OpenRoad Driver Volume 15 Issue 1 - Page 30

30 » OpenRoad Driver Quang Dang, currently executive chef at Araxi in Whistler. After leaving The Met, his career took another turn when he became a private chef aboard a yacht. He jumped at the chance to travel the world and stepped out of his comfort zone. Ironically, his penchant for getting seasick limited the experience to one year. Salimian returned to BC and, together with his partner Jen Peters, worked at a fishing lodge in the Queen Charlotte Islands. It was only a 90-day contract, but proved to be an amazing experience. The restaurant served high-end food that featured locally foraged ingredients such as mushrooms and berries, local fish, and delicious sea urchin when the tide was low. One of the biggest turns in Chef Salimian’s career occurred when he was asked to open The Apron at The Westin Wall Centre in Richmond. He was warned against it. Starting a restaurant from the ground up is a huge undertaking. It would have been far easier to take a position at an established restaurant, but the experience of opening a restaurant would be critical in his growth as a chef. Blessed by the opportunity, he faced the challenge head on, given complete autonomy as long as the restaurant was profitable. At The Apron he had creative license to experiment. This is where I first tasted Salimian’s classic Puffed Foie Gras. It requires technique and skill to take something so decadent and rich as foie gras and succeed in transforming it into a light and airy masterpiece. From the fishing lodge, Salimian took a turn south to Vancouver Island. The Westin Bear Mountain Resort was looking for an executive sous-chef under chef Iain Rennie. Salimian snapped up the opportunity to oversee four freestanding restaurants. With a large crew to manage, and taking care of the business side, he gained valuable knowledge and experience that he would draw upon in the future. Often a journey can lead to a familiar place. By then, Quang Dang had worked his way up to executive chef at The Met, and upon his departure, he recommended Salimian as a replacement. The Met was nearly full circle, with Salimian going from line cook years ago to executive chef. Shortly afterwards, Salimian’s career literally came full circle with an opportunity to share his experience and knowledge as an instructor at Vancouver Community College. The Noodles are created with pine mushroom, served with veal cheek and parmesan broth. student had now become the teacher. From the basics of reading food labels to serving a gourmet multi-course meal, Chef Salimian now teaches his students both the cooking and business sides of the restaurant industry. It brings him great pleasure to see a student progress from sandwiches to carefully prepared delicate quenelles. What other turns are left for Chef Salimian? Plenty, apparently. Along with his partner Jen, he is currently developing a business called Nextjen Gluten Free. As a celiac, Jen wants to enjoy baked goods and pasta without compromising taste and texture. She has perfected the recipe now found in their hassle-free, all-purpose baking flour. Salimian is putting all his passion, knowledge and experience to the test with Nextjen, and it shows in the final product. So what is next in his career? If his journey is any indication so far, there will be many more turns filled with excitement and success. Hamid Salimian was the captain of Culinary Team Canada 2013-2016. SHERMAN CHAN A l w a y s i n s e a r c h o f t h e b e s t e a t s i n Va n c o u v e r a n d b e y o n d , S h e r m a n C h a n h a s b e e n t h e f e r o c i o u s a p p e t i t e b e h i n d t h e p o p u l a r f o o d b l o g , S h e r m a n’ s Fo o d Ad v e nt u r e s . From fine dining to dives, he will eat almost anything head to tail. His food adventures have spanned a decade, with many more experiences to come. shermansfoodadventures.com