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.
Robert attended Dubrulle French Culinary School in 1995 receiving an Honors Distinction recognition. At the same time he worked at the Renaissance Vancouver Harbourside Hotel where he remained for 9 years working in the day time, while at night for several of the same years he worked at the Sheraton Wall Centre. From 2000 – 2006 he held the Sous Chef position at the Sheraton Wall Centre. In 2006 he moved to the Sutton Place Hotel as the Sous Chef promoted to the Banquet Chef. In 2010 he was the Exec Sous Chef at the Westin Bayshore Hotel until 2012. He then joined The Westin Wall Centre, Vancouver Airport Hotel as the Executive Chef in 2012 of the hotel and The Apron Restaurant where he has been ever since.
You can follow Chef Robert Uy on Instagram @uyrobby
After Culinary School, why did you go the Hotel route solely?
Working in hotels gave me exposure to different styles of cooking and cuisines, working with chefs of different backgrounds, and a chance to cook for larger numbers of people.
What did you learn in the first few years of working in a Hotel?
Organization skills, things will always work out doesn’t matter what the situation is.
Did you always have an interest in Cooking?
After highschool I enrolled into the nursing program at Douglas College. I then changed my mind and switched over to other areas. My dad was passionate about cooking and butchery, he taught me a lot which he thought I should know. My wife suggested since I loved cooking so much, I should pursue Culinary education and make it a career.
What are your Favourite Ingredients to cook with?
What one thing do you enjoy the most outside of work when with your chefs?
Crabbing, I love taking them crabbing.
Where do you Crabbing?
Tsawwassen and Indian Arm
Albacore Tuna Poke
Marinated albacore tuna
Seaweed in tobiku soil
Homemade rice cracker
Collaboration with my cooks and my sous chef thought of this dish.
What is Red Ogo?
It is a type of seaweed.
What are your favourite restaurants to eat in Vancouver outside of where you work?
What do you like to do in your Off Time?
Haida Gwaii Clear Water Halibut
Tamarind and makrut limedust
Coconut green curry broth
I love Thai cuisine and the demographics of our area, I love curries as well.
What is the process of designing your new menus?
I give my cooks a month notice, we will then sit down as a team, then each person shows off their dishes and we critique each of them. Then myself and my Sous Chef decides on the best dishes that we are going ahead to add to the menu.
What do you do to stay Current with the Trends?
I am always checking out things on social media, I go on a food trip every year to NY, San Francisco or Las Vegas, you see what the new trends are going to be.
Do you have to follow certain Westin guidelines?
Yes we have to have a specific number of super foods and there are other features such as local and seasonal products.
Vanilla bean sauce
Vanilla bean gelato
Banana cream pie deconstructed in collaboration with one of my cooks.
What is the one thing you always tell your Chefs?
I always tell chefs who maybe moving on, your last 2 weeks of your shift are what you are remembered by, your integrity.
Do your family members cook at home?
Yes, my 3 kids cook dishes at home and I teach them tricks and things to do, it’s important in life.
What do you want your cooks to learn from you?
Follow your passion, work hard, be true to yourself and have fun.
Stay tuned for the next chef in the Dishing with the Chef series.
By: Richard Wolak