Can you describe your first sip of Krug?
It was February 29, 2016. I was 25 years old and had been a certified Sommelier for 2 years by then. Krug was a Champagne House that I held in reverence for many years but had never had the opportunity to imbibe. That was until two industry friends and I decided to go in on a bottle of Krug Grand Cuvée 162ème Édition and enjoy it after service one night. I recall an immense amount of complexity with aromatics of preserved lemon, dried elderflower, puff pastry, crushed oyster shells and chalk dust. The palate really stood out for me. The body was concentrated and textural with a delicate and persistent mousse. Not to mention an inherent freshness, laser focus and a nervous tension as a result of the natural acidity found in Champagne. This was and will forever be one of my most memorable “Firsts” in the wine world.
How did you become a Krug Lover?
The more Krug Champagnes I tasted, the more I became enamoured with the quality and really understood the aging potential of the wines. I have been very fortunate to have worked in restaurants with great wine programs that have given me the opportunity to taste multiple Éditions of Grand Cuvée and Krug Rosé, as well as many Krug Vintages. However, there was one night in particular where a few of the restaurant regulars with deep cellars brought in a strong line-up of wines as corkage and two Champagnes stole the show. They were Krug Clos Du Mesnil 2003 and Krug Clos d’Ambonnay 1998. I already knew Krug was great, but to see these cuvées shine so brightly alongside some of the best Champagnes in the world was my “aha” moment. Maybe not the moment I became a Krug Lover, but definitely the moment that confirmed it.
How would you describe your culinary philosophy?
Local and seasonal ingredients, cooked nicely, flavoured with ferments of preserves made from last season.
What is your current culinary obsession?
Two things. First, cooking meats, vegetables or seafood over fire is just unparalleled in terms of flavour. Second, I am increasingly infatuated with Southeast Asian food, mostly Vietnamese and Thai. The fresh herbs, acid, umami, heat, high level of seasoning – it is most exciting to my palate.
How would you define your cooking style?
Contemporary West Coast Cuisine. Local ingredients, backed by a deep pantry, cooked with reverence.
What is the most inspiring experience you had on your journey to becoming a chef?
Working at Noma and realizing all the ingredients that were foraged in Denmark that defined their cuisine also grow here in Canada. It was amazing to see so many parallels and made me excited to deep dive into our terroir when I returned.
What is the greatest lesson you have learnt in or outside the kitchen?
Set yourself up for success. Try to see the finish line and think about what steps you are going to take to get there. Consideration in everything you do, always looking at the big picture.
How has the way you cook evolved as your career has progressed?
Way less on the plate. Today, the ingredients I am most excited about are the simplest, and also the ones that take the greatest degree of finesse to really dial in.
Where are you when you feel the happiest?
I would say on the pass on a Busy night at Published, when service is going well, everyone is having a good time, and the food is coming out perfectly. That, or in the bush picking mushrooms, well out of cell phone range.