Thursday, April 4, 2013

McCartney & Son: Interview with Chef Shane McCartney

Chef Shane freshly slicing
sous-vide herb crusted
Located at 282 James North in Hamilton is the newly launched McCartney & Son, Hamilton's first salad bar. With a huge variety of locally sourced toppings and greens, M&S is also making homemade soups daily as well as tasty deli sandwiches. I popped in last week (as soon as I heard about them) and tried one of the salads. I immediately emailed Chef Shane McCartney for an interview!

So, are you from Hamilton?
I wasn’t born here but I’ve been living here off and on for about 10 years, maybe longer actually, 15 years.

Where were you trained?
Just in restaurants. My very first start was when I bought a restaurant in Halifax called “Café Vienna”.
A few of the delicious salad bar
At the time when I lived in Halifax, I had never cooked anything ever in my life. My girlfriend was a chef and the restaurant she was working at was for sale. So I bought the place thinking I wasn’t ever going to have to cook anything or do anything. But day 2 somebody didn’t show up and I was in there cooking and I realized that was what I wanted to do.

What were you doing before that?
I was a music promoter and that’s what brought me out there.

Then what?
Then I moved back here, 10 or 12 years ago, worked in a couple places around here and then worked for a high profile catering company in Toronto where I fed lots of famous people, lots from film and from rock and roll.

That’s why they call you the rock 'n' roll chef?
Yep (laughs) - I’ve fed a lot of famous people.

Food art! Bacon & poutine
Like who?
Most famous is Robert Plant.
(This comes to him instantly. He then pauses for a bit before he names the rest in quick succession.)
Jay-Z, Buck 65, P Diddy, Les Claypool and Primus. And Bruce Willis, Samuel L. Jackson,…
(I rudely interrupt here.)

Holy Crap. Really? Samuel L. Jackson is the last person you thought to name?
(Laughs) Yeah. Well, I always think of music first.

What was the inspiration for M&S?
It’s an idea I’d been thinking about doing here in Hamilton for about 5 years, just had to find the right spot to do it. You know, there are no salad bars in this whole city.

I know! I just moved back from Toronto and love all the salad bar options they have.
(Laughs) I know, they’re everywhere in Toronto! I just wanted to do something really fresh and simple. The original idea was just a salad bar but then Reardon’s closed - I used to live above Reardon’s! So then I was like, well I’m gonna do deli sandwiches, proper deli sandwiches, which is also something that is lacking in the city.

The Big Daddy. Need I say more?
Why James North?
I’ve lived here for about 6 years so I’ve watched the neighbourhood develop. I loved Toronto but I left - I got tired of driving to Toronto. Then the guy who owns Jack and Lois -  he works in film so I used to feed him every day - he hired me to open Jack and Lois. So once I got that up and going I was like, well, next step. And then this place became available.

In conclusion, Chef Shane is the real deal and Hamilton is lucky to have him. I will definitely be coming here often and think you should too!

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