Chef Weimar Gomez turns a new leaf at YEW with an inspired autumn menu highlighting the flavours of the season
If there was ever any doubt that Vancouver has become a major culinary draw for passionate food lovers from across the globe, all you need do is look inside the city’s kitchens, where global culinary influences and influencers are playing a key role in keeping the city’s dining scene fresh and focused.
Take, for example, YEW Executive Chef Weimar Gomez, a 16-year Four Seasons veteran, who developed his talent in prestigious kitchens in Bogota, Miami, Paris and Shanghai. The Colombian native started honing his diverse culinary skills at the ripe age of 17, when he studied at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, followed by a stint at the three Michelin-star Guy Savoy. He then enjoyed 11 years in a range of roles spanning Chef de Partie to Executive Sous Chef at Four Seasons Hotel George V, Paris where he played a role in the success of Le Cinq, one of Paris’ most beloved three-Michelin star dining experiences.
Chef Weimar arrived at Four Seasons Hotel Vancouver from his most recent post as Executive Chef at Four Seasons Hotel Pudong, Shanghai where he led a brigade of 60 cooks, overseeing on and off-site catering, in-room dining, and two restaurants – Shàng-Xí, an exclusive, high-end Chinese restaurant, and Camelia, an authentic Italian dining room. “Chef Weimar’s ability to delight diverse groups of sophisticated, multi-cultural guests with a variety of food styles, service and setups make him an ideal fit for Four Seasons Hotel Vancouver,” says General Manager Martin Sinclair.
A passion for cooking
I didn’t do much cooking for my family but spent a lot of time hanging around the kitchen at home with my mother and grandmother, watching them cook. After finishing high school I spent my holidays working in a kitchen to earn some spending money. I spent the following year studying architecture at university but soon realized that the kitchen was my true calling. After two years working as a part-time cook while finishing high school, then running from university to my full job as a cook, I discovered a passion for this profession. I also had the support of a couple of chefs who believed that I could do it well.
Cooking is a real passion. People who know me well say that my face changes completely when I’m cooking. That passion has followed me everywhere, and created an open-mindedness to discover and learn from all the different places I’ve been.
On coming up with his first menu at YEW
Living in three different continents has heavily influenced my cooking skills, however my first menu at YEW was largely based on a region I really appreciate and enjoy: the Mediterranean. This style dovetails perfectly with the seafood and produce that is so readily available here in Vancouver. In many countries today, you can find anything from the other side of the world. This makes it even more exciting to keep a local focus and work with the seasonal products that are within reach. That invites variety and the opportunity to play with our menus very often.
On Vancouver’s dining scene
As a cook I love to eat, trying different restaurants and concepts. Vancouver offers a huge variety of food experiences, most of them very casual but with very good quality. I see potential for the culinary scene to expand even further. My favourite so far is AnnaLena, I’ve been a couple of times already and have been really impressed. I enjoy going for drinks with my YEW team after a hectic service, and Cactus Club is a crowd favourite.
On creating dishes while out of the kitchen
The time that I spend at home is limited and I love relaxing with my family. If I’m not at work, I’m running, cycling or swimming. While I’m training for various races (marathons, triathlons, etc.) I’m often still working in my head – it can be the best time to think about a new dish without any interruptions. I prefer to introduce my dishes when they are mostly finished. I believe that it is better to use the feedback after, to enhance your dish, rather than get lost at the beginning with too much advice.
On introducing the flavours of South America at YEW
Some ingredients I use are Coriander, a very popular herb used in South America. I use it fresh and dehydrated and mix it with green lemon. Yuca is another one, which is served with one of the beef dishes. [In the summer menu] our Lobster Fricasee uses Coconut milk which is a very popular ingredient in Colombia given its proximity to two oceans.
RECIPE: SKULL CRUSHER
1.5 oz Cinnamon Infused Mezcal
1.0 oz Smoked Pineapple Cordial
0.75 oz Simple Syrup
0.75 oz Pressed Lemon
3 dashes Angostura Bitters
1 Egg White
- Combine all ingredients in a shaker and shake vigorously for 7-10 seconds.
- Add ice and shake.
- Fine strain into a chilled coupe glass.
- Garnish with the skull paper rice print.