Khalil Akhtar is a CBC journalist, food writer and culinary instructor. In his weekly food issues column that airs on CBC morning radio programs across Canada, Khalil examines how the food we eat shapes the lives we lead. He also looks at culinary trends from haute cuisine to homecooking and slow food to fast food, as our foodways evolve to meet modern demands.
Khalil's culinary education began before he can remember. He grew up learning the varied traditional techniques of Indian cuisine beside his mother, grandmothers and an extended community of Pakistani, Indian and Bangladeshi expats. With one foot firmly rooted in the cuisines of South Asia, Khalil spent time working in several professional kitchens during his student years in New Brunswick. He brings decades of experience in Indian cuisine to his cooking classes and he also brings plenty of context to one of the world's oldest and most complex culinary traditions.
Khalil can be heard daily as co-host on CBC Radio's On The Island. He lives, eats and dreams in Victoria, British Columbia.
Chef/Owner Lucais Syme opened La Quercia with partner Adam Pegg in 2008. La Quercia has won Vancouver Magazine awards such as Best Casual Italian (three times), and also Restaurant of the Year.
Using local ingredients as well as specifically sourced Italian products the menu at La Quercia reflects the cuisine and philosophy of Northern Italy.
After competing (and placing second) on Top Chef Canada last year, Chef Trevor Bird was inspired to open the farm-to-table Fable restaurant in Kitsilano. "I've always been very passionate about how things are grown," he says, "and knowing where food comes from." Chef Bird earned a degree in culinary management from Ottawa's Algonquin College, was the chef de partie at MARKET in the Shangri-La Hotel in and has also worked as a chef at Truffert and as a sous chef at Restaurant Garcon (both in Montreal) along with Sooke Harbor House and Lumiere (Vancouver).
Kunal Ghose, chef/co-owner of Red Fish Blue Fish, (in Victoria's beautiful Inner Harbour), and creator of the popular "tacones", sleeps well at night knowing that success came via sustainable practices. After 20 plus years of running restaurants for others (and not so sustainably), when the opportunity came up to do it right in Victoria, he jumped on it. The Ocean Wise program aided him in creating a 100% sustainable menu. Well studied and passionate about the issues that face our oceans, Kunal is acutely aware that hand selecting the finest and most ethical seafood for his kitchen serves a great purpose for the longevity of his business and for our oceans. Redfish Bluefish composts and recycles nearly all of the waste created. Kunal has had some TV appearances that include "Eat St." and being a chef'testant on "Top Chef Canada", as well as other recent media in "Reader's Digest", "Western Living" and "Yam "magazines . His recipes and tips have been also been published in "The Oceanwise Cookbook", "A Good Catch" and soon to grace the, "Eat St. Cookbook". Twitter follow him at @ChefishBluefish.
Chef Greg Reid joined our team last summer, and as January 1 he took over leadership of our kitchen and culiary program as our new Chef de Cuisine.
Greg was born in Newfoundland, and spent most of his young years in the Atlantic Region. In 2004 Greg pursued his passion for cooking by enrolling at The Culinary Institute of Canada in Charlottetown, beginning the Culinary Arts program.
After graduating, Greg began his quest west. He spent time at The Willow on Wascana in Regina, Saskatchewan, rated by En Route Magazine as one of the best New Restaurants in Canada. Shorly after taking the position at The Willow, Greg was featured on the Global television program Canada's Next Great Chef.
After his tenure in Regina, Greg continued west to Vancouver, taking a position with one of Canada's most celebrated Chefs, Bruno Marti at La Belle Auberge. During his time there he built upon the foundation of classic French Cuisine, Learning directly from the Master himself and from Chef de Cuisine Tobias MacDonald.
In winter 2008 Greg joined the team at West Restaurant and Bar, under chef Warren Geraghty, and soon became Warren's Sous Chef. During his time at West, Greg learned the processes into running a successful business, from cost and inventory control, to staffing and menu design. Also during this time, he helped on the project West; The Cookbook. With Chef Geraghty leaving West and moving home to his native England, Greg felt it was a good time for him to move on as well - and he did, to Daniel Boulud's db Bistro Moderne. Greg spent the summer of 2011 as Sous Chef at Old Vines Restaurant at Quails' Gate, inspired by the Okanagan's bounty. He returned to Vancouver that fall to take a position with The Ensemble Restaurant Group, Headed by Canada's Top Chef Dale Mackay.
He has proven an invaluable member of Edible Canada's management team, since joining the company, with his creative and experienced culinary skills, quick wit and sharp sense of humour. In his spare time Greg enjoys spending time with his wife Leah and their daughter Eve.
Chef James Avila loves food. The endless combinations of local, Canadian and international ingredients keeps chef busy bringing old favorites and new classics to the table at Fiamo and he might even deliver your food to your table. Chef is not satisfied unless the diner is satisfied.
Joël Watanabe was born in 1976 in Ottawa, Canada to a French mother and a Japanese father, a family of food lovers. His great grandfather was a chef in Corsica, his father is a tofu maker, and Joel's mother always cooked all their family meals from scratch and instilled a love for food in Joel from an early age. He began apprenticing in restaurant kitchens at age 17 and moved to Montreal where he often held two jobs at the same time. At 21, Joël was mentored by a chef from the Japanese embassy who was hired to train him in sushi at Icho restaurant in Ottawa. This disciplined educatio n imparted valuable skills as well as a keen respect for Japanese cuisine. He quickly moved up through the ranks and in 2000, he was hired for his first chef position to open Kinki, a high‐end modern sushi restaurant back in his hometown of Ottawa.
Food Network's popular 'Opening Soon' show chose the restaurant for one of their episodes. Kinki opened to rave reviews and was considered a huge success. After a year Joël felt that it was time to improve upon his European technique and moved back to Montreal where he honed his French and Italian skills. In 2004 he moved to Whistler, Canada and worked at Araxi for 3 years as the raw bar chef which has won the best fine dining award in Whistler for numerous years in a row in the Vancouver Magazine Restaurant Awards. During this time, he was chosen to be part of a team to go to Rome to cook for the Governor General at the Canadian Consulate. Following his travels around south east Asia and a brief stint cooking in Melbourne, Joël moved to Vancouver where he worked with Gord Martin at Bin 942 which won best small plates the year he was there. Afterwards, he was opening chef at La Brasserie.
In 2009, Tannis Ling approached Joel with her concept of modern Chinese food, updating classic dishes and placing them in an intimate atmosphere. In January of 2010, Bao Bei opened its doors and became an instant success, winning a series of awards, including Enroute Magazine's second best restaurant in Canada award. Critics were enamored with the menu and lauded the blending of French and Japanese techniques with traditional Chinese flavors. Joël continues to titillate the palates of Bao Bei costumers with his unique approach to Chinese cuisine.
Nicole Gomes is the chef and proprietor of Nicole Gourmet, a boutique catering company in Calgary, AB. Realizing her passion for cooking at an early age, she pursued a classical education at Vancouver's Dubrulle French Culinary School. Shortly after graduation an apprenticeship opportunity guided her to work in Paris, France, which sparked many travels working throughout Europe, Asia and Australia to expand her culinary knowledge.
Upon return to her hometown of Vancouver she was the first female hired by Chef David Hawksworth at West Restaurant. In 2002, a move to Calgary sparked work with Chef Michael Noble at Catch Restaurant then onwards to the opening Chef of Mercato. Madly in love with cooking, Nicole is also a great lover of traveling, continuously inspired by food culture from around the world. Her philosophy is to create quality, well-prepared food from scratch that will leave a lingering impression.