Vancouver is home to some of the best chefs in the world, many have worked for the top chefs and restaurants around the world as well as around the city. Dishing with the Chefs is a series of Interviews with some of the top chefs in and around Vancouver.
A couple weeks ago I spent the afternoon with Chef Ryan Gauthier at Italian Kitchen downtown Vancouver. I have known Ryan for over a year and a half and it was a pleasure to chat with him about his passion and love for food.
Ryan grew up in Pitt Meadows, at 16 he got a job at Swan-E-Set Country Club as dishwasher, after high school graduation he decided that he loved cooking, he then apprenticed at Joe Fortes for 4 years. After travelling to Australia for 3-4 months he checked out the scene and ate his way through their restaurants. He then continued his career working at the Beachhouse in West Vancouver from 2002 as the Sous Chef and then promoted in 2006 to the Executive Chef. In 2007 he joined the Glowbal Group at Italian Kitchen as their Executive Chef and has been there since the restaurant opened.
How do you cook Italian if your background isn’t in Italian restaurants?
Learning from other people, read, practice, understand. I was fortunate to work with Chef Robert Byford who taught me a lot, he loves Italian cooking.
What has made you stay at Italian Kitchen?
I like the concept of Italian Kitchen, it was the 3rd restaurant in Glowbal Group, and I am dedicated to its success. Atmosphere, food, music and people are the most important aspects to this restaurant.
Do you have the freedom to create your own dishes?
Yes, occasionally I have asked to Emad to taste my creations but I have the trust of Emad to do what I want.
The First Dish:
Warm gorgonzola polenta, salad with wild arugula with shaved parmesan, shallots, salt, pepper and olive oil
What was your inspiration behind this dish
It’s been on the menu since day 1, it is a play on carpaccio, marrying with something else that is hidden, I went with polenta as it was the perfect accompanyment to hide under the carpaccio; and the gorgonzola marrys well with the beef flavours.
The Second Dish:
Forno roasted shinbone, build your own dish –beef tartare, bone marrow garlic crostini
What was your inspiration behind this dish?
I added this dish to our menu about a year and a half ago, utilizing the simple ingredients, rustic Italian roast marrow in the forno oven. This is a great dish for people to share, its playful, fun, and light.
What is your Favourite food city in the world?
What are your favourite restaurants outside of Glowbal Group?
What is your Favourite cuisine?
I love everything from Italian, Malaysian, Indian, Thai I love the depth of flavours.
Did you help in the opening of Trattoria?
Yes I was a part of the planning and opening of our Trattoria concept, some think that it is the same as Italian Kitchen, however in some ways we are similar and in many ways we are different, some of the dishes are versions of mine from Italian Kitchen, the restaurant is much more casual than Italian Kitchen.
How did Italian Kitchen To Go come about?
Six months after Italian Kitchen, we opened our To Go bar in the lobby of the office building that we are in and it is simple, sandwiches, salads and soup at great prices.
What is the idea behind the Mozzarella Bar?
In Italy, there are mozza bars all over the country, so we thought it would be a great addition to our restaurant and menu. We did it first at Trattoria and then at Italian Kitchen.
What is next for Italian Kitchen?
Soon we will be starting to create our own Mozzarrela in house for our Mozzarrela bars.
Where is your role heading in the future?
My role is changing to be more of a regional chef role as we get ready to open more restaurants, I will be training chefs, working with people and standards etc
What do you do in your off time?
Spend time with my wife and kids. Love sports including hockey, baseball, soccer, mountain bike, snowboard and going to concerts.
Are you ever not working?
I try to have Sunday and Monday off, since I work from 9am – midnight 5 days a week.
The Third Dish:
Roasted chicken, sundried tomatoes, peas, garlic, onions, roasted chicken stock, finished with Italian parsley, basil, extra virgin olive oil, parmesan
What was your inspiration behind this dish?
I Added this dish to the menu 1 year ago –the flavours of light pasta with lots of flavour. Organic chicken fryer prepared especially for this dish.
What makes a dish?
Contrast, colourful, flavourful, appearance and looking at the dish just like a picture. You have to know what flavours marry well together.
Do you cook at home?
Yes, recently cooked a Thai dinner at home that was a Red Thai Curry, Coconut rice, cashew chicken dish.
What are your must have ingredients in your kitchen?
1) Good extra virgin olive oil
3) Sherry Vinegar
4) Good variety of spices
5) Organic butter
Stay tuned for the next chef in the Dishing with the Chef series.
By: Richard Wolak