“Vancouver Island Harvest” Luncheon
The third meal of the Canadian Chefs’ Congress is a grazing lunch showcasing the bounty of North America’s largest island in the Pacific. Stations will be headed by chefs from around the Vancouver Island region.
Contributing chefs confirmed for this luncheon are:
- Lisa Ahier – Sobo
- Berenice Balbuena & Rafael Flores – Rock Salt Restaurant
- Mara Jernigan – Fairburn Farm Guest House
- Jeff Keenliside – Lucy’s on the Square
- Christophe Letard – Government House
- David Mincey – Camilles Restaurant
- Michael Minshul – Hotel Grand Pacific
- Ken Nakano – Fairmont Empress Hotel and ICC President
- Garrett Schack – Vista 18 at the Chateau Victoria Hotel
- Ronald St. Pierre – Locals Restaurant
- George Szasz – Stage Wine Bar
- Peter Zambri – Zambris
Berenice Balbuena and Rafael Flores migrated from Mexico City to Fulford Harbour on Salt Spring Island in 2008 and quickly adapted to both the slow pace and the cold weather. They are currently working as chefs and managers at Rock Salt Restaurant and Café.
Berenice was inspired to become a chef by her father who operates a iconic ceviche stand in the biggest food market in Latin America.
Berenice and Rafael have a bachelor degree in culinary arts from one of the most prestigious cooking school in Latin America – Universidad del Claustro de Sor Juana. Both have studied and cooked in some very famous restaurants in Europe and Mexico.
Berenice and Rafael trained with one of best known chefs in Europe, Martín Berasategui’s, at his 3 star Michelin rated restaurant. She later moved on to cook at El Celler de Can Roca a Michelin rated restaurant that was voted to be the fourth best restaurant in the world by The S.Pellegrino’s world’s 50 best restaurants 2010. He later moved on to cook at El Bulli under the tutelage of Chef Ferran Adria who is often thought to be the best chef in the world.
Berenice and Rafael continued to hone their all star knife skills when they accepted a position at Mexico City’s most famous restaurant, Pujol, working under Mexican celebrity chef Enrique Olvera.
Both of them are in the process of becoming a Canadian citizens and looks forward to adding their unique flare to the island food scene.
David Mincey is passionate about local food. Now in its 21st year of business, Camille’s is recognized as one of Vancouver Island’s finest dining destinations and is noted for its extensive wine cellar and international cuisine utilizing exclusively regional ingredients. The restaurant is also renown for its wine tasting dinners and formal wine education classes.
By integrating social and environmentally responsible practices into his business strategy and operations, David has been able to sustain a successful business by attracting customers with unique, delicious and sustainably produced local ingredients, while also supporting local growers and producers. In addition, he is a frequent guest speaker and panelist on the subject of wines, wine tasting, local agricultural concerns, culinary tourism, cultivation and propogation of exotic perennials and the socio/political history of chocolate.
David is also a past-president and co-founder of the Island Chef’s Collaborative (ICC), a non-profit group comprised of progressive chefs dedicated to promoting locally grown, high quality ingredients. Under David’s leadership this simple aim has grown into numerous programs and activities that improve local food security, and support environmentally sustainable farming.
The ICC’s Farmer Grant Program provides start-up funds to help new farmers build their businesses. The Bastion Square Farmers Market brings locally grown produce to downtown Victoria residents and workers. Through numerous meetings and seminars the ICC works to improve the local food system by educating non-member chefs, restaurant patrons and the general public on local, sustainable food production issues. David is committed to improving all aspects of food security. He also engages in policy-level work, representing the ICC on the steering committee of the Capital Region Food and Agriculture Initiatives Roundtable (CR-FAIR).
In 2010 David was honored to receive a lifetime acheivement award from the readers of EAT Magazine for his pioneering work in linking chefs and farmers and his advocacy on behalf of the Island’s farm community. Equally gratifying was the Gold medal awarded to Camille’s for the best “Farm to Table” cooking on Vancouver Island.
Garrett started his culinary career in Fredericton, New Brunswick at the age of 19.
Upon moving to Victoria, British Columbia, Garrett completed his professional culinary arts training at Camosun College. After the 3-year apprenticeship program Garrett left Victoria to spread his wings in South East Asia and Australia working in various local restaurants. It was during this time that Garrett discovered his true passion for cooking and creating using fresh, local ingredients.
Garrett returned to Victoria in 2001 where he expanded his culinary expertise in several of the area’s top restaurants. Garrett then took a brief hiatus from the hectic culinary life only to learn that the excitement of the gastronomic world lived deep inside his soul and there was no way of escaping it. It was at this time that Garrett took over the helm at the top of Victoria.
Garrett joined Vista 18 in September 2007 and was elated to find a venue that continually inspires him in his quest of working with top quality ingredients, fostering relationships with local farmers and producers, and celebrating the sustainable food movement. At Vista 18, it truly is more than just the view for Chef Schack!