Top Chef Canada champ Dale MacKay shutters his Vancouver restaurants

Top Chef Canada champ Dale MacKay shutters his Vancouver restaurants

Dale MacKay with Rob Rossi after winning Top Chef Canada (Image: Top Chef Canada) 

The notoriously competitive Vancouver restaurant scene has swallowed up Ensemble and Ensemble Tap, the two restaurants launched by Top Chef Canada champ Dale MacKay just before and just after he took the title for season one. According to an interview in the Vancouver Sun, MacKay made some rookie mistakes, like launching a second location without building up sufficient startup capital, and locating them right downtown, surrounded by chains like Earls, Joey and Cactus Club, which dominate the area with their clockwork service and comparatively lower costs (speaking of costs, MacKay was apparently paying $40,000 a month in rent between the two restaurants). Early reviews praised Ensemble for its reasonable prices, which also couldn’t have helped the bottom line much. MacKay’s failure serves as a cautionary tale for first-time restaurateurs, like season two winner Carl Heinrich, who’s making a similar gamble in downtown Toronto with The Richmond Station, which should be opening soon at Yonge and Richmond. MacKay will likely be headed back to his native Saskatoon for the time being to figure things out. Read the entire story [Vancouver Sun] »