SASKATOON – After months of planning, prepping and the leg work that goes into opening a restaurant, Top Chef Canada season one winner Dale Mackay and his team officially opened the doors of Ayden Kitchen and Bar in downtown Saskatoon on Friday.
Back in May, Ayden Kitchen and Bar was an idea; six months later it’s come to fruition.
“You can either have a fancy meal with some nice wine and everything else or you can have a burger and just chill out,” said MacKay, Ayden Kitchen and Bar chef and owner.
The Top Chef Canada season 1 winner and hometown kid has helped open restaurants for some of the top chefs in the world but opening his own in Saskatoon tops the list.
“When it’s something this special in your hometown and it’s sort of your coming home there’s a lot of extra pressure,” MacKay said.
The restaurant named after Dale’s son officially opened for business on Friday. This is the third establishment Dale has opened with the help of good friend Christopher Cho.
“It’s hectic, there’s always a time crunch when you’re opening a restaurant so time is very crucial, we’re still putting all the little knick knacks into place and this is still opening day,” said Cho, general manager and mixologist.
There has been a lot of hype leading up to the big day.
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“We feel the buzz all the way in Calgary. A lot of our family lives here in Saskatchewan both Regina and Saskatoon and they’re talking about it and I think the great thing about it is because of his relationships. He’s putting the spotlight on Saskatoon,” said John Jackson, co-owner and co-chef of Charcut Roast House in Calgary.
MacKay is focused on Saskatchewan and Saskatchewan products for his restaurant.
“We have a small menu, 6 starters, 6 mains, 4 snacks; that way we can change the menu all the time, we can also do a lot of specials.
Getting Ayden Kitchen and Bar up and running has meant 17 plus hour days the past few weeks for MacKay. For now, Ayden is open six-days a week for lunch and dinner and closed Sundays, a day MacKay intends to spend with his son and take a breather.