Chef Kayla Dhaliwall

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 Kayla Dhaliwall

At age 17, Kayla was a breakfast cook at an old age home. In 2005 she worked at a lodge on Saturna Island working in a dining room and then in the kitchen for 6 months, she then worked at the Saturna Island Vineyard Bistro as Sous Chef. At the same time she was managing a deli in Whistler in the summer months.

Kayla then moved to Vancouver and worked at Deacons Corner in the morning while going to culinary school at VCC in the afternoon;  nights and weekends she worked in the kitchen at Wild Rice. Then she moved on to the Fairmont Waterfront Hotel where she became a cook in Herons and banquets and did that for a year. She was then consulting for 1-1/2 years on her own, created the menu at Sutra, then joined House Guest Supper Club as their Executive Chef.

I understand you have been in culinary competitions, which have you done?

  1. Best of the West in 2010 on the Fairmont Team
  2. Top JR Chef of BC in Kelowna in May 2010 with Chef Bruno Marti & Scott Yaeger judging

What dish did you create in the black box competition in Kelowna?

1)    Smoked char & scallop capaletti

2)    Roasted tenderloin of beef with oxtail sausage and confit mirepoix

3)    Basil Chocolate Pate Bomb

What are your favourite ingredients to cook with?

  • Bacon
  • Cheese
  • Citrus
  • Herbs
  • Tabasco

The First Dish:

Chicken & Waffles

Chicken & Waffles

Chicken drumstick & ½ breast

Candied pecans to garnish

Yeast waffle with bacon and pecans

Cream cheese Camps maple syrup

What was your inspiration behind this dish?

I used to go to John’s Place in Victoria, I liked the waffles with cream cheese syrup so here it is.

What is it about competitions that drives you?

Black box – the knowledge that you learned over the years. Execution of the ingredients presented.

What is your most embarrassing moment?

In the top jr chef of BC competition, I was 2 minutes late on my main, and I was running to the other kitchen with my dessert in my hand and I knocked over a culinary student (of a competitors plate) to the ground and I felt so bad.

The Second Dish:

B.L.T.

B.L.T.

Heirloom tomatoes

Pork belly

Baby kale

Watercress

Celery

Basil emulsion

Smoked tomato emulsion

Aged balsamic

Buffalo mozzarella

What was your inspiration behind this dish?

B.L.T. is the simplist thing you would have in a dinner this is my version.

What is your favourite cuisine to eat personally?

1)    Middle Eastern

2)    Southern American comfort food

Describe your cooking direction at House Guest

Nouvo comfort foods trying to revive it to what it was meant to be and making it all from scratch.

Explain your Red Eye Ketchup

My ketchup has shallots, molasses, brown sugar, Heinz ketchup, espresso and finish with white balsamic.

The Third Dish:

Sea Platter

Sea Platter

1)    Fish & Chips –halibut and hickory sticks batter has deep fried pickles

2)    Ahi Tuna Tartar – yuzu vinaigrette, avocado tartar, garlic chips, blue corn chips

3)    Prawn Cocktail and micro radishes

4)    Oysters Rockefeller – cream spinach sauce and pork belly and lardons

5)    Crab Tator Tots

What was your inspiration behind this dish?

Patio, summer and a seafood platter of the 70’s and 80’s with company coming.

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

  1. Rodney’s
  2. Sawasdee Thai
  3. The Flying Pig
  4. Bao Bei
  5. Save on Meats

The Fourth Dish:

Lamb

Lamb

Braised lamb cheeks

Israelli couscous with herbs

Cauliflower puree and fruit

Roasted cauliflower

Roti

What was your inspiration behind this dish?

I wanted lamb cheeks and it evolved, I love couscous, herbs and fruit and it’s Middle Eastern.

What do you like to do in your off-time?

  • Eating at other restaurants
  • Cooking
  • Shopping for knives and kitchen gadgets

Why do you use white balsamic?

It has a good depth, and balances a sauce very well, brightens it up.

The Fifth Dish:

Arctic Char

Arctic Char

Smoked char gnocchi

Succotash

Watercress emulsion

Watercress

Radish to garnish

What was your inspiration behind this dish?

Starting with the fish and building it from there, nice for fall and light.

What do you want to achieve with your culinary team in the restaurant?

I want the customer to be happy, and challenge people so that it is not intimidating for them.

The Sixth Dish:

Duck Confit Carbonara

Duck Confit Carbonara

Pappardelle noodles

Duck confit

Wild mushrooms

Sweet peas

Carbonara sauce

What was your inspiration behind this dish?

Pasta quintessential comfort food and duck confit is my favourite.

Who are your mentors?

  • Chef Amber Anderson
  • Chef Josh Wolfe
  • My grandma

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

By: Richard Wolak