When Executive Chef Ken Bowie joined the team at the Regional Recreation Corporation of Wood Buffalo, he brought with him a wealth of experience, knowledge of the community and a dedication to ensuring the enjoyment of the food experience at MacDonald Island Park.
Bowie, well known in the region for excellence in cuisine, came to the RRC in July 2016, fresh from serving the region during the wildfire in May when he returned to the community in the early days to serve hungry first responders battling the flames. Since that time, Bowie has worked with the RRC team to design and deliver food items and menus that please the palate and bring rave reviews.
As Executive Chef, Bowie oversees the food production for MacDonald Island Park. From the seasonal restaurants to the stadium concessions, his team is dedicated to delivering excellence.
The Fox Den Grill and Patio, a seasonal favourite, revealed a modern facelift in 2016. This year a new menu brings back some old favourites while maintaining the traditional options that have become popular as this restaurant secured the title of “best patio in town”. During the winter months, the new Frosty Fox located on the second level of the Suncor Community Leisure Centre serves family-friendly fare similar to the Fox Den and is ideal for winter sport enthusiasts and visitors to the Island. Menu changes are in the works for the Mac Island Café, the outlet on the main level of the Suncor Community Leisure Centre serving “grab and go” style dishes perfect for everyone from dance moms to sport and fitness enthusiasts visiting the Island.
The addition of a food truck in 2016 means MacDonald Island Park has begun to deliver an entirely new food experience based on the strong tradition and history of food trucks across the country. This year, the truck focuses on gourmet hot dogs and poutine with every topping and condiment imaginable, providing the kind of authentic food truck experience usually found in larger centres.
The stadium concessions at Shell Place, activated for everything from baseball and football games to concerts, serve traditional stadium food offerings, and Bowie and his team focus on ensuring quality and taste for every visitor and patron while also continually working to achieve rapid delivery of menu items.
Finally, Bowie also oversees the food creation and delivery for MacDonald Island Park’s expansive banquet, conference, meeting and gala opportunities, which can mean feeding a small group of 50 and under or crowds of hundreds. A new menu, with new team members who bring enthusiasm and excitement to their roles and a firm commitment to delivering excellence, has allowed the team to expand the flavours of the food they serve while focusing on the quality of the food.
“I am delighted to work with a strong team at the RRC,” says Bowie. “Along with Food and Beverage Operations Manager Abhijeet Karajgi, Umesh Singh, Jitesh Naidu, Kathy Locken and the entire kitchen team, I seek to infuse passion for food in every dish we create and serve, while ensuring excellence in quality. My main goal is that when you visit the Island and sample one of our food items you don’t just like it; you love it and want to come back for more. Our passion for food shines in what we create; we are proud to create the food, and we are proud to serve it to a community that appreciates and applauds excellence in every endeavour, including the experience and simple joy of food.”