Chef Pedro Gonzalez

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 Pedro Gonzalez

Pedro Gonzalez grew up in Antioch, California (Bay Area) he worked at the highly acclaimed restaurant, Aqua at the Bellagio Las Vegas, for a number of years. He then went on to open Tableau at the Wynn Resorts, the first 5 star/ 5 diamond awarded casino hotel in the world. Having climbed through the ranks throughout the years, he then went on to open Botero at Encore hotel (the sister hotel of Wynn), where he was quickly promoted as an assistant executive chef.

What drew you to Vancouver?

I am originally from the East Bay area. I needed to leave Las Vegas after 10 years. I saw an ad for a position in Vancouver, and happened to be here for a visit for my birthday, ended up in a meeting with the Glowbal Group. Soon after Emad (President of the Glowbal Group) flew to Las Vegas to meet me, we had a great connection and he made me an offer.

What is Las Vegas like in terms of finding ingredients?

Las Vegas is a mecca for products, you can get anything you want for a price.

What are your favourite cuisines to eat personally?

  • Mexican food
  • Japanese food

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

  • Kitsilano Daily Kitchen
  • Congee Noodle House
  • Peaceful Restaurant
  • Maenam

Do you Cook at home? And what do you cook?

Yes and I cook Mexican.

In the scope of Mexican cuisine, what is your Favourite dish?

Pozole

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

  • Listen to Hip Hop music
  • Play Soccer

What Challenges you as a Chef?

Making sure that I am staying ahead of the trends and products. Have something lined up to go and do it better.

What Inspires you to create the unique dishes that you are creating?

  • The products are a devotion to food.
  • Exploring them at their finest – braise, stew, leave it the way it is
  • Layer flavours and highlight the dish

What food products have you fallen in love with since arriving in Vancouver?

  • Spot Prawns
  • Sablefish
  • Oysters
  • Honey Mussels (from Quadra Island)

The First Dish:

 

Seared Alaskan Weathervane Scallop

Alaskan Weathervane Scallop Pinwheel

Green grape gazpacho

Frisee

Red grapes

What was your inspiration behind this dish?

I like making gazpachos and it is light, and grapes are a bit of savoury, a good summer dish.

Who are your Mentors?

Mark LoRusso – Exec Chef at Bottero

Are you a Beer person or a Wine person?

I am an adolescent wine drinker wanting to learn more about wine.

The Second Dish:

Surf and Turf Skewer

Surf and Turf Skewer

Spanish chorizo

Tiger prawns

Avocado & tomatillo relish

Scallions

Mixed greens

Cilantro

What was your inspiration behind this dish?

Mexican cuisine, tomatillo sauce, used to eat lots of tomatillos growing up.

 The Third Dish:

Pan Seared Halibut with ala grecqe (Greek Style)

Pan Seared Halibut with ala grecqe (Greek Style)

Halibut

Sweet baby peppers

Fennel

Fingerling potatoes

Oregano

Garlic

Olives

Arugula

Shallots

Marinated artichokes

Champagne vinegar

What was your inspiration behind this dish?

Ala Grecqe style and vegetables with olive oil, summer dish and it is colorful.

What is your Favourite Ingredient?

Lime

How did you find the interest in Vegan cooking?

My old boss Steve Wynn in Las Vegas went vegan, Tal Ronnen (used to be Oprah Winfrey’s chef). He came and taught us how to cook Vegan and it was mind blowing. I now cook Vegan dishes by request for the customers at Coast and we have quite a following now.

What is the most recent Vegan dining experience ordered?

I did a 6 course vegan tasting menu for a customer recently.

What do you want to do over the next few years?

More Latin food, flavours to incorporate in the season.

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

By: Richard Wolak