It takes a lot to stand out among the culinary giants on the Wall of Chefs judging panel, but as one of the country’s most prolific culinary competitors to step onto a Food Network Canada stage, Vancouver-based chef Alex Chen has certainly managed to do so.
After leading Team Canada to a Top 10 finish at the 2013 Bocuse d’Or in Lyon France, chef Chen went on to claim the top spot at the 2015 and 2017 editions of the annual Gold Medal Plates regional championships, as well as the gold medal at the national 2018 Canadian Culinary Championships.
Additionally, like many of his acclaimed co-judges, chef Chen has earned more than a few accolades throughout his career. In addition to taking the title of Chef of the Year at both the Vancouver Magazine Awards and the Foodservice and Hospitality Pinnacle Awards in 2019, the Sutton Signature Restaurants executive chef also helped lead Boulevard Kitchen and Oyster Bar to a position on Canada’s 100 Best Restaurants list in 2020.
With Season 2 of Wall of Chefs now in full swing, we thought it would be a great time to catch up with chef Chen to chat about his favourite food and drink spots in the city he calls home.
Banh Mi Saigon. They have the best banh mi in the city and the delicately baked baguette, freshly-made multiple times a day, has a superb crunchy texture. Their fresh ingredients are made in house and they have very reasonably priced sandwiches.
Service is always friendly, and the lineup is usually long at peak hours of the day. They sell banh mi by the thousands a day… enough said! I always order #1, no jalapeño and less sweet iced coffee.
[Tetsu Sushi Bar is] By far one of the highest-skilled sushi restaurants in the city (and we have a lot of good sushi restaurants). They have a proud traditional Japanese approach that is ingredient driven, and they have the most beautiful sushi in Vancouver.
The space is very small with limited patrons every night and is located in downtown Vancouver. I love to grab a seat by the sushi bar and let the chef do his thing and educate my palate with his aged fish.
Watch: Meet "The Wall"| Wall of Chefs
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