An art gallery is the perfect place for creative expression, so it’s no wonder that Chef David Omar has been presenting his culinary creations as the executive chef of Zinc, located within the Art Gallery of Alberta.
Like many artists, Omar seeks and sees inspiration everywhere he goes, whether it’s collaborating with different chefs or merely walking down the street. The New Brunswick native looks particularly to other local chefs and restaurants, like Daravara and the Workshop Eatery, always searching for ways to stand out and learn. “Running a restaurant in Edmonton, you should be looking at other places, but really focusing on who’s your direct competition, partners in the industry,” he says. “This city has so many cool restaurants.”
The terms bored and boring do not sit well with Omar, whether in his own life or on a plate. The chef prefers to search for new challenges and opportunities and is regularly involved in various competitions and events throughout the year, such as Gold Medal Plates and Taste of Edmonton. He is particularly excited for the second year of Feast on the Field this summer, an outdoor dining event at Commonwealth Stadium that raises money for CapitalCare.
In terms of his cooking, Omar likes to ensure that he’s creating unique dishes, even if it’s just a fresh take on a familiar dish. For instance, Zinc’s new spring menu will include a twist on the classic pork and beans: succulent pork belly and white bean ragout with Gala apples, celery, and parsley. “It has to be the same and familiar so people recognize it, it has to be different so that it sets you aside, and it has to be new because the general public gets bored very, very easily,” says Omar. —Tamara Aschenbrenner