Category Archives: Dine Out

Chef Jinhee Lee From Foreign Concept Calgary Heads to Canadian Culinary Championships

Jinhee Lee – Executive Chef Foreign Concept

The 2017 Canadian Culinary Championships is taking place this weekend in Kelowna, BC February 3-4, 2017. The eleven competing chefs will be aiming for gold as they compete in three events over two days testing their skills, creativity and endurance. We caught up with Calgary’s Chef Jinhee Lee and are cheering her and all the chefs on as they battle for gold!
jinhee lee sous chef at hotel arts raw bar

Foreign concept is modern pan Asian restaurant celebrating ingredients and flavours from countries such as  Vietnam, Korean,China and Japan. My cooking style is clean, uncomplicated and flavorful food that is driven by Technic and ingredients.

foreign concept


Anju!! one of my favorite restaurant in Calgary. Anju is a Modern Korean Tapas. Nice ambiance, great food and good service.


Sunday Korean BBQ with some of my closest friends.


The overuse of micro green for garnishing


More ethnic food.


Onions and green onions. I love playing with green onion and onion and like to confit, roast, grill, sous vide, puree, braise or char them. One of my favorite menu that I created for Foreign concept is charred onion with doubanjang sauce.


Stir fry vegetable or meat with Gochujang sauce (Korean fermented chili paste). Of course with rice.



Binchoten grill. Binchotan is high quality charcoal from Japan. It create high temperature(about 1000 degrees Celsius) then ordinary charcoal so  it creates really good charcoal flavour and smell.



THIS YEAR? I fell in love with Vietnamese flavors. Slanted door is a great cookbook to assist cooks in understanding Vietnamese flavors.


“Cha Ca La Vong” This dish is about my travelling experience in Vietnam and specifically my visit to Hanoi. I found a restaurant that served one dish and I fell in love with it and its flavors. I will bring that experience to my dish.


Bartier Brothers 2014 Gewurztraminer, Okanagan Valley,BC


My biggest mentor in my culinary career is Duncan Ly. I helped him Culinary Championships 2014. We brought the Silver medal home. This year Duncan will be my sous chef. It means a lot to me.

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More About Chef Lee

With fierce passion and a natural talent for cooking, Chef Jinhee Lee inspires the innovative culinary creations exciting her dinners where ever she goes. Hailing from South Korea, Jinhee first moved to Calgary with sights set on a corporate profession before finding herself in SAIT’s professional cooking program.

Over the years of her cooking career, Jinhee has impressed many with her inventive and refined approach to food where she continues to draw from the cuisine of her heritage as well as other Asian influences. Known for creative flavours and thoughtful dishes, she earned a spot on Avenue Calgary’s Top 5 People to Watch in Calgary’s Food Scene in 2016.

Collecting numerous accolades, Jinhee was the winner of the 2012 Calgary Stampede Dueling Chefs competition and the 2013 Art Gallery of Calgary Cooks critics’ award. Notably the only female chef at the 2015 Gold Medal Plates competition, Jinhee took home an impressive silver and recently took home gold at the 2016 Gold Medal Plates. Her style is clean, uncomplicated food combining exceptional ingredients to develop incredible flavors that respect tradition.

Jinhee had been a chef de cuisine at Raw Bar over 3 years. During the time, Raw Bar had earned a spot on Avenue Calgary’s Best Top 10 Restaurants 2015 and 2016. She is set to take over as executive Chef of Foreign Concept. A new modern Pan-Asian restaurant Set to open this December of 2016.

Read more about the newly opened Foreign Concept on Daily Hive here. Or on the Calgary Herald here.

BC Chef Jesse McCleery Pilgrimme Restaurant on Galiano Island Heads to Canadian Culinary Championships.

Chef Interview Series – Chef Jesse McCleery

This week is the final for the Canadian Culinary Championships and we’re interviewing the chefs prior to their arrival in Kelowna. We caught up with Chef McCleery from Pilgrimme prior to his win in Victoria in November, so re-posting this one with a few pics from the BC Competition.

Chef McCleery Winning Dish GMP Victoria
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Chef Jesse McCleery Gold at GMP Victoria

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Chef’s dish – SQUASH, ONION, PEAR, BEEF HEART – Growing Chefs Fundraiser 2016

Tell us a little bit about your restaurant and/or style of cooking.

Pilgrimme is a small restaurant on Galiano Island with a focus on vegetables, Canadian grains and what grows wild on and around the island.

Where do you eat in your city?

When I head over to Vancouver I always try to get a bowl of ramen at motomachi and usually steer towards all the amazing Asian foods in town , one of the things I miss most about the city.

What would be your ideal food day? 

Guests willing to try new things.

What trend do you wish would die?

Food trends in general. We tend to over consume the latest trendy veg or whatever which in turn sees a lot of destruction in other countries when there is big money to be made supporting North Americas over consumption of latest said food trend. Everything in moderation!

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Chefs at Growing Chefs Fudraiser – Chef McCleery far left.

What trend/s do you wish would be next?

Conversation up and phones down at the table.

What ingredient do you always have on hand?

One type or another of a gulf island seaweed.

What’s your go-to recipe when you’re eating at home? 

Grilled cheese.


What equipment do you wish you had in your kitchen?

A rational.  (For those who don’t work in a pro kitchen – “A cooking appliance that senses, recognises, thinks with the user and ahead, learns and communicates with its user. The first appliance on the market that does not work according to pre-set programme.” – Food Stuff Africa).

fool mag

What cookbook would you suggest for a gift for your foodie friends this year?

A subscription to Fool magazine

What wine/beer/libation are you pairing with this year?

Seastar Vineyards Blanc de Noir from our neighbour Pender island

For more about pilgramme and Chef McCleery head to Food Day Canada for Anita Stewart’s brilliant write up – pilgrimme.

Dine Out Vancouver Continues til February 5th

Dine Out Vancouver Offers 3-course Menu Deals

Dine Out Vancouver has one week left and while we wish we had more evenings free for dining out, we did get to a few and have a couple photos and recommendations to share.



Chalaco Ceviche- albacore tuna, sockeye salmon, pacific ling cod, scallops, prawns, green tigre de leche marinade, fresh oranges and rocoto chili dusted calamariChicha

Yuca Bola- cassava root croquettes filled with asiago cheese, cream cheese, jalapeno, and scallions with huancainianaChicha

Lomo Saltado Medium rare flank steak, peppers, tomatoes, onions, kennebec fries, rich veal demi stir fryChicha

Costillas de Cerdo Orange and panca chili glazed baby back ribs with double smoked bacon, red nugget, and green bean potato saladChicha

Mejillones Claientes mussels and chorizo steamed in rocoto chili, white wine, and tomato broth, with sweet peppers and huacatay butter and quinoa and honey bread crustiniChicha

Dark beer and cilantro slow braised pork cheeks with butternut squash and kale barley risottoChicha


Peruvian Caramel Shortbread cookies ~gooseberry and orange curd



Grilled beets, california burrata, toasted hazelnuts (V)(GF)Juniper

Elk tartar, blueberries, juniper, crispy roots, burnt hay aioli (GF)Juniper

Albacore tuna, nori emulsion, charred broccolini, wheatberry porridgeJuniper

Bison short rib, smoked potato, creamed brussels, onion, bone marrow jus (GF)


Dockside Crab & Shrimp Cakes Charred Lemon Aioli, Mango SalsaDockside

Duck Prosciutto Tart House Made Duck Prosciutto, Onion Jam, Arugula & Balsamic ReductionDockside

Winter Green Salad Manchego Polenta Croutons, French Beans & Herb VinaigretteDockside

Linguini Vongole Manila Clams, White Wine Cream Sauce, Reggiano CheeseDockside

Roasted Zucchini Eggplant Puree, Cucumber and Fennel Salad & Toasted Pine NutsDockside

Beef Wellington Truffle Mash Potatoes, Market Vegetables & Red Wine JusDockside

Chocolate and Apricot Mousse Layer Cake Apricot Puree & Fresh Berries

Edible Canada

Edible Canada
Pacific Cod and Pemberton Potato Pakoras jalapeño apple chutney, fresh mint and picklesEdible Canada
Crispy West Coast Humbolt Squid chermoula vinaigrette, white bean hummus, dried olives

Edible Canada
Haida Gwaii Rockfish & Mussel Stew Moroccan tomato broth, heirloom carrots, chickpeas, cilantro

Edible Canada
Char Grilled Alberta Hanger Steak chimichurri, panisse, garlic purée, grilled tomatoEdible Canada
Quebec Rabbit Orecchiette mushrooms, confit onions, shaved brussels sprouts, parmesan

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Pumpkin Sticky Toffee Pudding maple bourbon custard, candied walnuts

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Chocolate Pot du Crème cassis, crystallized ginger

All Edible Canada image courtesy of Dianne Chow of Fabulously Frugal

Kaya Malaysian Bistro

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Tofu Goreng lightly-fried tofu, bean sprouts, cucumber, S.E. Asian dressing
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Winter Squash & Apple Curry Bisque South East Asian soup infused with Malaysia herbs & spices
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Roasted side ribs on jasmine rice cauliflower, Kaya-style green curry
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Singapore Crispy Chicken with Roti Canai Prawn Crackers, coldslaw, sweet chili sauce
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Pandan cheese panna cotta and Berry & plum sugar Crepe

Feast in West Vancouver

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Grilled Squid / Panzanellaimg 20170127 181138836

Albacore Tuna Tataki and Pickled Mushroomsimg 20170127 184626281

Feast Fried Chicken with Confit Garlic Mashed Potatoes and Real Gravy
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Pan Roasted Ling Cod with Hand-cut Farfalle and Smoked Gem Tomato Relishimg 20170127 194613835

Espresso Chocolate Pot de Crème, Peanut Powder and Feuilletineimg 20170127 194628703

Coconut Panna Cotta with Grilled Pineapple Compote

For more check Dine Out Vancouver online.


Bocuse d’Or Fundraiser – Wishing Chef James Olberg Well On His Journey

BC Chefs Band Together For Canadian Chef in Bocuse d’Or Fundraiser

Created in 1987 by Mater Chef Paul Bocuse, the Bocuse d’Or culinary competition is now in it’s 30 year. Twenty-four of the most promising chefs in the world go through two days of intense competition and give their very best to secure a top spot. Intense is the key word here – this is MAXIMUM chefness at work (and yes, I do know that’s not a word).

This year’s Canadian candidate is Chef James Olberg who heads to France very shortly to compete in the  Bocuse d’Or. However Chef Olberg has more than just culinary prep to do, as unlike many other countries, that have immense budgets for their chefs to train for the prestigious Bocuse d’Or contest, Canada does not. Our chefs have to work full time, raise families, try to stay healthy and have some personal time AND train for the Bocuse d’Or AND worry about the financing of it all. Needless to say, something has to give.

Bocuse d'Or Fundraiser

This past December I was super impressed, once again, with our local chef community as they banded together to help one of their own. Chef Keith Pears spearheaded the venture at his hotel, the Delta by Marriott in Burnaby. Guests could choose the chef they would sit with and there were some pretty big hitters here! Truffles were shaved, caviar spooned out liberally and there was an amazing sense of community. I hugged many old friends and met new ones.

Bocuse d'Or Fundraiser

Bocuse d'Or Fundraiser

Bocuse d'Or Fundraiser

Marcus Von Albrecht’s generously donated XFour Vodka for the initial Cocktail and a selection of skillfully prepared canapes were served. Then we headed to our chefs tables for the dinner.  I had the good fortune to sit with Chef Sylvain Currier.

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Bocuse d'Or Fundraiser

Autumn Harvest Vegetable Salad – burgundy truffle puree, candied hazelnuts, preserved lemon

Bocuse d'Or Fundraiser

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Pine mushroom custard white alba truffle, caviar, cauliflower topped with hand shaved trufflesBocuse d'Or Fundraiser

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Braised veal cheeks with Perigold truffle, fois gras croquette, parsnip puree, crispy celeriac, parsley puree

Bocuse d'Or FundraiserAmaretto Panna Cotta – BC apple sorbet, candied ginger, carrot puree, crisp meringue, almonds

Macarons by Panifrance

Bocuse d'Or Fundraiser

We wish Chef Olberg the very best on his journey and thank all that contributed to this amazing night. May the force be with him!


CCFCC Bocuse d’Or Canada team includes Navjeet Singh as the Official Commis to Chef James Olberg at the 2017 Bocuse d’Or in Lyon.

The Naramata Inn Welcomes Ambrosia Restaurant and Lounge by Chef Victor Bongo

Chef Victor Bongo to Take on The Food Program at The Naramata Inn

It may not be wine touring season quite yet, but it’s just around the corner, and each year there’s a few more spots to both wine taste and dine at.  For one, we’ve just heard there’s going to be a new face behind the fires at the Naramata Inn, Chef Victor Bongo. Knowing Chef Bongo, he’ll be sure to add some of his international flair to the region.

I first met Chef Bongo at the Canadian Chefs Congress in Duncan in 2010, where he was representing the Yukon Territory, and I’ve had the pleasure of sampling his cuisine many times. Once again at Kitsilano’s Establishment, and many times while attending a variety of events he was cooking at, including the launch of his latest cookbook.

naramata inn

Bongo has recently been cooking at a pop up at Rooftop in Vancouver, but he’s packing his knives and heading to Naramata to open Ambrosia Restaurant & Lounge come spring. Bongo describes the restaurants style as “Unique signature global fusion cuisine; plates packed with flavor and whimsy presented beautifully in a casual/semi-formal and welcoming environment.”

There will be three spaces and themes at the Inn and here’s a bit of information from the release:

Ambrosia Restaurant is located on the main floor in the classic and dining rooming seating 91 guests with a patio that seats 17 for a total experience of 108 seats. The semi-formal dining room has two seating’s at 6pm and 8:30pm. You’ll see plated meals consisting of appetizers ($16 – $22), Mains ($26 – $40) and Desserts ($8 – $12) along with a small classic cocktail list and a healthy wine list with unique wine library of local producers expertly matched.

Ambrosia Lounge will is housed on the lower floor and will showcase west-coast décor and a nouveau prohibition style wine lounge that serves up Chef’s signature global fusion tapas. Ambrosia Lounge seats 68 guests and will operate from 4pm to 12am daily with Happy Hour running 4pm to 6pm. The menu is designed for sharing, and will include medium tapas ($8 – $15), large tapas ($16 – $30) and desserts ($8 – $10) along with a unique artisan cocktail program, uniquely appointed wine list and craft beers program.

Ambrosia Patio seats 60 and operate  from 11am to 7pm. When the lounge opens at 4pm the entire happy hour and lounge menu is available to guests on the patio. The Ambrosia Patio offers a unique BBQ Pit with Chef’s signature marinades and rubs at a cost of $25 per person and includes 1 portion of local artisan proteins from and unlimited gourmet sides.

Victor Bongo

Before the New Year I was invited to a menu sampling while the photographer did a photo shoot for the new menu. I did my best to capture some of what’s coming your way should you stop in at the Inn for a formal meal.  This year’s resolutions involve working on my photography (again) so it was great to watch a pro and take note of some tips for the future.

Victor Bongo

Chilled White Asparagus and Truffle Bisque with black truffle, crab and avocado remoulade and golden sturgeon caviar.

Victor Bongo

Chipotle Braised Lamb Cheek Tortellacci with Scallops, roasted chanterelle mushrroms, Frangelico sauce, sweet pea and roasted jalapeno puree, summer truffle

Victor Bongo

Arctic Char and Golden Caviar Tartar with Avocado wasabi mousse, mango habanero sauce, toasted sesame seeds, miso and squid ink sauce and crispy nori

Victor Bongo

Pan Roasted Arctic Char with sweet pea mint risotto, lemongrass and ginger creme fraiche and candied lemon maple butternut squashVictor Bongo

Moroccan Pistachio Crusted Lamb with plantain and habanero pepper puree, butter and red wine braised asparagus, Gruyere potato pave and lamb jus

We’ll be looking forward to stopping in at the Inn this season. Maybe we’ll have to spend a night there before our wedding. Pre-wedding honeymoons are a thing, aren’t’ they? Well they should be. It’s really a darling place to stay with its heritage-style rooms and amazing lake views. I’ve had the pleasure once at Christmas a few years back and always meant to return. We’re wishing Bongo luck on the opening and we’ll see him and his crew very soon. Victor Bongo

Potters Christmas Shop and A Spot of Tea at Honeybee

An Adventure to Surrey for Holiday Shopping and Afternoon Tea

Celebrations of any sort were big at my house, and Christmas was no exception. Our house was fully decorated with a good measure of garlands, ribbon and the occasional poinsetta, and each year my sister and I would get an ornament on the night before Christmas, adding yet another decoration to the tree.  My mother has an eye for creating a festive space, and my parents home is always a welcoming space, at any time of year.

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In Ontario, where we lived until I was eight, we actually lived just down the street from a Christmas shop, so perhaps it just got into my veins at an early age, this Christmas spirit I have. So when I was asked to drop by a store entirely devoted to Christmas, I jumped at the chance and hence arrived at Potters Christmas Store in Surrey.

Potters Christmas Shop

My favourite decoration!

The owner, Ed Holden, met us when we arrived and gave us a bit of a guided tour, after which we were left on our own to peruse the aisles. It’s a good thing I had to keep an eye on the time as I could have spent a good deal of both my day and my holiday budget there.

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There were tree lights of every kind, from skulls to hello kitty, and ornaments for every possible obssession from bacon to golf. There were santa hats and turkey hats, and elves on the shelves, floors and celings.

Potters Christmas Shop

We found a Christmas tree with snow spewing out of the top, snow globes, nutcrackers galore, and hot chocolate in every flavour you could think of; everywhere you turn at Potters something catches your eye. I left with numberous ornaments, a barbeque brush, marinating sauces, and chocolate spreads but did manage to at least leave the silly hats for others.

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After working up quite the appetite we ventured on to The Honeybee Centre, where they’re serving up a festive holiday tea. The shop carries all sorts of things bee related and the cafe has a high tea available year round.

Honeybee Centre

For December  there’s a special Holiday High Tea which includes holiday flavours in the cupcake, macarons, and cheesecake, shortbread cookies, cranberry orange scones and, on the savoury side, a brie and roasted chicken panini, artichoke baguette, and a turkey and cranberry roll, all served with a choice of a variety of teas, or a peppermint honey mocha or egg nog latte should you with. There’s plenty on the plate for those suffering from post holiday-shopping starvation.

Potters Christmas Shop

If you’re up for a little adventure,  pack up a couple friends and plan on a good half day for a little Surrey-based adventure. Make sure there’s room in the car for your packages though, because I guarantee you won’t leave without at least a few decorations and stocking stuffers; you are bound to find something that you just can’t resist. Potters is open until Christmas Eve.

Chef Morgan Wilson Q at the Empress


Chef Morgan Wilson from the Fairmont Empress Hotel doesn’t have far to go to compete for Gold Medal Plates, as he’s Victoria-based, but that doesn’t make it any easier. We learn a little more about his thoughts on trends before the competition.

q at the empress 739650 high

Tell us a little bit about your restaurant and/or style of cooking.

Q at the Empress is focused on local flavors of the Pacific North West, with a focus on seafood and seasonal ingredients sourced from local farmers, fishers and markets.

Where do you eat in your city?

I like to discover smaller restaurants, one that I’m fond of right now for breakfast is Jam Café, great vibe and food.

What would be your ideal food day?

Somewhere in France enjoying all the great cheese and wine

What trend do you wish would die?

Gluten free baked goods, eating gluten free can be achieved by simply avoiding foods that have flour.

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What trend/s do you wish would be next?

A return to simpler cooking. We, as Chefs, with the rise of molecular cuisine, sous vide etc., have gotten very good at the technical aspects of cooking food and have been exploring that for quite some time. I would like to see that better understanding of how to perfectly cook a piece of meat or a vegetable focused into fewer ingredients on the plate, with less fuss the flavors that are there will shine.

What ingredient do you always have on hand?

Onions, this is a building block for so many recipes I really can’t live without them.

What’s your go-to recipe when you’re eating at home?

A good old spaghetti Bolognese.

What equipment do you wish you had in your kitchen?

Time machine

What cookbook would you suggest for a gift for your foodie friends this year?

Give grandma a call and get a copy of her recipes, always the best food at grandma’s house!

Any hints on what dish you will be preparing for Gold Medal Plates?

Quack quack

cab franc

What wine/beer/libation are you pairing with this year?

Tinhorn Creek Oldfield Series Cabernet Frac

Who is coming with you?

Mark Butschler from Tinhorn Creek will be pouring, I will have a great team of our cooks from the Empress assisting.

Chef Sam Chalmers North 48


Gold Medal Plates competitor, Chef Sam Chalmers, is based in Victoria, and I just may have to go for the French Onion Soup he describes below.

Tell us a little bit about your restaurant and/or style of cooking.

North 48 is a modern comfort food restaurant. We take classic dishes and put our own spins on them. For example, our French Onion Soup: I salt cure half the onions, caramelize the rest, and put them in a mason jar with bacon & duck stock and cook that for 5 hours. We serve that tableside poured over a slice of toasted baguette & melted white cheddar.

french onion

What trend do you wish would die?

Trends are important to keep food interesting to the diner. I don’t overly wish any of them to die. From every major food trend we get pieces of them, ingredients, philosophies or techniques that will stick around and thats how food and cooking keep evolving. The one thing I do wish is that cooks, especially young cooks, try as hard to master the classic techniques and dishes before trying to master new trends.

What trend/s do you wish would be next?

Sustainable food has been a trend for a while now and I hope it keeps growing. People are more aware than ever to where their food comes from. I think its very important to always think sustainable and local as much as you can. I think we need to remove some negativity that is around farmed seafood. There are people out there doing right and we have to make that the norm, not the exception.

Any hints on what dish you will be preparing for Gold Medal Plates?

I will be preparing Northern Divine Sturgeon. I feel its important for people to understand the stress that we have put on our oceans and our seafood population. Northern Divine is farming fish the right way. This is the future of fishing and I want to showcase that.

Chef Nicholas Waters Toque Catering

One more day until Gold Medal Plates in Victoria and prior to this yearly face off, we try to catch up with all the chefs competing.  Chef Nicholas Waters from Toque Catering in Victoria gave us a little insight into his culinary world.

Tell us a little bit about your restaurant and/or style of cooking.

We are a full service catering company that custom designs each menu to our client’s tastes. We specialize in Vancouver Island Cuisine.

Where do you eat in your city?

Wild Mountain, Relish & Dad’s Soup & Sandwiches

What would be your ideal food day? 

Culinary food trips to a different city for appetizers and cocktails, several places in one day!

What trend do you wish would die?

Scallops & Pork Belly combined and old school buffets!

What trend/s do you wish would be next?

It’s already starting for the 2017 Wedding Season, Family Style Dinners!

What ingredient do you always have on hand?


What’s your go-to recipe when you’re eating at home?

Green Thai Curry

What equipment do you wish you had in your kitchen?

Paco – Jet

What cookbook would you suggest for a gift for your foodie friends this year?

Atelier Crenn – Metamorphosis of Taste

Any hints on what dish you will be preparing for Gold Medal Plates?

Prawns on a Plate, inspired by the West Coast!

sea cider

What wine/beer/libation are you pairing with this year?

Pommeau Cider from Sea Cider Farmhouse

Who is coming with you?

The Toque Catering Team

From my Facebook we also had some questions:

If you could only have one small kitchen appliance what would it be?

Vita Mix


Who is your favourite supplier, and why?

My Herb Farmer from Happy Valley Lavender Farms. She is just so happy everytime she arrives and it makes our whole kitchen smile, no matter how busy it is! Not to mention her herbs are the most flavorful you can find locally.

What’s your “ketchup”?

(I don’t mean literal ketchup, I just mean the one ingredient you use most often.) Mayonnaise

Chef Jefferson Alvarez Cacao Vancouver


Chef Jefferson Alvarez has had a busy fall as he’s recently opened Cacao, inspired Latin American plates in Kitsilano. We had a few questions for him as he preps for Gold Medal Plates to compete for Gold, but there were no hints as to what he’ll be serving!

Tell us a little bit about your restaurant and/or style of cooking.

We are a latin American restaurant style progressive Latin

Where do you eat in your city?

Where chefs are hands on!

What would be your ideal food day? 

Food from my mom

What trend do you wish would die?


What trend/s do you wish would be next?

NO MORE TRENDS PLEASE! We should evolve and progress like normal people use to.

What ingredient do you always have on hand?

Salt & pepper.

What’s your go-to recipe when you’re eating at home? 

Brazilian bbq chicken.

What equipment do you wish you had in your kitchen?

A real stove top.


What cookbook would you suggest for a gift for your foodie friends this year?

Virgilio Martinez CENTRAL

Any hints on what dish you will be preparing for Gold Medal Plates?

No comments.

What wine/beer/libation are you pairing with this year?


Who is coming with you?