Blair Lebsack

Published on February 26, 2024

Blair is a graduate of the NAIT Apprenticeship Cook Program ’00 as well as Food & Beverage Management at Red Deer College ’97. Upon
graduation, he began working at The Owl’s Nest in Calgary’s Westin Hotel where he further honed his skills under a German master chef.
Following his time there, he secured Chef positions at The Living Room in Calgary and Rocky Mountain Resorts in Banff. He returned to
Edmonton to take the helm as Chef at Union Bank Inn’s Madison’s Grill.Having had an accomplished career as an executive chef for both
corporate and boutique hotels, Chef Blair took on a role mentoring future chefs as a culinary instructor at NAIT from 2010-2013. This was a
highlight for Blair, but he yearned to establish a restaurant of his own; he took advantage of the summers off to put on extravagant dinners in the middle of farmers’ fields. Blair Lebsack is now the co-owner and chef of RGE RD (Range Road) and The Butchery by RGE RD.

RGE RD was built out of a desire to connect further with Alberta’s unique culinary landscape. The restaurant grew out of a series of farm dinners held on rural range roads around the province, hence the name. While he wanted to exemplify the philosophy of local, healthful and ethical food, there was also a desire to reimagine the dining experience as belonging to a specific time and place. Rather than emulate a style of cuisine or be pegged as something instantly identifiable or categorical - like Italian, French, et al, RGE RD endeavours to be “untamed”. This means reflecting the changing landscape and the spirit of this city and province. Within the four walls of the restaurant, guests can feel a sense of adventure and be complicit in a culinary investigation. Ultimately, RGE RD is a restaurant that is wholly familiar and yet strangely underrepresented in our city —a terroir driven restaurant where common ingredients are presented in new ways and the high end experience ecomes as inviting and nostalgic as a night around a campfire. Admittedly, when people ask what kind of restaurant RGE RD is, there is still a struggle to answer. The desired answer is terroir or Albertan, somehow this seems to be a strange concept to grasp.

The brick and mortar restaurant is an urban gathering place where the farm dictates the menu. A strong team has developed and continues to push forward with expansions of the dining room, private event space and full-service whole animal butcher shop. The work reaches beyond the four walls and into the fields on range roads where farmers steward the land, grow vegetables and raise the livestock that is showcased on the menu. The priorities are to produce outstanding food and offer great hospitality, but always be evolving… the cooks, the menu items, the style of food and the ability to best promote this circular community which has been created.

RGE RD quickly caused a stir locally and nationally. RGE RD was recognized by EnRoute Magazine as ranking fourth of the ten “Best New
Restaurants in Canada 2014”.

Blair’s passion has not gone unnoticed and led to even more acclaim. Alberta Venture Magazine counted Blair among the Fifty Most Influential People of 2014. He was also named a Top Forty Foodie under Forty by Western Living Magazine and Top Forty under Forty by Avenue Magazine (now Edify). RGE RD was chosen as Best New Restaurant in Edmonton by Avenue Magazine (Edify) and and Best New Restaurant in Edmonton by Where Magazine in 2013. RGE RD has also received Best Restaurant Overall by Edify Magazine in 2014, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2022 in addition to recognition in Canada’s 100 Best Restaurants. Accolades include Vancouver International Wine Festival Wine Program Excellence Awards as well as an Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator. The restaurant has been featured in numerous publications nationally and internationally from the Globe and Mail, House and Home, to Vogue and The BBC.

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