Bursting onto Cochrane’s culinary scene in 2016, the Fence & Post on our main street continues to impress. In his commitment to support local producers, owner and chef, Chris Hartman embodies the definition of “farm to table.” It has served him – and our community – well. But there’s so much more to his story.
Globe trotter comes home
Hartman’s experience in the kitchen is long and wide. After a few years in the business in Calgary, he went to Ottawa to study at Le Cordon Bleu culinary school. He jumped at an opportunity to work in France and spent the next seven years honing his craft in the French Alps. Throw in a couple of years in New Zealand and Australia. Then back to the Calgary area where he became head chef at the dearly-departed Bear’s Den restaurant in Bearspaw, before coming to Cochrane to helm his own restaurant, The Fence & Post. And we’re so glad he did.
What drew him here is what brings a lot of entrepreneurs to Cochrane. The small-town-yet-big-enough vibe and the feeling of community. As he puts it, “the town has a good sense of self.”
Made from scratch
What makes this place unique is everything is made from scratch, which is unusual in Canada. Most restaurants buy in their bread, ice cream, desserts, charcuterie, etc. Here, they cure their own bacon and ham, make their own charcuterie, sourdough bread, ice creams, hand-molded bon bons…the list goes on!
Farm to fork with a twist
Hartman creates seasonal menus using the best of what small local producers have to offer. The goal is to create flavours and dishes familiar to Canadians but elevated and refined. He loves to share new and interesting combinations and to see that look of surprise and wonderment when guests bite into something delicious. As a for instance: homemade ricotta and lemon-filled tortellini with smoked salmon, beets, brown butter sour cream and black garlic vinegar. Paired with a fabulous wine, of course.
True confessions? The Fence and Post restaurant is my go-to spot when I want to impress my out-of-town guests. And this place never disappoints.
Videography by Blue Pixel Media