also owners of CHARCUT, and we have everything on the menu. It's like a giant, kind of medieval feast. We started off with our preserved Italian-style, in-house pretzels and paired with local mustard and house-made pickles and pickled beets. I love pickles, they are one of my favourite things. We also snacked on poutine, which is made with truffle-chicken gravy and freshly shipped Quebec cheese curds. Then we shared all of the entrées - including our spit-roasted prime rib, which just the smells alone make my mouth water - while we sipped on some Blasted Church merlot, which is from the Okanagan Valley. For dessert, I love chocolate so I always opt for a chocolate dessert. Desserts are the one thing we don't share at the table. I had the Verona chocolate semifreddo. It's just a simple chocolate mousse that is semi-frozen and sliced into wedges. I also had a hot chocolate because I don't drink coffee. This was a pretty typical day, believe it or not!

As told to Madeleine White.

This interview has been condensed and edited.

Editor's note: An earlier online version of this story incorrectly referenced John Jackson as Jack.

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About the Author

Madeleine White is the Assistant National Editor for The Globe and Mail. She has been with the Globe since 2011 and previously worked in the Globe's Video and Features departments, covering topics ranging from fitness and health to real estate to indigenous education. More

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