Published on February 15, 2023
An accomplished chef and co-owner of several award-winning restaurants and businesses, John Jackson has been a leader and a mentor to so many young chefs and entrepreneurs dedicating his time to changing lives and nourishing those around him. Growing up in Saskatchewan, he started cooking at the young age of 15, out of necessity, where he realized that, in a kitchen, social status did not matter and the way to get ahead was to focus, and work hard. He set out on a steady, ambitious career path, travelling and working in some of the world’s most well-known restaurants, attaining success with his many awards, nominations and notable achievements. John studied sausage- making in Italy’s Marche and later landed at the St. Regis in New York. At 29 years of age John was given the opportunity to open the prestigious Mobil 5-star St. Regis Hotel in San Fransisco, California. After the successful opening of the St. Regis, John continued to open multiple restaurants under the Starwood name including the Lagoon by Jean George in Bora Bora.
In 2009, it became clear that it was time to return to home to Calgary. Along with his wife, Carrie, and co-chef, co- owner Connie Desousa, they opened CHARCUT Roast House where they pride themselves in bringing an evolved, but simple approach to dining in the truest Canadian farm-to-table fashion. The restaurant was quickly named Canada’s Best Restaurant and continues to top the list. After CHARCUT, came the opening of charbar in 2015, an Argentine inspired restaurant with Italian and Spanish influences where the parilla wood- fired grill warms in the heart of the restaurant. Located in the Historical building along the Bow River in the re-established East Village of Calgary, the Simmons quickly became the focal point for cyclists, runners and families exploring the Riverwalk community, and was named Calgary’s best new restaurant for 2015. The most resent adventures are Connie & John’s Pizza and just hatched CHIX Eggshop a “Fast-Fine Diner” which is a quirky, nostalgic, counter service–only breakfast and lunch spot with skillfully crafted and quickly served dishes alongside super hip craft beverages and cocktails.
John’s passion for food and business is strong, but his love for cycling is what drives him in the search for balance, with over 16,000km each year (never had a driver’s licence) John finds a way to ride everyday even in the -40c temperatures throughout the winter months. John is active not only cycling races and commuting but also riding for a cause. He formed a team of riders “The Canadians” that participate each year in the No Kid Hungry “Chefs Cycle” a 480km ride over three days crushing childhood hunger. His magnetic energy is contagious, sharing encouraging and passionate stories to fuel those around him shifting our culinary landscape into a positive and empowering one of balance.