Posts Tagged ‘YEW Restaurant’

Interview with David Lew

David Lew has been voted and recognized as Vancouver’s BEST WAITER for 2012 by you our readers. Here is my Interview with David Lew who is a server at Yew Restaurant in the Four Seasons Hotel Vancouver.

What do you love about being a waiter?

The experiences are different day in and day out.  Working in a restaurant that’s within a hotel, you meet all kinds of people from around the world.  One day you’re serving the most down to earth family and the next your serving a group of business men who speak minimal English.  I had to do a ‘Show & Tell’ by bringing out different products on a plate to show them what we have available because it was the easiest way to communicate.

Most importantly, the food and wine I get to sample keeps me enthused. I love menu tastings!!

How long have you been working at YEW Restaurant?

I was part of the opening team 5 1/2 years ago but I’ve been with the Four Seasons Hotel for 17 years.

Why do you think people voted for you in the Vancouver Foodster Awards?

It’s a great honour to be recognized.  I guess I left an impression or two on the people who i’ve served.  I’ve always wanted my guests to leave with smiles on their faces and that they’d return in the future.  Having them to vote for me was a bonus!

What’s the secret to good service?

For one, I follow the golden rule, ‘Treat others as you would like to be treated’.

Secondly, you also have to adapt yourself to the situation at hand.  Nowadays, people are always in a hurry and you have to adjust your service accordingly. Try and anticipate their needs before they even ask. On a busy Friday evening, I may have a few tables who want a dining experience and a few that want to eat and run.  It really is a juggling act.

Another, is that no matter what situation I’m dealt, I try to make a connection with the people I serve and for some, they keep returning.  I guess I must be doing something right.

Lastly, Yew management encourages us to think creatively and empower us to do what is necessary to give our guests a ‘WOW’ experience.  They trust our judgement and its this freedom that allows us to better serve our guests without having to check with a manager first.

What is your favourite food to eat personally?

Noodles!! Especially, Vietnamese Pho and Japanese Ramen.  I’d eat noodles 4-5 days a week. Too bad I missed out on your #noodlemaniayvr.  I would have been in noodle heaven!!

How can a restaurant attract the best waiters who excel in service?

I’m a firm believer of promoting within and training the staff you already have. I’d take a busser or food runner and groom them to be a server over hiring an experienced one any day.  I started at the hotel as a busser and worked my way up the ladder. You develop more of an appreciation for the position because you worked so hard to earn it.  The benefits are also key for me staying as long as I have.  I can’t reveal them, but I can tell you that I’m pretty sure nobody in the city can top the perks the Four Seasons has to offer.  It really goes to show why the Four Seasons Hotel consistently makes the list of Top 100 Employers to work for.

What was your training like and how long have you been in this industry?

I’ve been in the industry since I was 6 years old.  My parents owned a Chinese Restaurant for years.  It has always been in the blood.  After high school,  I attended VCC and completed both the Food & Beverage Management Program, as well as, the Hospitality Management Program.  After which I was hired by the Four Seasons Hotel.  They have a remarkable training program at the hotel.  There are a series of sessions were we learn Service Culture and Standards.  In Yew, we have weekly wine tastings with discussions and also menu tastings. We never stop learning.

What interests do you have outside of the restaurant business?

Other than eating and trying new restaurants.  I’ve been running alot lately. I just completed my first half marathon last September.  My wife and I have a race coming up in February.  I plan to do 3-4 more races this year and hopefully attempt my first full marathon before the year is over.

Request to be seated in David’s section at Yew Restaurant  in the Four Seasons Hotel, Vancouver

By: Richard Wolak

The BEST Non Traditional Nachos

I had a curiosity after I ate the most amazing twist on nachos dish while having dinner at Black + Blue last month. The unique and delicious Steak House Nachos were the inspiration that got my creative juices flowing. I was curious about how some of the ethnic eateries around the city would prepare Nachos in their style of cooking. I challenged several restaurants and their chefs to create a version in their ethnic or cooking style.

Note: These Nachos dishes are not on the regular menu at many of these restaurants, some will feature their dish on their menu as a special.

Here are the tasty results of my quest, in no particular order:

1) Black + Blue

Steak House Nachos

Steak House Nachos

Style: Steakhouse

On the Plate: house spiced potato chips, bacon, cheddar cheese, steak chili

Garnish: n/a

My Take: Top marks go to chef Jason Labahn for creating this awesome play on nachos. Think meat and potatoes, this was a clever twist to marrying amazing flavours of the steak and the chili together with house-made potato chips.

Cost: $14

On the regular menu: Yes

Chef: Jason Labahn

Location: Black + Blue, 1032 Alberni Street, Vancouver

Twitter: @glowbal_group #gcblackandblue



2) House Guest

New Delhi Double Down Butter Chicken Bacon Cheeseburger Nachos

New Delhi Double Down Butter Chicken Bacon Cheeseburger Nachos

Style: Eclectic, Comfort Food

On the Plate: – butter chicken, braised beef Shortrib, bacon lardons, 6 cheese blend, tomato & cilantro, green onion & jalapeño, butter chicken cheese sauce, raita crema, roti & blue corn chips

Garnish: Kachumber Salsa, Masala Guacamole

My Take: Top marks go to chef Kayla Dahliwall and owners Justin & Matti for taking my challenge so seriously, it was the most creative on all levels from the presentation of their custom created menu board to the made from scratch nachos and all the other ingredients in the dish. Chef Kayla added an Indian twist that was outstanding in taste and creativity.

Cost: $18

On the regular menu: No

Chef:  Kayla Dhaliwall

Location: 332 Water Street, Vancouver

Twitter: @housexguest



3) Cento Notti 

Italian Nachos

Italian Nachos

Style: Twisted Italian

On the Plate: – house-made pasta “nachos”, Bolognese, ricotta/asiago béchamel, house-made pancetta, cannelloni bean puree, basil, parsley, olive oil, red peppers

Garnish: salsa verde, mascarpone crème fraiche, stewed tomato salsa

My Take: Top marks go to Chef Paul Marshall for thinking outside of the box and creating dried pasta cut into tortilla chip shapes and then adding all the ingredients that’s Italian.

Cost: unknown

On the regular menu: No

Chef:  Paul Marshall

Location: 350 Davie Street, Vancouver

Twitter: @centonotti



4) YEW Restaurant 

Lobster Nachos

Lobster Nachos

Style: Seafood

On the Plate: – lobster, house-made corn chips, avocado, queso fresco, creme fraiche

Garnish: n/a

My Take: Kudos to Chef Ned Bell for creating this dish for their participation at the Vintners Brunch at the Vancouver International Wine Festival, and thanks to him tweeting for my noticing this dish. As this is a bar snack it is meant for one person to eat rather than for sharing, these nachos pear well with the Painted Rock Wine Chardonnay or other Chardonnay that may be available on their wine list.

Cost: $15

On the regular menu: Yes

Chef:  Ned Bell

Location: 791 West Georgia Street, Vancouver

Twitter: @fsvancouver #YEWyvr



5) Bob Like Thai Food

Thai Nachos

Thai Nachos

Style: Northern Thai

On The Plate: Shrimp chips, green papaya, onion, lemongrass, cucumber, lime juice, tamarind sauce, palm sugar, peanut sauce, chili, cilantro

Garnish: n/a

My Take: After researching the origin of nachos, chef/owner Tai Keattivanichvily told me he wanted to create this dish as if it would be served in Thailand, therefore top marks go to his outside of the box thinking to use shrimp chips instead of tortilla chips and peanut sauce instead of cheese.

Cost: unknown

On the regular menu: No

Chef: Tai Keattivanichvily

Location: Bob Likes Thai Food , 3755 Main Street, Vancouver

Twitter: @boblikethaifood



6) Annatoli Souvlaki

Greek Nachos

Greek Nachos

Style: Greek

On The Plate: Greek meatballs (beef), onions, tomatoes, peppers, kalamata olives, greek feta cheese, saganaki cheese, blue tortilla chips

Garnish:  tzatziki sauce

My Take: Kudos to Alexi Makris one of the owners for adding a Greek twist with 2 different cheeses (all sheep cheese) along with their house-made meatballs making this a delicious play on nachos.

Cost: unknown

On the regular menu: No

Chef: Alexi Makris

Location: Annatoli Souvlaki, 5 Lonsdale Avenue, North Vancouver

Twitter: @AnatoliSouvlaki



7) Dunn’s Famous

Smoked Meat Nachos

Smoked Meat Nachos

Style: Montreal Deli

On The Plate: 4oz of smoked meat, banana peppers, green onions, black olives, cheddar cheese, tomatoes, red peppers

Garnish:  Served with sour cream and salsa

My Take: It is the smoked meat that makes this dish and it is a must for sharing.

Cost: $19.98

On the regular menu: Yes

Chef: unknown

Location: Dunn’s Famous, 827 Seymour Street, Vancouver

Twitter: @DunnsFamousBC



8 )  Suika

Japanese Nachos

Japanese Nachos

Style: Japanese Izakaya

On The Plate: Tortilla chips, spicy ground pork sauce, cheddar, mozzarella and parmesan cheese

Garnish:  Dried shrimp sour cream and Japanese Salsa with Shiso

My Take: It is well presented, the sauce is flavourful and not too spicy, the garnishes are what makes this a standout dish.

Cost: unknown

On the regular menu: No

Chef: Makato Kimoto

Location: Suika, 1626 West Broadway, Vancouver




9) Earls Restaurants

Tuna Poke Nachos

Tuna Poke Nachos

Style: Social/Comfort Food

On The Plate: crisp togarashi wontons, tuna, cucumber, avocado and tomato poke, spicy mango coulis, sliced serranos, crushed macadamia nuts

Garnish: n/a

My Take: I loved the wontons in this dish, the Ocean Wise-certified Albacore Tuna Poke Nachos is a twist on the pub classic featuring crisp togarashi wontons and spicy mango coulis, plus a dose of Hawaiian sensibility (cue crushed macadamia nuts).

Cost: $11.50

On the regular menu: Yes

Chef: Reuben Major

Location: Multiple Locations

Twitter: @earlsrestaurant



10) Mahony & Sons

Cheddar Jack Nachos

Cheddar Jack Nachos

Style: Irish Pub

On The Plate: house-made tortilla chips, cheddar and mozzarella cheese, tomatoes, jalapenos, pico de gallo salsa, sour cream and guacamole.

Garnish:  n/a

My Take: The house-made tortilla chips is what makes this nachos dish unique, it is also one that you are going to want to share.

Cost: $21.90

On the regular menu: Yes

Chef: Paul Nguyen

Location: Mahony & Sons, 1055 Canada Place, Vancouver

Twitter: @MahonyAndSons



If you would like to order one of more of these Nacho dishes that do not have them on their regular menus, contact each restaurant individually or tweet them to encourage the restaurants to add the dish to their menus.

By: Richard Wolak


A S’more is a traditional nighttime campfire treat consisting of a roasted marshmallow and a layer of chocolate sandwiched between two pieces of graham cracker. There is the traditional and there is the untraditional, this roundup is all about both and who is currently featuring S’Mores on their menu in Vancouver.

Mink Chocolates Café

Campfire S'mores

Price: $9.75


70% Cacao or 38% Cacao with Graham wafers, marshmallows, and a mini hibachi for marshmallow toasting.

On the Menu: Yes

Twitter: @minkchocolates

Location: 863 West Hastings


Yew Restaurant


Price: $8

S’more – Coffee Marshmallow, Almond Crumble & Chocolate Ice Cream in a jar

On the Menu: Yes

Twitter: @fsvancouver

Location: 791 West Georgia Street in the Four Seasons Hotel


Cartems Donuterie

Campfire S’mores Donut

Price: $3

Campfire S’mores donut

On the Menu: Yes

Twitter: @Cartemsdonuts

Location: 408 Carrall Street and 485 Commercial Drive


Society Restaurant

S’mores Creme Brûlée

Price: $8

S’mores Creme Brûlée

On the Menu: Yes

Twitter: @Glowbal_Group #gcSociety

Location: 1257 Hamilton Street


Doux Crepes 

Chocolate Marshmallow S’mores Crepe

Price: $5.35

Chocolate Marshmallow S’mores Crepe

On the Menu: Yes

Twitter: @Crepes_501

Location: 1367 Richards Street


Society Restaurant


Price: unknown


On the Menu: Not yet

Twitter: @Glowbal_Group #gcSociety

Location: 1257 Hamilton Street


All were delicious and all were different, treat yourself, or treat a friend.

By: Richard Wolak

Laughing Stock Winemakers Dinner at YEW

Cynthia Enns (l), David Enns (m) and Emily Patterson (r)

On May 26th, I attended this Laughing with YEW Wine dinner at YEW in the Four Seasons Hotel that featured Laughing Stock Wines along with their Winemaker David Enns.

At the welcoming reception they poured the exclusive Laughing Stock Rose along with delicious bites that included Watermelon Gazpacho, Beetroot Marshmallow topped deep fried foie gras, Spot Prawn with a spicy aioli, Salmon Riatte topped with salmon caviar.

Server with Watermelon Gazpacho

Beetroot Marshmallow topped deep fried foie gras

Salmon Riatte topped with salmon caviar

I was fortunate to be seated with David Enns (Winemaker) and Cynthia Enns (Vineyard Manager) and had a wonderful conversation with them both about their wines, vineyard and passion for delicious food.

Chef Grant Macdonald

Now on to dinner and the pairings!

First Course:

Scallop & Spot Prawn Ceviche

Scallop & Spot Prawn Ceviche with grilled lemon, arugula, pique

Paired with the Laughing Stock Viognier 2010

Second Course:

Roasted Halibut


Roasted Halibut with morel mushrooms, sweet peas, Dungeness crab

Paired with the Laughing Stock Chardonnay 2009

Third Course:

Slow-Cooked Lamb Sirloin

Slow-Cooked Lamb Sirloin with romesco, kalamata olive, warm spinach flan, roasted cauliflower

Paired with the Laughing Stock `Portfolio`2006 and 2008

Fourth Course:

Trio of Lollipops

Trio of Lollypops –

  • Amarena Red Cherry Cheesecake with dried raspberry powder, dark chocolate
  • Caramel & Port with sea salt, milk chocolate, toasted meringue
  • Mango & Lime with white cream, milk chocolate


Paired with the Elephant Island Stellaport NV

Chef Grant Macdonald of YEW in the Four Seasons Hotel created a menu that was well paired with these wines.

Comments:  All of the wines and courses were well paired, I found the Laughing Stock Rose to be paired well with all of the appetizers especially with the Beetroot Marshmallow topped deep fried foie gras. The 2006 Laughing Stock Portfolio was my favourite wine of all paired with the Slow-Cooked Lamb Sirloin 3rd course. David and Cynthia suggested Elephant Island for the dessert course, and the Elephant Island Stellaport NV was the perfect finish and paired well with the Trio of Lollypops.

Laughing Stock Winery is located in Penticton, BC.

By: Richard Wolak


Food Fight! The Battle for Brunch 2011

Chef Eric Edwards of Tigh-Na-Mara Seaside Resort

On April 10th, for the 2nd year in a row, I attended Food Fight! The Battle for Brunch that benefited Variety – The Children’s charity.  The event brought together some of BC’s finest chefs in a battle for best brunch. Guests sampled each delicious offering and cast their ballot to declare one chef the Food Fight champ! A couple hundred foodies and their friends enjoyed tasty eats from the participating restaurants.

Italian Panini on marble rye with crab bisque and saffron cream by Tigh-Na-Mara Seaside Resort

Event contenders were the Executive Chefs from MARKET at Shangri-La, O’Doul’s Restaurant and Bar, Terminal City Club, Tigh-Na-Mara Seaside Resort and YEW Restaurant at the Four Seasons Hotel and the Abercorn Inn.

YEW Restaurants Lollipops

After the ballots were cast, it was an incredibly close race but Yew restaurant + bar at the Four Seasons Hotel Vancouver came out on top, thanks to their delicious Serrano Ham and Manchego Cheese Croquette and Wild Berry Cheesecake Lollipop.

Runner up was Ebo Restaurant at the Delta Burnaby Hotel and Conference Centre with their Quail Egg Benedict, House Cured Maple Bacon and Pecan and Banana Stuffed French Toast.

Terminal City Club

My favourite dishes this year were not the winning dishes, my favourites were the French Toast with caramelized apples by Market, Italian Panini on marble rye with crab bisque and saffron cream by Tigh-Na-Mara Seaside Resort.

French Toast with caramelized apples by Market

The always entertaining Fred Lee was back as emcee and served as live auctioneer. The auction, raised an incredible $4,250! In total, the event raised over $40,000, which will be used by Variety to support children in British Columbia who have special needs.

By: Richard Wolak


Chef Oliver Beckert

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 Oliver Beckert

A few weeks ago I spent the afternoon with Chef Oliver Beckert at YEW Restaurant in the Four Seasons Hotel Vancouver.

Oliver was born and raised in Nuremberg, Germany. He worked at a restaurant when he was 16 years old for a couple weeks as a trial during the summer. He then worked at a restaurant in Nuremberg where he apprenticed for 3 years. Afterwards he worked at Bellevue Palace in Bern, Switzerland for 18 months as a cook. He then went to New York on vacation with his Aunt and ate at many of the fine eateries, he loved NY and wanted to find a way to work there. He applied at the top hotels and at 23 he was hired by Hotel Pierre (Four Seasons) where he worked for 18 months and then transferred to the Four Seasons in London for 2 years where he specialized in fine French dining as their line cook he was then promoted to Junior Sous Chef. He moved to Washington, DC and worked at the Four Seasons for 4 years as the Executive Sous Chef. Oliver then moved to Miami for 2 years to open the Four Seasons Hotel (it was an eye opening experience) as the Executive Sous Chef, he then moved to the Four Seasons in Lanai, Hawaii for a month and was then offered the Executive Chef position which he accepted and spent 4 years as he oversaw 7 restaurants on the property, he wanted a change and there was an opening in Vancouver, he joined the Four Seasons Hotel in Vancouver in January 2009 as their Executive Chef.

Did you ever think you would only work in hotels?

Well I look at our restaurant in the hotel as a restaurant vs a hotel restaurant.

Describe your role as Executive Chef at the Four Seasons Hotel Vancouver.

I run YEW Restaurant, banquets, room service and offsite catering. Lots to oversee including 3 Sous Chefs. 20% of my time is devoted to cooking while the rest is managing people, admin and ordering.


What are the differences between working in your role in Hawaii vs Vancouver?

In Hawaii, I spent much of the day on a golf cart checking each of the 7 restaurants, the environment was tropical. In Vancouver the set-up is very different and of course the weather here is different too.

The First Dish:

Smoked Salmon

Cedar smoked sockeye, charred scallions, and crispy poached egg

What was your inspiration behind this dish?

Smoked salmon in Vancouver us unbelievable, I had the egg before in New York, I played with it a bit and decided to go with it and charred the green onion.

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

  • Chambar
  • Vij’s
  • Le Crocodile
  • Miku Restaurant

Who does the cooking at home?

My wife is a fantastic chef and she does the cooking at home.

What is your favourite cuisine?

Depends on my mood from Asian to Italian.

What challenges you as a chef?

Hiring staff and finding the right people to be part of the team, developing new menus and dishes, the seasons with different foods available.

How did you Olympics menu appear?

We held at brainstorming meeting once a week and we came up with our Olympic menu, it was very successful and the restaurant was packed during the Olympics.

What is your favourite dish to make (personally)?


What is your favourite dish to make (in the restaurant)?

Ahi Tuna rare with roasted fois gras and seasonal vegetables

The Second Dish:


Spiced local Coho salmon, cauliflower puree, pomegranate and brussel sprouts

What was your inspiration behind this dish?

What’s in season in the winter, combination of flavours that are good for you.

How do you develop your monthly special menus?

Our monthly special in YEW Restaurant is always $35 for 3 courses which can be paired with wines for an extra charge. I usually develop the menu with my restaurant chef and our pastry chef, our focus is often local.

If there is anything you would do different what would you do?

I would want a larger kitchen, add a chefs table and more prep space.

Where is your favourite cheese from?

Farmhouse Cheese in the valley.

Where are you going for your next vacation?

I am going to stay home and see BC, I am planning on renting an RV and then drive around BC to meet the producers and visit wineries in the various regions around the province.

The Third Dish:


Miso glazed with sea asparagus, wood ear mushrooms and spicy clam broth

What was your inspiration behind this dish?

I wanted to Miso something with a good fish, local and seasonal ingredients using Asian techniques.

Where is your favourite food city?

New York City

Where was your most recent culinary trip?

I spent 10 days in Tokyo cooking dishes from our YEW Restaurant at the Four Seasons Tokyo and before that I did a similar trip to cook at the Four Seasons hotel in Mexico City.

What is the unique spice that I tasted in the Sablefish dish?

It was Kansuri Paste, a Japanese spice that I added to the dish.

What is your favourite fish to cook?

Hawaiian Ahi Tuna or BC Salmon

What do you like to do in your off time?

  • Family time
  • Watch movies
  • Sports
  • Play in the hotel soccer league
  • Skiing
  • Traveling

Where do you see yourself in 3 years?

I will be somewhere in North America – Vancouver and beyond.

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

By: Richard Wolak

Kitchen Uncorked at YEW Celebrating the Games

On Tuesday Feb 8th I attended this celebration of the 2010 Olympics held inside the kitchen at the Four Seasons Vancouver Hotel.

Executive Chef Oliver Beckert

I tasted many items from the Olympics menu which is being featured again in their YEW Restaurant for the month of February 2011.

Salt Spring Lamb Chops

My favourite savoury item (shown above) was the Salt Spring Lamb Chops.

Maple Leaf Cookies

Caramel Milk Chocolate Truffle Lollipops

Raspberry Parfait

I tasted all the desserts as I often do and all were good, my favourites were the Caramel Milk Chocolate Truffle Lollipops, Maple Leaf Cookies and the Raspberry Parfaits.

YEW is featuring an edible Olympic-inspired feature. YEW Restaurant and Bar is located in the Four Seasons Hotel at 791 West Georgia Street.

By: Richard Wolak

Scallops & Citrus at YEW Restaurant

I was in for dinner recently to taste thru their Scallops & Citrus menu that is being presented throughout November at YEW Restaurant in the Four Seasons downtown Vancouver.

This $35, three-course, prix-fixe menu focuses on in-season ingredients sourced close to home. You have a choice of one of the Starters, one Main and one Dessert.

Qualicum Scallop Crudo

Caramelized Diver Scallop

To Start

Qualicum Scallop Crudo, Pomegranate, Whistler Lemon Balm, Tangerine Olive Oil paired with the Kettle Valley Pinot Gris 2009é

Caramelized Diver Scallop, Roasted Pemberton Sunchokes, Orange Braised endive, Yuzu paired with the Le Vieux Pin Sauvignon Blanc 2008

Roasted Scallop

Seared Jumbo Scallop

To Follow

Seared Jumbo Scallop, Fraser Valley Heirloom Pumpkin Risotto, Crispy Brussel Sprouts, Two Rivers Pork Belly, mandarin glaze paired with the Blue Mountain Reserve Chardonnay 2006.

Roasted Scallop, Grilled BC Pine Mushroom, Winter Greens, Parsnip Purée paired with the La Frenz Reserve Pinot Noir 2007.

Dessert Trio: Chocolate, Grapefruit & Mango

To Finish

Dessert Trio

Mango – Fruit Consomme & mango ravioli

Grapefruit – Citrus cremeux, Grapefruit gelle, chocolate powder

Chocolate – Spiced poached pears, Pot de Crème, vanilla foam

Please note, these wine pairings are not included in the $35 menu but can be purchased by the glass.

YEW Restaurant is located inside the Four Seasons Hotel Vancouver at 791 West Georgia Street and online at

By: Richard Wolak

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