FOR the LOVE OF TRUFFLES
Chef Eric Holden
Forager & Artist
Chef Holden is a commited forager,
Chef and artist.
When not in the kitchen you'll find Chef picking driftwood off the beach, making lamps, chairs and terrariums from all the treasures found in the forests.
Chef Rob Cassels
Chef is a loving father and husband first and foremost. While he has a number of accolades under his belt he is constantly pushing the envelope.
French cuisine with a flair, Chef loves working with truffles and he's always got a new and innovative recipe up his sleeve.
Chef Chris Jay
Food Developer/ Content Creator
Chef was born and raised in Victoria B.C
Chris is not only a Chef but he also develops recipes and has his own small business in food photography.
When Chef isn't working in a kitchen, you'll probably find him whipping up a storm at home, after all " If you do what you love you'll never work a day in your life". Chris loves hiking, being outside and believes that food while nourishing can also be transformed into beautiful pieces of edible art.
Chef Melanie Fast
Acre By The Sea
Forager Fermenter Feaster
Melanie has a passion for relearning and restoring the forgotten traditions of Slow Food. The health and wellness benefits of incorporating a microbial diverse living diet has become a primary focus in her approach to feeding her family, guests, and community. Through playful experimentation she weaves flavour, colour, cultured ingredients, local fresh ingredients, wild-foraged, and fired foods into flavourful dishes. She creates from a place of passion, curiosity, and a need to honour food, nature, our bodies, and each other. When she’s not planning her next Pop Up Night or private booking event, she can be found deep in the forest foraging with Lucy her truffle dog, at every season and opportunity.
Chef Randy Fontana
Executive Chef Novo Pizzeria
Chef Fontana has been working in the kitchen for fifteen years and his passion for food is still very much alive.
After a three month stint as a pharmacy assistant, Chef realized the kitchen was where he needed to be. Chef spent eight years at Tavola in Vancouver and credits his experience there for fine tuning his culinary skills. He loves using fresh truffles when they are in season.
Chef Matt Cusano
Boom + Batten
Victoria British Columbia
Born and raised in Calgary Alberta, Matt now currently in Victoria, is the Executive Chef of Boom + Batten restaurant located in the Victoria international Marina.
Half Italian, chef Cusano was raised around and heavily influenced by his Italian immigrant grandparents. He credits his first love and attraction to food to spending so much time as a kid at his grandparents house where he was surrounded by beautiful vegetable gardens, wine making, tomato sauce production, and traditionally preserved foods. Although his style lends more towards a west coast inspired feel, his food most definitely has Italian technique and influence in many of the dishes on his menu, from daily house made gnocchi, to stuffed pasta’s, and simplistic treatment of fish and meat.
Right out of high school, Matt made the leap into the culinary world and enrolled at the International Culinary School at the Art Institute of Vancouver (now LaSalle College). After completing the 2-year culinary program and a few short restaurant stints in Vancouver, Matt made his way to the Okanagan, where he spent four years at Old Vines Restaurant at Quails Gate Estate winery. Through his time there, his appreciation and respect for locally sourced seasonal cooking was developed. Being surrounded by some of the best produce in the province, along side some of the best wine in BC, laid great groundwork for his career. From there, Matt headed out west even further, landing in Victoria BC where he spent time at Olo restaurant, followed by two years at the Oswego Hotel in James Bay as the Chef/Restaurant manager. From there, an exciting opportunity to be a part of the opening team at Boom + Batten presented it’s self and Matt saw it as a great opportunity to be a part of opening the newest restaurant in Victoria. Chef Cusano has made his way through the ranks at Boom, where he now oversees all of kitchen operations as the Executive Chef. Matt’s favorite part about being a chef and working in a busy restaurant is the energy a full room brings, where every aspect of the operation is working perfectly in sync, and the feeling of running and completing a successful service where every guest leaves happy.
Chef Cusano’s approach to food is simple, playful, and incorporates elements of his Italian heritage, and his love for local food. On his seasonally changing menus, you’ll find many cuts of beautifully aged beef (he’s an Alberta boy), as well as many fish and seafood preparations, simplistic vegetable dishes, and hand made Italian inspired pastas. Chef Matt prides him self on building relationships with suppliers, guests and staff, and is committed to creating positive change in kitchen culture and the restaurant industry as a whole. Some of his favorite local and no so local products to use in his cooking are sablefish, morel mushrooms, branzino, wagyu beef, oysters, buffalo mozzarella, and truffles.
When chef Cusano is not in the kitchen, he spends his time exploring and hiking on Vancouver Island, cycling, playing basketball, and spending time with friends and family.
Chef Brian Tesolin
Courtenay Room Victoria BC
Bio coming soon
Chef Marc Swiednicki
Home Chef Content Creator
It was a matter of survival. When Wall of Chef’s grand prize winner Marc Sweidnicki from Montreal lay trapped for 3 days nearing death in 1998 when his motorcycle skidded out from underneath him on a cold Manitoba morning, landing him in a ditch, it was thoughts of preparing food that he returned to time and again. “I prayed to be found. I sought distraction from my pain by imagining all the sort of incredible things I would cook up after I was rescued. Food rescued me. I lasted long enough to be finally found.”
He was discovered in the nick of time, and spent two years in rehabilitation, learning to walk again. Terry Fox became his hero, even thinking that he would want to do something similar.
He joined his father’s business and became one of Canada’s most sought after experts as a Broadcast Systems Specialist and Installer, setting up and updating television and recording studios across the country.
His brush with death left him with an unquenchable desire to live with passion and make the most of every moment.
A chance backstage encounter with Anthony Bourdain during a TV taping, rekindled his love of the art and drama of being in the kitchen.
“Anthony is my hero, back in the day when I still smoked , We had a cigarette together, he put his arm around my shoulders and suddenly I had the feeing that everything I needed to ground myself was in my kitchen.”
Chef Deon Ascenio
Modern Chef Society
Bio coming soon
Chef Daniel Hudson
Pop Up Chef
Daniel's career began twenty years ago in the UK where he worked in one of the finest kitchens Eastwell Manor. He gained hands on experience with Michelin star chefs over the years. Chef's motto is I do what I know and what I know I do well. Chef Hudson moved to Vancouver Island in 2005. Opened his award winning restaurant Hudson's on First in Duncan in 2012 and in 2014 won a Vancouver magazine Best Restaurant Award. He is now focussing his attention on his own brand Schatzi, German for darling, with his fiance Kat. Finally, he appeared on Top Chef Canada and was a winner on Chopped Canada.
Chef Raf Laouini
Raised in italy, in the province of Umbria, Chef Raf developed a passion for cooking, which later became his profession.
Chef attended the culinary school there and graduated in 2004. While studying he started working as a kitchen helper at the age of 16, becoming a line cook later.
Raf earned the position of Executive Chef when he was 25 years old .
In 2013 he moved to Canada with his wife and their son. First he spent 3 years in Montreal and later he moved to Victoria.
To date he has been in this industry for 20 years, 12 of which as Executive Chef. In his recipes he uses ingredients imported from Italy such as truffles, porcini mushrooms and cheeses, combined with local ingredients to make the perfect dish.
Chef Raf likes challenges, in fact he often combines his cuisine with North American flavors to satisfy his customers.