Food Tips
Feb 3, 2015

Chef profile: David Hawksworth

By: Elaine Song

Chef profile: David Hawksworth Author: Style At Home

Food Tips
Feb 3, 2015

Chef profile: David Hawksworth

By: Elaine Song
There is a culinary legacy being rooted in the heart of the Vancouver food scene, led by a man who is no stranger to the city. After spending 10 years training in Europe's Michelin-starred kitchens, David Hawksworth returned to his native land in British Columbia to later be named Vancouver Magazine's Chef of the year in 2012 and 2013. And continuing his commitment to delivering compelling cuisine has certainly earned him the recognition as one of Canada's foremost culinary masters.

Hawksworth Restaurant, the eponymous and acclaimed palatable setting of Chef Hawksworth, has become a hallmark of contemporary Canadian cuisine with an earnest focus on local ingredients of the utmost quality. After opening in 2011, the Hawksworth standards are now spreading throughout downtown Vancouver, as he's set to open his second restaurant later in 2015.

With an emphasis on shareable plates, this new 120-seat space promises to offer "the best of British Columbian farm-to-fork cuisine", to be paired with its rustic-yet-refined industrial chic design. While the build begins this spring and we anticipate the fresh flavours of B.C.'s seasonal produce, we get the know the chef at the heart of Vancouver's culinary scene.

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Chef profile: David Hawksworth

How does your European training play into your contemporary Canadian cuisine?

My training in European kitchens taught me the fundamentals and my cooking style today is grounded in European technique. That said, I now have a preference for lighter, ingredient forward menus, with fresh bright flavours veering away from the richer dishes and heavier sauces more commonly associated with classic European dishes. Beyond the cuisine, my European training also taught me how a successful restaurant’s back-of-house and front-of-house teams should operate – with discipline, integrity and focus.

By: Elaine Song Source: Hawksworth Restaurant Credits: Style at Home

Chef profile: David Hawksworth

What can Hawksworth diners expect from your second restaurant (food and design wise)?

We are keeping some of it under wraps for the time being, however, I can tell you that in the same vein as Hawksworth Restaurant seasonal, quality produce will lead the way with an emphasis on clean, bright, fresh flavours. There will be a varied food menu with a diverse wine list and creative cocktails. The overall experience will be upbeat and interesting – and great value.

By: Elaine Song Source: Hawksworth Restaurant Credits: Style at Home

Chef profile: David Hawksworth

Are you working with any designers for your second restaurant?

I’m excited about the space itself, the location is in downtown Vancouver close to Coal Harbour and it's an area I’ve watched grow significantly over the past few years – the new space has a beautiful heritage façade, high ceilings, exposed brick and elegant arched windows. The bar will be a focal point and interior design firm Munge Leung (who also designed Hawksworth Restaurant) will be working with us to create a dynamic environment to showcase the progressive food and the historic structure.

By: Elaine Song Source: Hawksworth Restaurant Credits: Style at Home

Chef profile: David Hawksworth

Do you have plans to open a restaurant outside of Vancouver?

Not currently. We are really focusing on Hawksworth Restaurant, Bel Café, The Hawksworth Young Chef Scholarship program, our off site catering business and the new restaurant, although you never know what opportunities could arise in a few years’ time – I certainly wouldn’t rule it out!

By: Elaine Song Source: Hawksworth Restaurant Credits: Style at Home

Chef profile: David Hawksworth

Hawksworth's kitchen essentials

What tools do you use in your kitchen on a daily basis? Sharp knives, peelers, and a rasp. What is the one kitchen item you can't live without? Don’t underestimate the difference a great frying pan will make and Mac knives are essential.

By: Elaine Song Source: Hawksworth Restaurant Credits: Style at Home

Chef profile: David Hawksworth

Describe your dream kitchen style.

At home, plenty of counter space is necessary to prep all the dish components, a double dishwasher to clean up everything and ideally a great big island with a stove to finish plating.

By: Elaine Song Source: Hawksworth Restaurant Credits: Style at Home

Chef profile: David Hawksworth

Foodie favourites

Cookbooks: The first cookbook that got me interested in cooking was Marco Pierre White’s White Heat. Another source of inspiration would be Modernist Cuisine, as well as Kitchen By Mike. To cook: Fresh seasonal fish. Spice/herb: Fresh basil. Dish ever eaten: It has to be the selection of sushi prepared by Jiro when Kristian Eligh, our Chef de Cuisine and I were in Japan a couple of years ago. Childhood food: My family has English roots to it was always roast beef with yorkshire pudding. Food destination: Spain and Japan. Guilty pleasure (food-wise): Vancouver's ever-growing ramen scene. Food memory: Le Gavroche in London, where I proposed to my wife Annabel.

By: Elaine Song Source: Hawksworth Restaurant Credits: Style at Home

Chef profile: David Hawksworth

This, that and the other

What food item are you obsessing over right now?: Sweet meat pumpkin. Strangest thing you've ever eaten: Probably pig’s eyeballs from Au Pied de Cochon in Montréal. Tea or coffee: I’m slightly biased for a cappuccino from Hawksworth Restaurant’s attached Bel Café. Best food tip: Always prep as much as you possibly in the days leading up to an event or dinner. Save yourself the stress and do less the day of. Quick! 10 things you have in your kitchen right now: Cheese, charcuterie, dijon, Le Creuset’s new stainless steel pans, butternut squash soup, veggies (radish, carrots, celery, broccoli crown), herbs (bay leaves and oregano from our home garden), halibut, tuna, and venison.

By: Elaine Song Source: Hawksworth Restaurant Credits: Style at Home
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Chef profile: David Hawksworth