Head chef at Maenam, a stylish Michelin-starred Thai restaurant in downtown Vancouver, the celebrated Angus An finds time to talk to us about his food and findings in the city – and why Vancouver is so unique.
How does Vancouver inspire you when it comes to your cooking? How do you mix Thai and Canadian food together?
We are home to a variety of unusual and beautiful ingredients that compliment Thai cooking. From wild mushrooms to incredible seafood, and local farms that produce excellent products year-round, there is no shortage of inspiration. As often as we can, we like to incorporate these local gems into our recipes and showcase British Columbia’s pristine ingredients in an authentic Thai context.
Who is your favourite local Vancouver chef and why?
My favourite local chef has got to be John Bishop. Growing up in Vancouver I have watched him single-handedly change the way we eat and the way we view organic produce and farm-to-table eating. I marvel at the level of success he’s had. He really is a father figure to all of us (and even still, he’s so humble and personable).
What is the most unique thing someone can do in Vancouver?
In Vancouver, we are able to golf and ski in the same day. One can go for a round of golf in Vancouver in the morning and drive 30 minutes for some afternoon/night skiing and with three different mountains to choose from. Where else can you find that?
What food should ‘non Vancouver’ visitors try? What taste do you think sums up Vancouver?
Dim sum at Sea Harbour and dinner at Vij’s, La Quercia, Maenam, Bao Bei, and Kingyo are all musts. From some of the best dim sum in the world, to a great selection of modern ethnic cuisines done incredibly well to izakayas, this is what the Vancouver dining scene is all about.
Where, in your opinion, is the best market to buy fresh produce in Vancouver and why?
I enjoy going to the Granville Island Public Market; they have a great selection of quality produce. I also really enjoy our farmers markets on Saturdays. It’s nice to get to meet the farmers and choose fresh vegetables from their gardens. I have travelled to a lot of different cities and visited their farmers markets and I believe we have some of the best in North America (we even have a winter market now!).
Virgin Atlantic operate seasonal flights to Vancouver from London Heathrow, with our summer service starting on 14th May 2013.