Renowned chef, mentor and culinary champion, Alex Chen wears many hats in the Canadian culinary industry.
He achieved a top-ten finish at the 2013 Bocuse d’Or, won the national Canadian Culinary Championships title in 2018, and Vancouver Magazine’s 2018 Chef of the Year award. And when he's not competing, you can find him leading the the kitchen team at Vancouver’s acclaimed Boulevard Kitchen & Oyster Bar, a position he's held since its opening in 2014.
This week, you can catch Chen in competition mode as he battles one of the Canadian Iron Chefs in an episode of the inaugural season of The Food Network Canada’s Iron Chef Canada.
If you have a day in Vancouver, check out his dining suggestions.
One of the best spots to grab a quick pastry, sandwich or slice of quiche first thing in the morning is Railtown Cafe. They have four locations across the city and a fantastic selection of fresh, made-from-scratch comfort food and locally-roasted coffee. It's a great way to start the day off on the right foot.
One of my go-to spots for lunch and a family favourite for my wife and our kids is HK B.B.Q. Master in Richmond. The chef and founder, Erik Leung, is indeed a true master, and a pioneer. It’s tucked away and can be hard to find, but it’s a gem. Do not miss out on the barbecue duck, char siu or the soy sauce chicken. It’s affordable, consistent and one of the best Cantonese BBQ spots, not just in Canada, but in North America, in my opinion.
I love taking my kids to one of Snowy Village Dessert Cafe’s four locations throughout Vancouver for a mango shaved ice with fresh fruit. It’s one of their favourite treats and I get to enjoy some quality time with them—and get them to put down their iPads for a little while.
While I have a deep appreciation for chef Angus An’s focus on local, fresh ingredients at Maenam and chef Michel Jacob’s traditional French fare at Le Crocodile, I have to say that my consistently favourite place for dinner is my own backyard. For me, there is nothing better than spending the whole day preparing a huge BBQ feast and then taking the time to enjoy it with my family, friends and fellow chefs. Enjoying good food with good people—that’s what it’s all about.