West Coast Wild Harvest Issue 1 Spring/Summer 2016 - Page 33

RUPERT BLADES 293 Wallace after the rebranding Food Co. Since returning from the internship, Takeda has become more focused on foraging and incorporating wild ingredients in his work. Paying His Dues Takeda has been cooking professionally for about twelve years. After high school he did an apprenticeship at Newlands Golf & Country Club in Langley, and then he worked at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver. He did show dinners in their lounge for Rocky Mountaineer tours, and spent a few months at Diva at the Met. He left the city in 2010 to work as an assistant cook at Squeah Camp and Retreat Centre just outside of Hope. His contract was for six months, but he ended up staying an additional three years as Head Chef. “That was a very pivotal experience in my life, where I was able to learn how to manage people. I was working mainly with a group of volunteers. Most of them had very little to no cooking experience, and most of them didn’t really want to become chefs or anything like that…we really made everything from scratch there, and we worked very hard. So I had to find some kind of reason behind why they were doing the work they were doing. I tried to incorporate teaching life skills into the kitchen environment.” During his time at Camp Squeah Takeda met Jason Harper, the chef of a restaurant in Hope called Joe’s Restaurant and Lounge. He and Harper decided to buy the restaurant from the previous owners, and they began operating on May 1, 2013. A year later they changed the name to 293 Wallace Street Restaurant, and around the same time Takeda bought Harper’s share of the restaurant. A Strict Japanese Upbringing Good food has always had a prominent place in Takeda’s life. “My dad was a chef for a long time. One of his main jobs was at the Hyatt Regency in Vancouver… My mom did the daily cooking, and she was a fantastic cook as well. So I grew up eating really, really good food. “My parents met in Canada, but they’re originally from Japan, so I grew up in a pretty strict Japanese household. We ate a lot of food that would be quite foreign to most peers that I had growing up. I definitely remember going to school with bento boxes, rice and seaweed and fish and that kind of thing, and people would be eating cheese sandwiches and looking over and seeing what I was eating.” Takeda’s Japanese heritage has influenced his cooking to some degree: “I’m very comfortable with [Japanese] ingredients in terms of flavour profile. The Japanese use quite a lot of different fermented ingredients and pickled goods.” At the moment he is SPRING/SUMMER 2016 33