– Story by Angela Cowan Photography by Don Denton
• Born in Mackenzie, BC, and grew up on the Sunshine Coast.
• “I trained at the Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts and received a diploma in cooking, finishing at the top of my class. I apprenticed under Chef William Grimshaw at the Shaughnessy Restaurant at VanDusen Gardens, and I also have a Red Seal.”
• One year at the Qualicum Beach Inn.
What are you best known for as a chef?
“I would say I am best known for my team-building and people skills. People are our biggest asset and I have always put a lot of time into my brigade, building a positive culture and a collaborative one. As well, I’m known for opening restaurants from scratch.”
What are the 10 or so most important ingredients in your pantry?
“Butter, salt, pepper, really good olive oil, onions, garlic and Twinkies (guilty pleasure).”
|Ahi Tuna Bowl with Ahi Tuna served rare, with orzo succotash saute, steamed broccolini and a smooth orange beurre blanc.|
What’s your favourite dish to cook and eat on a cold winter or spring day?
“Anything on the barbecue.”
What’s your go-to item when sampling other chefs’ fares?
“Usually my go-to item would be soup, to really judge someone’s flavour balancing and effort.”
“Meat-curing, sausage-making, hockey, football, animals and sports gambling.”
Anything else we should know?
“I spent time working in Mexico as a guest master chef for the Festival Gourmet, and I was one of only two Canadians invited to take part.”
|Chef Darren Watson|
Can you share an easy, seasonal recipe for a quick bite this spring?
Cardamom & Star Anise Scented Orange Beurre Blanc
1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1 cup white wine
2 green cardamom pods
2 whole star anise
1 lb unsalted butter cut into small cubes
In sauce pan combine the wine, orange juice, star anise and cardamom. Reduce over medium heat until you are left with 2 fluid ounces — it should have a syrup-like consistency. Take off the heat and slowly whisk in the cold butter cubes. If you add too much butter at once or whisk over the heat, your sauce will split on you. I have served this sauce with duck, chicken, scallops and currently with tuna. It is a very versatile sauce. Enjoy!