Rostizado, Tres Carnales, and now Kanto 98—when you’re an integral part of three popular restaurants, you tend to be a little busy. Luckily for Edmonton, Edgar Gutierrez couldn’t imagine another lifestyle. Cooking and food—and surprising both himself and others with unusual flavours and combinations—are what he knows and loves. Meet Edgar Gutierrez…
What do you love about working and living in Edmonton?
The sense of community. I love that it is a young city and is building and changing by the day. Downtown and Whyte Ave have so many new places to eat, explore, and shop… And if there’s an idea that you believe in, there’s opportunity for business.
When Kanto first opened, you said you wanted to showcase the accessibility of Filipino food. How do you think you’ve achieved this?
The fact that people have come in not knowing what to expect is a great way to introduce the culture and food… I incorporated parts of Filipino cooking into familiar Edmonton fare like bao, BBQ, and fried chicken. So if people are ready to try the authentic Filipino food, it is readily available. Kanto is like the gateway to the Filipino food scene in Edmonton.
What do you do to stay inspired?
I eat at a lot at different places around the city. If I get the chance, I do it through travelling around Mexico or the US. And I get inspired or motivated by almost anything from graffiti or a design I see around the city—I’m simple like that.
How do you envision the future of Edmonton cuisine?
I envision more regional cooking from other cultures emerging, and areas or buildings around the city that have 4–5 shops in it to provide services for the restaurant industry and have a variety of foods—similar to places or markets I’ve seen in Mexico City. It’s already starting to happen here in Edmonton.