The road to the North Shore Winter Club for Executive Chef Kevin Lu is a lot longer than that of most of us. For starters, it began in another country developing a taste for high quality food and premium dining experiences.
We’re lucky to have Kevin, or ‘Chef’ as his buddy David Long calls him.
After all, Chef feeds us. I caught up with Kevin to get some insight into the culture he’s building in the North Shore Winter Club kitchen.
KC: How long have you been at NSWC?
KL: At least 2 and a half years, I think it’s actually 3 at this point.
KC: Tell us a bit about the path you took to the club.
KL: I’m originally from Malaysia, I migrated when I was 21. I’ve worked in lots of places in Canada and finally worked at Terminal City Club where I met David. And then I worked for David for 12 years, so we’ve known each other for a long time. We personally tried to build up Terminal City to create a great environment. Then, when David left, he moved on to his own stuff and he landed here at the club finally. We reconnected and he got me in here to build the whole food and beverage department up from what it was.
KC: You clearly have a passion for that type of creation, the kitchen has come a long way in the 3 years I’ve been here.
KL: I love building stuff up from scratch. Food, the team, whatever. It’s basically a clean slate and you build it up from there. Instead of hiring somebody to do your own banquet, you build up your department so you produce good food for members on your own. The Members Appreciation Night, people rave about it.
There’s the team aspect of it, basically trying to build a perfect team for the north shore winter club, but we also want to focus more on holding member events so members can enjoy the food we can produce from our kitchen. Instead of some sort of catering company, we do it on our own.
KC: You’ve participated in some pretty notable events as a chef, do you enjoy the competitive atmosphere that’s growing with modern cooking shows and whatnot?
KL: That’s the fun stuff. I always go into competitions, one was the BC Place Food Show, they have this competition called Iron Chef where they invite chefs throughout BC to participate and I won it two years in a row. It’s a Black Box competition, you open up this box and come up with two meals with the ingredients that they give you. That’s intense, then finally the awesome part is winning it, they announce your name at BC Place and the whole stadium goes nuts, it’s awesome.
KC: Give us 3 tricks for hockey or tennis players for before, during and after games or matches.
KL: Before, eat something half an hour or 45 minutes before your game. Pasta or protein to get some energy before a game.
During, drink a lot of water during the game so you are not dehydrated.
After, chocolate milk or chocolate with low sugar, you can eat it during as well to keep your energy stable. Vega shakes are awesome, you cam mix them into water during the game, they’re GMO-free*, clean, vegan, plant-based and its local, from Burnaby.
KC: What does the future hold for the kitchen?
KL: Hopefully we get to the point where we can create a restaurant, not a cafe and a bar, a sit-down restaurant serving bistro-style food, a family spot where people can eat and enjoy themselves. That’s my goal, I don’t know if it will work yet. I also want to sell butchery items, ham sausage, bacon, things like that.
KC: Bob the Butcher will certainly help that. You’re pretty into food then.
KL: I like to keep people fed in a good way. Instead of you buying ham elsewhere, there’s lots of artificial flavour being pumped into ham and bacon, all natural here. That’s what we’re all about, keeping people here and feeding them the best, natural and healthy food.