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What’s On Chef Daniel Beaulieu’s menu at Änkôr?

Ten years ago, Canmore was very much known for its access to rugged trails and jagged peaks. While the lure of Alberta’s Rocky Mountains remains compelling, alongside a magnanimous population boom that has seen the town become one of the fastest-growing communities in Canada, culinary hotspots have begun to flourish. Enter chef Danny Beaulieu and his inaugural restaurant, änkôr.

Hitchhiking from his hometown of Sherbrooke, Quebec, to Alberta when he was just 17, chef Beaulieu also spent several years immersed in the culinary scenes of Japan’s Sapporo and Hokkaido. Picking up gastronomic inspiration and techniques along the road, Beaulieu finally settled in Canmore (before it was “cool”!). änkôr, a cheekily ostentatious play on the moreish word “encore”, is the culmination of the 36-year-old’s culinary journey thus far. A la carte, or presented as a six-course tasting adventure featuring the likes of a signature dry-aged duck breast and confit leg, dishes are prepared in an open kitchen, allowing for an intimate spectacle of chef theatre to be performed in a restaurant of just 36 seats.

Beaulieu firmly foies. Ever since änkôr opened (mid-pandemic, for their sins), foie gras has been a staple menu item has undergone several seasonal variations, but is always served in an impossibly smooth circle aside toasted brioche. In a method similar to the making of ganache, the foie is made cold-pressed and blended with Ironwork’s Bluenose rum from Nova Scotia. The latest iteration of the dish sees a compression of rhubarb with lavender, alongside a fermented rhubarb and honey gel, pink peppercorn spiced pistachio, and a finish of sweet lavender Vancouver Island Sea Salt.

New for the spring, Beaulieu’s “celeriac” debuts on the menu, featuring BC stripe shrimp tartare with a rayu vinaigrette on a bed of cashew and seeds, garnished with fried celeriac, smoked celeriac puree, verjus compressed grapes, and dashi pearls, a nod to his training in Japan.

Also new to the menu, Pastry chef Jo-Annie Deschamp presents her latest creation of a malted crème fraîche tart with a toasted soy flour-based, coffee foam, puffed sorghum, brown butter snow, and a Canadian Lot 40 whisky gel. Washed down with a pour of Raifuku Mellow Kijoshu sweet sake by sommelier Julie Helie, you’ve got yourself a salty, sweet, umami party in your mouth that will have you eyeing up property prices in the prospering neighbourhood.

Canmore as a food destination? Who knew.

– Rebecca Felgate

Shrimp and dessert – Michelle LeBlanc – @michelleleblancphotography

Foie – Vincent Mathias – @v.mathias.bru

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