Chef Tom Lee

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 Tom Lee

At 13 years old Tom took foods and textile classes in school because that ratio of girls to guys was in his favour. At 15 he was enjoying it and his teacher suggested that he work in a restaurant. At 16 he worked at Cactus Club as a cook. Then he worked at L’Ermitage part time and worked his way up for a year. Tom decided he wanted to do that as a career. He worked at Picolo Mondo for 6 months. He applied at Cordon Blue in Ottawa and got in but then applied to the Culinary Centre of America which he ended up going to for 3 years. After graduating, he got hired at Restaurant Gordon Ramsay in London, UK after pestering them daily for 6 months to hire him. Then out of college he got hired at their 3 star Michelin restaurant in London and he worked there for 14 months, working 16-18 hours per day, 5 days a week. His goal was to work in France, but had to work at Maze (1 star Michelin) in London for the next 6 months. Then Le Jardin Des Sens in Mont-Pellier in the South of France (2 star Michelin) for 1 year, his visa was only for one year. Got hired at West but didn’t take the job. He got introduced to Frenchy at Joe Fortes Restaurant and was offered the Sous Chef position at Goldfish and worked there for 3 years. Tom then worked at Fraiche as Sous Chef for 6 months. Then an opportunity came up where he joined Edible Canada at the Market as their Sous Chef and then last month he was promoted to Chef de Cuisine.

What challenges you as a Chef?

  • Having the time to create
  • How to get food costs in line
  • Keeping staff engaged
  • Being creative
  • Being in charge of the kitchen

What are you learning from the Vancouver Food Community?

Cooking locally and sourcing ingredients.

What was it like for you going from a 3 star Michelin then a 1 star Michelin to a 2 star Michelin restaurant?

The style of the food, the freshness of the vegetables, the technique and the precision. It’s food first in Europe.

The First Dish:

Roasted Potato Consome

Roasted Potato Consome

Diced russet potatoes

Hazelmere Farms Rhutabega

Hazelmere Farms Carrots

Veal stock

Chicken stock

Tortelini pasta stuffed with creamed leeks


What was your inspiration behind this dish?

Had Potato Leek Soup and wanted to make a unique version that has elements of what you would think.

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

  • Watch tv
  • Grouse grind
  • Clubbing
  • Hot yoga
  • Workout

Do you cook at Home?


The Second Dish:

Chorizo Risotto

Chorizo Risotto

Nova Scotia Scallops

Lime juice

Hint of butter

Oyama Chorizo

Arburio Risotto




Nistrella Cheese (BC)

Smoked tomato vinaigrette

What was your inspiration behind this dish?

Just decided to make it as a feature for my dinner service.

Why did you use the smoked tomato sauce in your risotto?

I wanted to mimic the smokiness of the chorizo and it would cut the richness of the dish.

What is your favourite cuisine to eat personally?


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

  • Phonm Penh
  • L’Abbotoir
  • Miku Restaurant

The Third Dish:

Cilantro Marinated Duck Breast

Cilantro Marinated Duck Breast

North Arm Farms Roasted baby beets

Fraser Valley duck

Potatoes fondant

Beet crisps

Star anise citrus jus

Beet tops

What was your inspiration behind this dish?

Fan of Asian inspired dishes, ingredients we have readily available here.

What do you want your chefs to learn from you in your restaurant?

  • Taste
  • Cleanliness
  • Learning
  • Cooking technique

Do you have the creativity to put a totally different dish that inspires you on to your menu?

Yes, it’s just time and finding the inspiration to do that.

Who are your Mentors?

  • Chef William Tse
  • Chef Gordon Ramsey
  • My parents

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

By: Richard Wolak

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