Sal Howell is a restaurateur who has helped shape the culinary landscape in Western Canada. She is the founder and proprietor of River Café and Boxwood in Calgary and is deeply committed to local seasonal food, sustainable agriculture and exploring the local ‘terroir’ and ‘taste of place’ of the Prairies, and Canada. Sal has fostered the hospitality and pioneered the culinary ‘farm to table’ philosophy at River Café since its inception in 1991.
Welsh born and educated on both sides of the Atlantic, Sal holds a Fine Arts Degree from Mount Allison University. Both as an artist and restaurateur, her natural style and palate for extraordinary local food have come together in her restaurants.
Sal has been recognized both nationally and internationally for her dedication and persistence in forging new paths to sustainability and for her contributions to Canadian cuisine.
“We make very deliberate and conscious choices about how we source and prepare local ingredients, and champion growers and producers who care for the land as a renewable resource. We also make very deliberate and conscious decisions on how we operate. We care about and have created practices to address our source and use of energy and resources, and how we dispose of waste and unwanted materials.”
Honours include: Independent Restaurateur of the Year 2009, Food Service & Hospitality Pinnacle Awards, Best Restaurateur 2014, Terroir Symposium Awards for Excellence in Hospitality, and Leader of Sustainability Award 2010, The City of Calgary. Earth Day Canada’s Hometown Hero Award 2015 Sal represented Alberta as culinary ambassador at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival in 2007, and attended the Governor General’s inaugural Celebration of the Nation’s Table in 2009.
River Café has numerous accolades including, Canada’s Top 100, Canada’s top 50 restaurants, Vacay.ca, WHERE Magazine Ocean Wise Sustainable Seafood Award for dedicated effort in supporting Ocean conservation, and inclusion in ‘The 1001 restaurants you must experience before you die’