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In this three-part series, we talk to some of the city's best chefs to find out what they like to cook for their families
It seems that Vancouver’s most illustrious chefs aren’t that different than us. When it comes to home cooking, it turns out that three of Vancouver’s award-winning culinary stars—David Hawksworth of his award-winning eponymous restaurant as well as the more casual Nightingale; Rob Feenie of the Cactus Club Cafe and first Canadian chef to win Iron Chef America; and Mark Perrier, chef and co-proprietor of Osteria Savio Volpe and Pepino’s—also crave a pizza or sloppy burger once in awhile.
BCLiving sat down with these renowned chefs to ask them a few questions about their home cooking, fall meals and who inspires them. In this first of three parts, we speak with David Hawksworth and share his recipe for the perfect mushroom and truffle risotto (see below).
BCL: What are your go-to recipes at home?Hawksworth: I love to fish so I serve a lot of seafood, especially salmon. My son’s favourite fall dish is salmon, lightly cured and cooked in the oven on low, served with peas and watercress.
BCL: In your opinion, what makes for a perfect fall meal?Hawksworth: A good fall meal for me includes squash soup, charred root vegetables drizzled in a good olive oil to go along with some seafood.
BCL: Do you cook much differently at home than you do at your restaurants?Hawksworth: At home, it is all about simplicity. It’s all about using the best possible products
they don’t have to be expensive, just fresh. I use the same techniques that I use at Hawksworth and Nightingale, except the dishes are prepared more simply. Some nights, I’ll grab some steaks and barbecue them or I’ll cook burgers for my son.
BCL: How do you like to entertain at home?Hawksworth: Sunday nights, I love to have family and friends over. Often, there will be 12 people at my house. I like to cook either a salmon tataki salad, pizza cooked on our outdoor pizza oven, or grilled chicken breast. I’m a little classical when it comes to pizza, so often I’ll serve a margherita (tomatoes, cheese, basil) with chilis or a white-sauce pizza.
BCL: What are your five must-have ingredients in your pantry?Hawksworth: Every cook needs a well-stocked kitchen. In my pantry, I always keep on hand amazing olive oil (my favourite is Frank Giustra’s Domenica Fiore), Maldon sea salt, the absolute best free-range eggs I can buy, Dijon mustard and canned albacore tuna.
BCL: Who was your main chef/cooking influence when you were growing up?Hawksworth: My earliest mentors were my mother’s mom and my uncle on my dad’s side, who was a chef. At 19, I began working at Umberto’s where I really honed my skills by learning several different techniques and recipes.
At Home With Top Chefs: Rob Feenie
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At Home With Top Chefs: Mark Perrier