Executive Chef Jamie Hussey leads Pursuit's culinary operations in Jasper National Park. We recently chatted with the industry veteran to learn what inspires his successful career and why he is thrilled to live, work and play in Jasper.
I began as a cook when I was 17 and my initial training is what I call the school of hard knocks. In the kitchen, practice really sets the stage for what a culinary career truly entails. After about five or six years, I pursued formal education, wrote the Red Seal exam and became a certified Chef at the age of 26.
Food for me as about the shared experience. I love that the act of eating brings people together. It's something everyone can take part in. We learn about different regions, countries and cultures through food. Anything that can be enjoyed family-style suits me best. BBQ is casual, comforting and evokes a backyard summer atmosphere, no matter the season. I also gravitate towards Italian and breaking bread with friends. Again, it's the dynamic of sharing in the joy and pleasure of delicious food with others. Latin American is another favourite. The culture is rich, vibrant and full of life, and this excitement is wholly infused into the cuisine.
I love to showcase Canadian Cuisine and my signature style is my philosophy around food; the collaboration of local producers, local talent infused and driven by my culinary vision to provide authentically local dishes that evoke the spirit of any regional cuisine… this creates a unique sense of place. Collaboration is the second key element. I'm passionate about cooking with fellow culinarians and building inventive dishes together.
My family is from Sheffield, England, and we emigrated to Ontario, Canada when I was five. Sunday suppers were a household mainstay and my parents added their own unique flair to the tradition. My dad travelled extensively for his job, which introduced him to a variety of international cuisine. After each business trip, he and mum would try and recreate some of the dishes from his travels. These childhood experiences are what inspire my creative process and why I fell in love with cooking.
I manage all food operations for five downtown Jasper hotels, the Pyramid Lake Resort and our Maligne Valley restaurants. My focus is on strategic development, enhancing culinary concepts and driving new and exciting ways to operate our venues. By fostering collaboration, we've built highly engaged teams that are dedicated to creating exceptional and memorable culinary experiences for our local and international guests.
The short answer is, "absolutely everything!" I'm creative, arts-driven and naturally drawn to smaller, community-minded places. Spending time outside is my way of refueling, and the scenery here is beyond beautiful. Jasper's a wilderness haven that encourages exploration. We're surrounded by mountains, lakes and rivers, and a simple leisurely drive leads to canyons, waterfalls, meadows and wildlife. It's impossible to feel anything but inspired.