Interview with Chef Clement Chan

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 Clement Chan

Chef Clement Chan

Clement studied at Vancouver Community College in the Culinary Arts Program graduating in 2001. He also received extensive training in the baking and pastry arts at the Dubrulle Culinary School (now the Arts Institute of Vancouver), graduating with a diploma in 2002. In 2003 he worked three jobs at the same time, Blue Water Café, Rain City Grill and Delilahs for one year. He then moved on to the Fairmont Vancouver Airport where he held the positions of Garde Manger to Saucier, he was there for three years and finished his apprenticeship there as well. In 2006, he worked as Chef de Partie at Chambar for 8 months. In 2007, he was the opening chef for Lucky Diner and later that year, he was the Sous Chef at the Kettle of Fish. In 2008, he started off as a Sous Chef at the Hyatt Regency where he was promoted to Chef de Cuisine and he worked there until 2010. They then sent him to Curacao to open three restaurants, Shor, Swim Pool and Bar Grill, and Medi Restaurant which are all properties of Hyatt Regency Curacao Golf Resort. He returned to Vancouver in 2011, working as a chef at Hapa Umi, then on to the Glowbal Grill and Sanafir in 2011-12. In 2012 he started him his own food truck with partner Steve Kuan, Le Tigre Truck. At the same time he worked at the Fairmont Pacific Rim Raw Bar as a sushi chef evenings, part time. In 2015 he became the Executive Chef/Co-owner of Torafuku.

You can follow Chef Clement Chan on twitter @clementkitchan

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What got you into Competing?

When I was at the Fairmont Vancouver Airport they were participating in a lot of competitions. I watched my friend Chef Jason Harris and I got excited.

Name your highlighted Competition Wins

In 2010 – BC Chef of the Year

In 2010 – Western Canada Chef of the Yea

In 2011 –Chef of the Year by the Canadian Culinary Federation

In 2014 –as part of Team Canada we placed 5th overall in the world winning 1 gold and 1 silver

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What challenges you as a Chef?

Being creative and trying to stay on top. You have to make mistakes to get better.

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What do you want your chefs on your team to learn from you?

Things don’t just happen, you have to earn them, it’s all about team work.

You can always get better, there is always something to learn.

clement interview 1

1st dish:

Kickass Rice 2.0

Kickass Rice 2.0

Kickass Rice 2.0

Kakuni pork belly

Taro

Pickled daikon

Serrano

Spicy sauce

Crispy shallots

Furikake

Sushi rice

Cilantro

Green onion

Basil

Dashi

Butter

Sake

Rice wine vinegar

Sugar

Mirin

 

What was your inspiration behind this dish?

I wanted to do a version of our kickass rice on our food truck, making this in a restaurant environment and using my background as a sushi chef.

clement interview 3

What is your favourite Food to eat?

A good bowl of noodles

clement interview 4

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

  • Pidgin
  • Hawksworth
  • The Mackenzie Room

What are your favourite Ingredients to cook with?

Local vegetables including carrots and root vegetables

Seafood

clement interview 6

2nd dish:

Rye So Messy Chicken Wings

Rye So Messy Chicken Wings

Rye So Messy Chicken Wings

Chicken (coated in yam starch)

Ramen dehydrated

Tempura batter

Crispy shallots

Furikake

Toasted black sesame seeds

Green onions

Whiskey spicy sauce

Mango puree

What was your inspiration behind this dish?

I wanted a good chicken wings dish with an Asian influence and to make it modern.

What is Furikake?

A type of Japanese crumble made of dehydrated eggs, seaweed, bonito and sesame.

What do you like to do in your Off Time?

  • Mixed martial arts
  • Jujitsu
  • Thai kick boxing
  • Snowboarding
  • Basketball

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3rd dish:

Calamari done the Right Way

Calamari done the Right Way

Calamari done the Right Way

Calamari

Peashoots

Arugula salad

Red onions

Lychee

Cherry tomatoes

Crispy shallots

Homemade chili sauce

Garlic puree

Sugar

What was your inspiration behind this dish?

I really enjoyed growing up eating the Chinese version of it (deep fried squid). I modernized it where locals would appreciate it with texture and some heat.

What is your Apron of choice?

Custom made by Search and Rescue Denim

Are you still Competing?

Yes and no, I just trained Sandy Chen, she was at the Apprentice level, however she won 1st place in the Professional level for BC recently as the 2015 Top Iron Chef.

What is the Challenge operating a restaurant and a Food truck at the same time?

There is never enough time, different menus. Some things to do in a restaurant I can’t do on the truck.

What is a bad day for you?

Working with so many different chefs, you can’t let things frustrate you, there are always ways to fix something and to make it better (I take all my stress to the gym).

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

By: Richard Wolak