Please tell us about your role and how you got to where you are today.
I am the Owner & Chef of Hawksworth Restaurant and Bel Café in Vancouver. I got to this point in my career by learning on the job and consistently being determined. I started off in Vancouver working in multiple kitchens while completing my apprenticeship, and then I spent a decade in Europe honing my skills in Michelin starred restaurants.
How is the food scene changing?
As tastes are rapidly evolving, cuisine is getting better. Social media is the main factor driving these changes; there is now an abundance of information that is readily available to the consumer.
What might your industry look like in the next 10-20 years?
I see the industry becoming even more competitive. Trends will come and go as consumers taste changes. As the importance of health is an ever-increasing concern, we will see these changes incorporated into and reflected in menu design.
What is your vision of contemporary Canadian cuisine?
My vision is highlighting the best of Canadian products whilst also using global culinary techniques.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I enjoy the constant challenge of my job, the multitude of people I get to interact with and the diversity of the tasks that I have to perform as an owner and chef.
What advice would you have for people interested in culinary arts.?
Start as young as possible and don’t worry about how much you’re working. Set goals but make sure the goals are realistic and achievable. There are also lots of opportunities for those just starting out in the culinary arts to do more and to get ahead. As an example of culinary competitions, we run the Hawksworth Young Chef Scholarship, which can provide a much-needed jumpstart to a future chef’s career.
What sort of skills or training should an aspiring chef seek out?
It really depends on what the goals are, but a Red Seal certification [a skilled trade certification program] is critical for Canadians interested in the culinary arts. On the soft side, they should also have a strong willingness to learn, as well as the determination to stay put in the kitchen when things get heated.