I took my apprenticeship (1990-92), right after high school with Coast Hotels in the Okanagan, travelling from New York to Hawaii before finding permanent residency in Vancouver. I have found that the art of cooking has come so far since the hard line European style of delivering excellent cuisine founded by French chefs. The degree of educated diners has exploded over the last 10 years, and consistently pleasing the “new breed” of foodies is a welcome challenge – Fusion everything with attention to detail is what I truly aspire to maintain, explore and grow upon. In the era of cookie cutter chain restaurants’, being a chef as opposed to a kitchen manager should be important. I have gladly adopted a hands on approach to teaching and learning that real food comes from the ground up. This gets lost on people at times. I like to think of myself as “the guy who always has a compass……”
Jason Sussman of Tacofino is an ex treeplanter with a passion for cooking and surfing. He moved to Tofino from Victoria where he worked at Pig BBQ and Cafe Brio. His wife Kaeli Robinsong grew up cooking in the Hollyhock kitchen on Cortes island and has since cooked in tree planting camps and the Vancouver film industy. Tacofino was opened in June 2009; after years of tree planting/camp cooking in the summers and spending winters in Mexico surfing, they wanted to put down some roots somewhere that they could combine their love of cooking, surfing and Mexican food. They bought a film catering truck from Vancouver (rumored to be the very first of its kind to show up in Vancouver in 1978), painted it bright orange and drove it out to Tofino!
Jesse Blake was born and raised on Vancouver Island. He has a passionate love for the waters, woods and farmlands. In 1996 he completed his culinary degree at a local apprenticeship college. Luck would bring into friendship a local commercial fisherman and fine seafood purveyor named Jeffery Mikus and In 2008 the two opened the Wildside Grill.
Spotted Bear Bistro
Born and raised in Victoria, Cameron Young has worked at some the best restaurants in the city, spending time with George Szaz at Paprika Bistro and Stage Wine Bar, Cafe Brio and The Marina Restaurant.
Cameron has travelled extensively on multiple trips through Europe getting inspiration and learning along the way. For two years Cameron left the kitchen and studied Viticulture and Wine Making, spending a harvest with Church and State in Brentwood Bay and two harvests with Blue Mountain Vineyards and Cellars, while completing his studies in Penticton.
After the two years the Island was calling him home and he returned to Tofino for the third time, now in 2013 Cameron finds himself at The Spotted Bear Bistro. Collectively Cameron has spent eight years in Tofino, running the kitchens at Middle Beach Lodge and most recently two years with TacoFino Cantina. The West Coast is home and he is looking forward to continuing to serve the residents of the area and the travelers.
Darwin’s Cafe at Tofino Botanical Gardens
Darwin’s Cafe in the Tofino Botanical Gardens is now open for the season and is serving breakfast, lunch, snacks, and fresh baked goods vegetarian and otherwise. All of our menu items have at least one ingredient from our kitchen garden, or contain fresh eggs collected every morning from our resident chickens. We create food that is simple, hand crafted, and above all: fresh. Our coffee bar grinds Creekmore Organic beans roasted in Coombs on Vancouver Island.
Stephanie Hughes is your host and cook at Darwin’s Cafe. Stephanie has a diverse background that includes, wild food harvesting and preserving, remote community garden coordinator, head gourmet cook on board sailing charter vessels, and has apprenticed as a baker. Stephanie brings a passion for local west coast foods and ingredients to Darwin’s Cafe.
New Brunswicker Artie Ahier and Texan Lisa Ahier bring their unique blend of maritime mettle and Southwestern passion to their Tofino restaurant, SoBo (short for Sophisticated Bohemian), opened in 2003. This husband and wife team has been creating culinary magic together for the past 17 years all over the world. Their shared passion for sustainable harvesting and farming, as well as for locally sourced ingredients, has shaped their endeavours during their time together and this continues to hold true for them in the incredible wilderness of the west coast of Vancouver Island.
In many ways, I feel grateful for the upbringing that I was given. Not that I was any more or less fortunate than others, but because a set of values existed in my family that I feel very lucky to have had bestowed upon me. In a generation witnessing an exponential growth of technology, whether it’s the newest GMO, or the newest iPad, we’re getting faster, and more efficient. In many ways, these technologies give us freedom, but when it’s time to enjoy the basics, the simplest pleasures, we often forget how. I feel privileged to have been given access to these simple pleasures, such as the aroma inside a sweltering greenhouse full of tomato vines in my grandfather’s backyard, or lifting the wax off the top of the latest batch of strawberry preserves. It might be finding the best seat next to a pile of steamed mussels, plucked straight off the rocks you’re sitting on, or eating salt cured cod with homegrown potatoes, and the whitest white bread you can imagine. These things are all so simple, but they are real, and to me real is what matters.
Trilogy Fish Company
John Gilmour has been an avid fisherman since childhood. He was raised in a small North Coast community called Kitimat. Here is where his passion for the outdoors started; spending days fishing, SCUBA diving, and kayaking in the Douglas Channel. In his late teens he moved to Port Hardy on the north tip of Vancouver Island to start his career in the fishing industry. After 5 years in the high production seafood processing he decided to move to Tofino to focus more on creating high quality seafood products using local seafood that would be sold locally. This is his eighth year as the owner/manager of Trilogy were he spends his time creating local seafood delicacies.
Tofino Brewing Company
Tofino Brewing Company is proud to announce that we are open for business on the West Coast of Vancouver Island. We’re new on the scene so you may not know us yet, but there’s a good chance you’re familiar with the little town we call home. Whether you’ve spent a weekend here, ventured out on a surf trip, or were born and raised on the peninsula, you already know what an amazing and beautiful part of the world this is. Our hope is that we can add fresh, natural, craft beer to the already long list of things that make Tofino such a great place.
We’re also incredibly excited to introduce Tofino Brewing Company’s first beer: Tuff Session Ale. Come by the brewery to try it out and have a look around. We’ve got cold, fresh 1.89L (64oz.) refillable growlers for sale as well as kegs, glassware, T-shirts, hoodies, tastings, and tours. We’re located just up Industrial Way and open between 12:00pm and 11:00pm. You’ll also find our beer on tap at local establishments around town so be sure to keep an eye out and ask your bartender or server.
So far, the local support has been amazing. Thanks so much to all the friends and well wishers for stopping by the brewery to help out, check on progress, and just generally keep the stoke alive. Now that Tofino Brewing Company is officially open for business we’d like to extend an invite to everyone to come stop by and see/taste what we’ve been working so hard to create.
The Fish Store with Lutz Zilliken
Tofino’s premier Seafood store. Fresh, local, in-house smoked and fresh seafood located The Shore builing in heart of downtown Tofino. Come visit and see our wide selection of our local seafood catch! Custom processing, packing and fish smoking available. Photo: Derek Cruikshanks
Long Beach Lodge Resort
Executive Chef Ian Riddick Born in Willowdale, Ontario, Chef Riddick started as an apprentice cook at the age of 15. Through dedication, hard work, and with vision, he pursued a career in the culinary arts. His experiences have spanned over 25 years. Chef Riddick completed his culinary training at the famed George Brown Collage; his apprenticeship took place under the tutelage of renowned Chef John Higgins at the prestigious King Edward hotel in Toronto. In 1994, his taste for travel took over and Chef Riddick joined Delta Hotels in Whistler, British Columbia. The move to western Canada was critical in developing chef Riddick’s culinary style, spending the next 6 years learning about resort-style restaurants and investing time in the outdoors learning about foraging native edibles, mushrooms and plants that have made appearances on countless menus over the past decade. Riddick, likes his kitchens food to tell a story. “Something our guests can respond too”, says Riddick.
Red Can Gourmet
Chef Tim May brings his love of food and kitchens to RedCan Gourmet located in Tofino’s hottest location. Tim May has been cooking professionally for over 30 years at the some of the world’s best hotels. In 1998, Chef May created The Clayoquot Wilderness Resorts F&B program and stayed as Executive Chef. Chef May has been consulting on the West Coast for the last 14 years. May is proud to work with the First Nations Communities on the West Coast. Proper training is important in the kitchen and Chef May enjoys inspiring and being inspired by his students.