David Hassell entered the cooking world later in life than most. It wasn’t until he began travelling the world, after obtaining an honours degree in politics and history from the University of Manchester, that he fell into his first restaurant job in a small Muskoka resort and discovered where his true passion lay. Growing up amongst the English countryside, David was always surrounded by fresh, wild ingredients and artisanal farms. Although he didn’t know it during his childhood, his family’s traditional home cooking, dictated by the ingredients available in their own gardens, fields and orchards, would come to define his food philosophy.
After his life-changing first restaurant job in Ontario, David worked in France, Australia and the UK before the lure of Canada became too strong to resist. As David made his way towards Canada’s West Coast, his experience included:
- Executive Chef at The Church Restaurant in Stratford, Ontario
- Chef de Cuisine at Eden in Banff, Alberta (the only CAA/AAA 5 diamond rated restaurant in Western Canada)
- Executive Chef at the Relais & Chateaux Wedgewood Hotel in Vancouver, British Columbia
- Executive Chef, TLH Heliskiing, South Chilcotin Mountains, British Columbia
Chef Hassell Reflects on his Food Philosophy and Inspiration:
At Nimmo Bay, I hope to reflect ‘where and when we are’ using hyper seasonal ingredients acquired within sight of the lodge. We hope to tell the story of the region through its multitude of common and more unusual ingredients from spruce shoots to sea cucumbers but the reoccurring theme is that we are sourcing top quality wild produce at the height of its season and working exclusively with small local farmers producing food ‘the right way’.
We strive to enhance natural flavours and textures through our cooking by taking inspiration from communities who have lived off this land for millennia. We strive to share our passion for these unique ingredients and enhance our own knowledge of the food that makes this region truly unique.
By preserving close roots to local ingredients, a strong connection is crafted between our wild surroundings and the culinary experience.