The AMS Student Nest at UBC Opens in January where Food is the Focus

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Executive Chef Ryan Bissell toured me through the vast and extremely impressive building recently which is presently a construction site in full operation. It’s in the final phase now as they are gearing up for the opening in January 2015.

The Alma Mater Society of UBC Vancouver (AMS) will be opening its new home on the UBC campus. The building, the AMS Student Nest, is an impressive 250,000 square feet spread over five storeys and located in the heart of the Vancouver campus. The AMS Student Nest will replace the current home of the AMS, the Student Union Building.

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Within the building, the AMS will be opening eight new restaurants: FlipSide, Grand Noodle Emporium, Palate, Peko Peko, Perch, PieRSquared, The Pit, and Uppercase. Some will be enhanced versions of current outlets while others are fresh new options developed for The Nest.

The menus for each restaurant have been developed by Executive Chef, Ryan Bissell, who also leads the AMS’s Catering Team. “Our starting point is locally sourced, high-quality ingredients,” Bissell said. “We will be offering students healthy options at reasonable price points that are also sustainable and delicious. We’re also excited to start providing a higher-end option at our new sit-down restaurant Perch.”

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One thing that I thought was interesting as I toured this massive building was that there will be a rooftop garden where UBC Farm will be involved growing vegetables for some of the restaurants dishes on site.

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The AMS Student Nest building is targeting LEED Platinum certification. Some sustainable features and steps include: Solar-powered cooling; Reflective roof surfaces to reduce heat island effect; End of trip bike facility and lockers; Solar water heaters; In-Vessel composting facility; Water efficient landscaping using grey water; Dashboard display to enhance environmental awareness; Certified organic, shade grown and Fair Trade coffee; All menus 100% Ocean Wise™ certified.

The team in charge of building The Nest includes members of the AMS, UBC Properties Trust, and Dialog + BH Architects. Specific internal projects are also being handled by Letterbox Design and Glasfurd & Walker.

This is an exciting project to see being developed on the University of British Columbia campus, especially having Executive Chef Ryan Bissell leading the food operations. Bissell trained at Debrulle Culinary School of Vancouver and apprenticed at the iconic Joe Fortes restaurant and the Westin Whistler Resort. He proved his commitment to ocean stewardship at C Restaurant, The Boathouse, Westin Whistler, and Araxi. Chef has been a member of the Sea to Sky Culinary Community since 1999 and is the Chairman of the Vancouver Spot Prawn Festival for the Chefs Table Society, one of Vancouver’s largest culinary festivals.

For students and non-students alike, get ready to whet your appetite in early 2015.

By: Richard Wolak