Interview with Chef Brian Skinner from The Acorn Vancouver

BrianSkinner headshot#ccc2014 @goldmedalplates Chefs from Canada will meet in Kelowna from February 7-8, 2014 to compete in the Gold Medal Plates Canadian Culinary Championships.

Each year I send them some questions prior to the challenge. Here is the scoop from Chef Brian Skinner from The Acorn in Vancouver.

What was your first food memory?

Eating mussels with cream and garlic with my Dad on the Isle of Sky in Scotland.

What was in your elementary school lunch kit?

Peanut butter sandwiches.

Where did you first learn to cook?

When I moved out of home and turned vegetarian.

Did you attend culinary school – if so, where?

VCC, Vancouver

Where has been your favourite place to work to date and why?

Noma, Copenhagen. I learned more in 5 weeks about food than I did in 3 years of culinary school.

Who in the industry taught you the most?

Ryan Zuvich, Hilltop Bistro, Victoria


What is your favourite style of cooking?

Vegetable focused

What is your favourite ethnic cuisine?


What is your favourite family recipe?

My dads Tomato & Macaroni soup.

What ingredient(s) can’t you live without?


Do you have an unforgettable taste combination?

Apples & Cheddar

Ingredient you can’t get enough of?


Ingredient that will never touch your lips?

Foie Gras

What basic recipe/s do you advise for cooking novices to learn as a starting point?

Start simple! Buy great quality local ingredients and do little to them.

What’s your go-to comfort food?

Potato Chips

What’s your favourite cocktail?


Do you have a guilty pleasure?

I try not to feel guilty about anything I eat.

What’s your definition of a perfect meal?

Good company, food made from scratch.

How do you unwind after service?

A run or a beer. Or both.

Favourite culinary destination?


Most memorable meal last year?

Burdock & co.

What would you eat at your last meal?

Risotto & Alba truffles

Who are you dream dinner companions?

My wife and baby boy

What do you do in your off time?

Cycle, Yoga, and dream about food.

Where do you eat in your city when you are not working?

Peaceful Restaurant, Zipang Sushi, Sagram House for dosas, home!

What is the dish/dishes your restaurant is known for?

Kale Caesar Salad, Beer Battered Halloumi, the nightly “Harvest” dish

What dish will you be cooking for Gold Medal Plates?

Smoked King Oyster Mushrooms with Seasonal vegetables and Mushroom Jus

Why did you choose the particular wine/beer pairing for the dish?

Local, Organic, and paired beautifully with the food.

What ingredients have you brought with you?

The ingredients to use for Saturday night, we’re not allowed much else!!!

Who have you brought with you to assist?

Two of my cook from The Acorn – Heather Giles and Ritchie Nguyen

For the black box competition are there any strategies that you will employ to succeed?


What challenges do you have to face as your travel to another destination to cook?

Weather, unfamiliar suppliers for procuring food for the Mystery Wine Pairing event, working out of foreign kitchens.

Who do you see as the toughest competitor this year?

Myself. :o)