There’s community in the kitchen, but few chefs have really mastered the art of working together like Calgary’s Connie Desousa and John Jackson.

Best known for their inner-city restaurant, CHARCUT,  Connie and John are an unstoppable duo that proves two heads are even better than one – but when, where and how did they find each other?

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Two stories, one dream


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“We both have different stories,” Desousa told Curiocity.

“I was inspired to become a chef through my family who were great cooks. My dad is of Portuguese heritage, my Mom is Irish Canadian and they were both incredible cooks.”

While it was her experimental Mom and traditional dad that got her started, she said that watching The Food Network also contributed to her love of all things edible.

“I remember being so excited to recreate what we saw on TV,” she said.

Little did she know she would later appear on Top Chef Canada, Top Chef All Stars and most recently Fire Masters.


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John’s story, however, is “a little bit different,” he told us.

“I started cooking out of necessity. My mom was a single parent raising three kids, going to university and working.”

While many at a young age may have seen this as a chore, John actually fell in love with it.

“I really enjoyed making people happy through food and experimenting with different dishes and getting an opportunity to play a role in the family, It was something that I gravitated towards – then I discovered you could make a career out of it.”

John went to SAIT, which is where Connie would also go a few years later and he hired her right out of the gate.

After working together for several years, Connie moved to Germany and John moved to New York, but it wasn’t long until the two friends found their way back to each other, and in partnership with John’s wife, decided to open CHARCUT.

“We were very fortunate to work all around the world with some amazing chefs in some amazing restaurants – but we wanted our own and we thought the best place to do it would be a place surrounded by our friends, family, and a great network in a place that we knew.”

That place was Calgary.



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Described as a “memorable gathering place with high energy and spontaneity,” CHARCUT is an award-winning roast house with chef-driven cuisine and Italian accents.

Here, you can enjoy everything from pasta to budino, but it’s their smoked prime rib that has become the most popular with customers.

“We’re very meat-centric at CHARCUT,” Connie told us, adding that they butcher and make everything from steak and bacon to charcuterie in-house.

The prime rib, of course, is no exception.

“We put a lot of TLC into this dish. It slowly cooks for about eight hours after being rubbed with a blend of 7 different herbs and spices and Dijon mustard and after it cooks for that length of time it really breaks down the connective tissue and starts to tenderize the meat… but then we smoke it.”


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Guests are able to order by the ounce throughout the evening depending on how hungry they are, which is another major selling point.

As for their favourite dish at the restaurant?

While they both agreed it changes every single day, John said it was their house-made cacio e pepe with fresh shaved white truffles that was on his mind during the interview – but there’s no slowing down after he grabs a bite!

Connie and John shared that they have a ton of exciting things on the horizon.

In addition to a new restaurant opening next winter, they’re also launching a web series aptly named “Chilling with Chefs,” where they interview industry titans in an ice plunge and sauna.

As of right now, there’s no word on when you’ll be able to watch it in all of its frosty glory.

Hungry in the meantime? If for whatever reason, you can’t get in at CHARCUT, you can also check out the other concepts Charbar, Alley Burger, Connie and John Pizza and in the warmer months, Rooftop Bar at Simmons.

Happy eating!

CHARCUT Roast House – Calgary

Where: 899 Centre St S, Calgary,