It's safe to say all living things like food, but maybe not as much as Chef Victor Bongo does. Recently transplanted from Africa, a young Victor worked as a dishwasher, but the siren call of the culinary scene lured him. He navigated from one kitchen to another, learning to cook, achieving the position of head chef, and eventually studying with three-star Michelin Chef Edmund Liew-On.
Today, Chef Bongo helms Daniel's Restaurant, where he puts his considerable talents to work blending internationally beloved spices into local seasonal and organic ingredients. He places pan-seared scallops into seas of pureed parsnips or submerges bison filet mignon in blueberry-port-wine sauce. His culinary ministrations earned his new restaurant the accolades of local press, including Straight.com's 2012 Golden Plate award for Best New Restaurant Outside Vancouver.
The creators of Karmavore Cafe + Dessert Lounge believe that, if you are what you eat, you should eat healthily, sustainably, and compassionately. As practicing vegans themselves, they know that such feats are not easily accomplished and can often mean steering clear of favorite foods. But they also know that, unlike convincing a toddler that broccoli is a special treat for good children, finding tasty vegan food is not impossible.
To prove it, they enlisted the help of vegan baker Ashley McLean. McLean's desserts may be egg-free, lactose-free, and cholesterol-free, but many customers don't even realize it, Karmavore's manager said in a New Westminster News Leader article. They're drawn into the shop at the sight of the cakes, apple pies, and peanut-butter bars on display. These treats satisfy sweet teeth after heartier vegan wraps, burgers, soups, and salads from the deli.
Colabs Cafe and Bake Shop blends a cosmopolitan European vibe with a homey, handmade sensibility while treating guests to feasts of baked goods, including a variety of gluten-free options, coffee, and toasty paninis. The chefs panini-press PB&J sandwiches, roast beef sandwiches, and tofu-scramble wraps, paired with quinoa salads and chickpea bocconcini. From behind a shiny glass display case, jumbo cookies, breads, muffins, as well as dozens of cupcakes beckon to rumbling stomachs, slathered in creamy frosting, cookie crumbles, and marshmallows. Unlike most breakfast and lunch cafés, Colabs Cafe and Bake Shop stays open until midnight, helping diners fuel themselves with the energy to stay up late enough to tuck in the sun.
Unlike money and newborns, many of the healthy ingredients featured on The Chopped Leaf's menu of salads, wraps, and sandwiches do grow on trees. At the health-minded eatery, the staff fills bowls and wraps with eight chef-designed salads as well as build-your-own combinations, whipped up quickly for dining in or taking out. They mix spinach with crisp apples, juicy oranges, and creamy feta cheese, topping flavourful medleys with filling proteins such as grilled chicken or smoked tofu. The Chopped Leaf also improves upon the basics with flavoured Chopped water, cool iced water infused with chunks of real fruit.
Milo Bigler traces the origins of his passion for food to a childhood spent in the kitchens of his parents’ resort and spa in the tiny Swiss village where he grew up. He went on to pursue a culinary education, eventually winding up in Canada, where he has prepared meals for politicians and royalty. He has opened multiple restaurants, including Calvin’s Café in 1991.
At Calvin’s, Bigler prepares everything from breakfast platters to steak dinners. He crafts sandwiches, makes soups, and tosses salads, each with a tasty little twist thrown in. He enhances his spinach and goat cheese salad with pickled mustard seeds, and polka-dots his open-faced smoked salmon bagel with caper berries. To keep things interesting, he cooks completely different menus at different times of the day, offering unique morning, lunch, afternoon, and dinner menus.
At Indigo Food Cafe, vegan chef, café owner, and Ukrainian polyglot Lovena Galyide orients taste buds toward uncooked fruit, nut, and veggie dishes in an effort to jump-start the body's natural healing process. A high tea menu pairs organic, fair-trade teas with bite-size treats including collard rolls, kale chips, and berry cheesecake, and a dinner menu includes collard roll-ups and stuffed portabella burgers. Desserts range from healthy indulgences such as coconut cream pie or lemon goji bars that are also served at breakfast. Lovena also leads classes to help raw foodies bring her café’s nourishing dishes into their own kitchens. During intro classes or more focused sessions on desserts or beauty, Galyide unveils the health benefits and top-hat-decorating potential of figs, coconuts, nettles, and other vitamin-crammed superfoods as her students make and eat kale chips and almond milk and learn to use vital appliances from food processors to dehydrators.