Profile: Hotel Arts Pastry Chef Ely Salar

Hotel Arts
December 13, 2018
Creating desserts is the best feeling and, at Hotels Arts, I can be really creative in the delivery” – Chef Ely Salar

Ely Salar inspires dining guests with his inventive takes on classic desserts. Salar joined the Hotel Arts Group in 2017 as the Pastry Chef for Oxbow, Yellow Door Bistro, Raw Bar and the catering division for Hotel Arts.

Salar’s love for baking began when his parents opened a bakery and catering company in his home town of Palo Leyte in the Philippines.

“My fondest memory of the bakery is getting up at 3:00 am to make pandesal (a popular bread in the Philippines). Over the holidays, every day after church the community would gather at our bakery to pick up their pandesal and pastries. We would always sell out, but people would stay for the conversation.”

Bringing a community together over food was Salar’s first taste of the hospitality industry and what inspired him to make a career of it. Graduating with Hotel and Restaurant Management, he has worked in hospitality in Dubai, Singapore, the United States and most recently, in Canada. Before joining Hotel Arts Group, Salar worked as the Pastry Chef at the Delta Lodge Kananaskis.

“Hotel Arts is so creative and community involved. Not only do I have the opportunity to create artful desserts, but also to share in and support the local community”, notes Salar. Deeply rooted in Calgary’s Filipino community, Ely Salar is the Education Board of Director for the Philippine Culinary Federation of Canada (PCFC), on the Advisory Committee for Pastry and Baking Art at SAIT, and a founder of the Filipino Food Movement YYC. The movement collaborates with Filipino chefs in Calgary to showcase their talents and dishes through pop-up events in local restaurants. His most recent event at Oxbow was called Balik Kultura, which is Tagalog for going back to your roots.

Purple Yam Cheesecake at Raw Bar
Purple Yam Cheesecake at Raw Bar

When creating his desserts, Chef Salar chooses familiar flavours (cheesecake, panna cotta etc.) and then gets creative with new ingredients and inventive presentations. Pulling inspiration from his roots, Salar’s Purple Yam Cheesecake brings classic flavour pairings from the Philippines to Calgary.

“Creating desserts is the best feeling and, at Hotels Arts, I can be really creative in the delivery” – Chef Ely Salar

Passionate about pairing classic desserts with creative presentations, Chef Salar’s pastries have won with numerous awards and accolades. He placed 1st in the Lindt Chocolate Showpiece Competition for two consecutive years (2016/2017) and won Best Dessert in 2018 Pastry Chef Showcase Competition. He also received the People’s Choice Award and 2nd place for Contemporary Cake Category at the Calgary Sugar Craft Cake Competition 2015. In 2018, he was awarded Excellence in Culinary & Pastry Arts by the Filipino Champions of Canada.

Known for his artful and inventive desserts, Ely’s personal favourite may come as a surprise… chocolate cake! Salar recalls, “we would always make chocolate cake for special occasions, the taste brings back wonderful family memories.”


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