Chef David Wong

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.

Chef David Wong

Last week, I spent the afternoon with Chef David Wong at ORU Restaurant in Vancouver. I had the pleasure to meet David last year when I dined at his restaurant and it was a pleasure to chat with him about his passion for great food and worldclass chefs!

He worked at the Pan Pacific Hotel in 1998 as a cook, then apprenticing at the Creek restaurant on Granville Island in 1998 for 3 years, then in 2001 to Showcase with Morgan Wilson at the Delta Pinnacle Hotel (Now Marriott). In 2003 he moved on to the Fairmont Vancouver Airport at GlobeYVR as the Sous Chef and then became the Executive Sous Chef. In 2006, he became the Executive Chef at Hotel Macdonald in Edmonton (was Bocuse d’Or to rep Canada for 1 year). Then came to Vancouver in 2008 and taught at the Art Institute for 2 years. He was part of the opening team at the Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotel as the Executive Chef in 2010.

How did you get involved in becoming Executive Chef at ORU?

I worked at Fairmont in the past in other cities. There was an opening here and I wanted to get back to Vancouver.

High end west coast food that I liked and I knew that ORU would be this type of cuisine.

How did you get involved in the Bocuse d’Or?

In 2005 I competed against Scott Jaegger (he won). In 2006 I won Canada and to represent Canada in 2009. In competition you get to see where you stack up around the world – 3 star Michelin chefs. Was an experience of the lifetime for me. Went to France in 2009 to compete and came in 9th place in the world.

Did you ever think you would compete in food?

In Grade 8, I won a food competition and made Mac & Cheese, this was my beginning in competition.

Would you ever compete again?

Now my focus is to help others compete, educate and train them.

Describe your role at the Fairmont Pacific Rim?

I oversee ORU, Giovanne, Raw Bar, catering upstairs, oversee Sous Chefs in all the restaurants, catering and room service.

Where did you go to culinary school?

Malaspina College in Nanaimo

The First Dish:

Sake Kasu Sablefish

Sake Kasu Sablefish

With sweet misu sauce

Sweet misu, honey, soy, mirrin, water, butter

Sablefish

Tomatoes

Pickled ginger

What was your inspiration behind this dish?

Traditional Izakaya dish wanted something acidic to add which is why I added the tomatoes to this Japanese dish.

What cuisines does ORU Restaurant specialize?

Japanese, Indian, Vietnamese, Korean and Indonesian

The Second Dish:

Butter Chicken

Butter Chicken

Butter chicken, mint chutney, Himalayan rice, naan bread, almond stock (in the butter chicken sauce)

What was your inspiration behind this dish?

I wanted a simple dish that enhanced the flavours.

The Third Dish:

Lamb Vindaloo

Lamb Vindaloo

Braised lamb shank, sultana raisins, butternut squash, beets, mint chutney, butternut squash rice

What was your inspiration behind this dish?

Wanted a traditional vindaloo, by adding a contemporary look

What are your favourite restaurants in Vancouver (outside of where you work)

Lumierre (fine dining), Suika, Nook, La Quercia, Dan

What do you expect when you dine out in a restaurant?

Value, comfortable,  I always order dishes with an interesting flavour profile, many of them are weird dishes as opposed to the popular items.

Who cooks at home?

My wife

How would you define Focus in your role as Executive Chef?

Most people would never understand the pressure and intensity, you have to be disciplined enough as you have to play with so many ingredients and techniques.

What do you do in your off time?

Family stuff, spend time with my twins and 5 year old, snowboard, squash

What’s the next 5 years hold for you?

Moulding young cooks, oversee cooks in all of my kitchens, jokingly put ‘David Wong Culinary School

Stay tuned for the next chef in the Dishing with the Chef series.

By: Richard Wolak