Blair Lebsack, Age: 40
Hometown: Red Deer
Influential because: He’s putting terroir back in Albertan cuisine
Blair Lebsack grew up on a farm, near Red Deer, where food was less about trends and trinkets and more about good, local food. But local food is not what most in Alberta experienced over the past half-century. Lebsack is shifting that.
As Lebsack evolved into a chef, running the kitchen at Madison’s Grill in Edmonton’s Union Bank Inn, he increasingly connected farmers, and their produce and livestock, with the forks of diners. In 2013, he set out on his own, opening the 40-seat RGE RD, an eatery and, well, an experience, that has elevated this philosophy. Food at the restaurant is seasonal and hyper-local. But RGE RD is like the boutique to the bespoke terroir that is Alberta’s rural backbone. Behind it is Lebsack’s growing relationship to Alberta’s food producers, through his highly coveted, expensive, limited-capacity farm dinners.