Chef Thomas Heinrich

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 Thomas Heinrich

Chef Thomas Heinrich

At 15, I walked into a kitchen and got a job as a dishwasher at an Italian restaurant in Sydney, Australia. I then worked as a dishwasher in a butcher shop after school and worked at  steakhouse for a year as a cook at the same time while going to school. At 17 started an Apprenticeship for 4 years –European style – fine dining seafood restaurant worked there for 2 years then 1 year at a steakhouse then 1 year at a Greek restaurant, then fine dining Greek for a year. I then went to a restaurant group and worked 2 years in their café, and fine dining restaurant, it was actually 3 restaurants within 2 years. I then worked at the Dalton House in Sydney as the Sous Chef. At 21, I moved to New York and worked at the Four Seasons Hotel as a cook in the bottom position, then after 2.5 years I was promoted to Sous Chef for another 2.5 years at Fifty Seven Restaurant. I then moved back to Australia and became the Executive Chef of the Deep Blue Bistro doing a fine dining native Australia menu for 2 years. I then moved to Chicago and worked at the Four Seasons Hotel for 3 years as the Chef de Cuisine (a Michelin star restaurant), then moved over to the Hyatt (largest Hyatt in the company) as the Exec Sous Chef for 2 years, I then opened the Park Hyatt Chicago, New Orleans and Napa, and then I moved to Vancouver and have been the Executive Chef at Hyatt Vancouver.

You can follow Chef Thomas Heinrich on twitter @cheftheinrich

Have you always wanted to be a Chef?

No, can’t remember what I wanted to do.

How different is it cooking in a kitchen in Australia vs Vancouver?

All the kitchens are the same, there are really no differences. Going to the USA from Australia, I discovered the language was different as far as the names of fruits and other foods goes.


What do you want your Chefs to Learn from you?

  • Passion for food
  • Respect for the ingredients
  • You have to find the best quality tomato and show them the differences..

What Challenges you as a Chef?

Being in a hotel there is a lot more going on than in a restaurant. From meetings and banquets in one of the largest hotels in the city, I over-see banquets by day and the restaurant by night.

How does Banquets work for you?

  • Banquets plating 600-1000 meals moving from the kitchen to the 34th floor.
  • Ingredient driven and high quality

The First Dish:

G.B. E. Heirloom Tomato Salad

G.B. E. Heirloom Tomato Salad

G.B. E. Heirloom Tomato Salad

Basil gel

12 years aged boyajian balsamic

Fairburn Farms buffalo mozzarella

Heirloom tomatoes

What was your inspiration behind this dish?

Everybody loves a Caprese Salad, take a regular Caprese and add the best tomatoes and suvee some of the tomatoes.


What is your Favourite Food to eat?

Pizza or a good burger.


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

  • Wildebeest
  • Chambar
  • Damso
  • LAbbotoir


The Second Dish:

Seared Ocean Wise Qualicum Bay Scallops

Seared Ocean Wise Qualicum Bay Scallops

Seared Ocean Wise Qualicum Bay Scallops

Qualicum Bay Scallops

Sweet corn

Gelderman Farms pork belly

What was your inspiration behind this dish?

I love serving scallops with bacon or any type of pork. Took a Southern approach to it and made a corn succotash and fire roasted green pepper coulis.


What do you do in your Off Time?

  • Gym
  • Play Playstation
  • Walk on the beach

Where do you get your Creative inspiration?

  • Books
  • Other chefs
  • Follow all the restaurants that I like that are high end dining around the world
  • I want food like Noma or Fat Duck
  • Thought process


What is your Thought Process behind your Chefs Tasting Menus?

  • I start with an ingredient or an inspiration or a season
  • Then I search to see what it is going on at French Laundry or wanting to understand Spanish food or other ingredients, flavors and techniques.

What is next for your Chefs Tasting Menus?

  • Chinese
  • Korean
  • Spain

The Third Dish:

Oyama Boudin Blanc Cassoulet

Oyama Boudin Blanc Cassoulet

Oyama Boudin Blanc Cassoulet

Runner cannellini heirloom beans

Duck confit



What was your inspiration behind this dish?

I love cassoulets and I love Oyama.

Who are your Mentors?

  • Thomas Keller
  • Heston Blumenthal
  • Grant Atkins

What could Vancouver do better on the food scene?

More high end fine dining, like Wildebeest doing high end.

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

By: Richard Wolak

Leave a Reply