After a decade in Calgary, marked by the successes of Model Milk and Pigeonhole, Vancouver-born chef Justin Leboe was ready for a change. “I wasn’t looking for an exit,” he explains. “But when one presented itself, I decided I didn’t want the next 10 years to look like the last.” So Leboe signed on as culinary director for the Banff Hospitality Collective and moved to the mountain resort town. Now a year into their collaborative planning, Leboe is poised to oversee the launch of not one or two but three new and very different restaurant concepts. First up is a Canadian-Japanese hybrid izakaya with the working name Hello Sunshine, which opens on Wolf Street in June. A modern Italian restaurant called Lupo — specializing in handcrafted pasta — opens on the second floor of the same building later this year or early 2022. That’s happening right around the time, as their third project, a market- and wood-fire-driven contemporary North American restaurant, opens in a stand-alone heritage building on Lynx Street. It seems like a stressful schedule. But apparently not to Leboe. “I don’t remember the last time I’ve been this happy both personally and professionally,” he says.
Photo credit: Gareth Paget