Gastown’s award winning So.Cial at Le Magasin Restaurant, Oyster Bar and Custom Butcher Shop Deli welcomes new Executive Chef Harman Gill and General Manager Jim Bateman. Bringing a wealth of knowledge and experience, both came to So.Cial directly from Vancouver’s esteemed C restaurant.
Introducing Chef Harman Gill
34 year old Chef Gill’s illustrious background includes such culinary luminaries as Restaurant Enoteca Pinchiorri in Florence, Italy and The Fat Duck, just outside of London, England. Says So.Cial at Le Magasin Restaurant Director Maureen Fleming, “We are delighted that Harman and his wife have chosen Vancouver as their new home and thrilled to have him at the helm of the So.Cial kitchens.”
Chef Gill was born and raised in Copenhagen, Denmark, he speaks Danish, English, German, Swedish, Norwegian and Hindi. Graduating in 1997 with the highest grade a chef can achieve in Denmark, Gill apprenticed at the 332 year-old restaurant, Søllerød Kro, near Copenhagen, recipient of a Michelin Star and countless other outstanding awards and honours. There he was named Denmark’s ‘Young Chef of the Year’.
Gill’s working career began in the late nineties at Restaurant Kommandanten, the first restaurant in Denmark to be awarded two Michelin Stars. In 2001 he became Chef of Formel B where a seasonally adjusting menu, changing every 2 weeks, was the perfect foil for his creative style. From there Gill moved to Florence, Italy to cook with Annie Féolde, “Grand Chef “of the Relais & Château designated Restaurant Enoteca Pinchiorri, studying Italian and French cooking under her executive chef team in Tuscany.
In 2004 Gill joined Executive Chef Heston Blumenthal’s The Fat Duck, perhaps England’s most famous, 3 Michelin starred, award winning restaurant. There he worked with Chef Blumenthal to better comprehend the molecular compounds of dishes and enable a greater understanding of taste and flavour. The Fat Duck, known for its success in creating unconventional, often playful food with local British ingredients, was recipient of the title “Best Restaurant in the World” by Restaurant Magazine in 2005.
Two years later, and just after placing 5th as ‘Chef of the Year’ in Denmark, Gill became Executive Chef at Restaurant Koriander, the first ethnic gourmet restaurant in Denmark and nominated as the best new restaurant in Copenhagen by AOK. Gill and his wife arrived in Vancouver in 2009 where he joined C Restaurant as Sous Chef.
Together with Maureen Fleming, Restaurant Director, and her partners Kirk McLean and Bob McCammon, Chef Gill presents “New Contemporary Canadian Cuisine”, a “cuisine”, Gill says, “that utilizes regional ingredients to create inspired Canadian food with an emphasis on foods of the field that are artistically presented in a creative, playful way”. “Our chef-driven restaurant sets a new standard in Canadian dining,” says General Manager Jim Bateman, who “in turn hopes to create a new energy in this historic Gastown restaurant”. New menus will be presented on August 20th, 2009.
Food Philosophy: Chef Harman Gill – So.Cial – A SHOWCASE FOR CANADIAN CUISINE
Say’s Gill, “Vegetables are very close to my heart and I generally think people eat far too little of them”…”I want to define the new Canadian cuisine where we showcase the best of Canadian products and the extraordinary diversity of the entire country.” Simple yet playfully creative presentations that show the ingredients in a more natural state with an emphasis on vegetables. “Proteins will continue to play a large role on the plates at So.Cial but with smaller portions as we introduce a larger and more diverse selection of vegetables on the plate”
Celebrating the abundance of farm, field and forest, the regions’ stunning orchard fruits, berries and organic vegetables will be showcased. Prime Alberta Beef, the freshest of the Pacific Ocean fish and regional local game will be on the menus. As summer draws to a close, cranberries, squash, fruit from Gulf Island orchards and Fraser Valley duck and partridge may be featured. During the colder winter season British Columbia venison, leeks, cabbage, sweet potatoes, dried fruits and preserves will be served. All will be prepared in close collaboration with local and international selections of award winning wines. This, after all, is the way it always should have been and still is in countries with strong culinary histories.
In the butcher shop an emphasis on pickling, Scandinavian skills learned in Denmark, as well as preserving and canning will ensure local and regional ingredients, picked at their freshest, are available year round. Local eggs, meat, poultry and game will continue to be available on the butcher shop shelves and Social’s deli will continue to offer the best gourmet sandwiches in the city.
Downstairs in the Oyster Bar sampling sized portions of smoked fish, freshly shucked oysters, flavourful platters will create a more inviting space for casual visitors, an opportunity to try a taste of local ingredients and one of the many wines available by the glass. This fall a new private dining room, adjacent to the oyster bar, will allow for the creation of a great presentation and casual dining location in Gastown.
General Manager – Jim Bateman
Jim is a born and raised British Columbia boy with degrees from Simon Fraser and Langara. The restaurant bug got into him while putting himself through university and he remained in the business working his way up from server to general manager of some of Vancouver’s best restaurants. Close to 5 years with the Sequoia Group saw him managing the iconic Teahouse in Stanley Park and Seasons in Queen Elizabeth Park. For the past two year he was General Manager of downtowns’ Italian Kitchen and most recently was General Manager of C Restaurant.
Says Maureen Fleming, “the choice of a chef can play a huge role in the success of a restaurant however, a restaurant owner often has a strong vision and it was important to me that both the chef and the general manager have that same vision. A chef adds his or her character and passion to the kitchen and the manager to the front of house and that can have a great impact. I feel I have that in Harman and Jim”.