Chef Stephen Duyzer, Executive Chef at the Fish House in Stanley Park.
Chef Steve, can you tell us a little about yourself?
I grew up on the West Coast and studied and played Jazz music, specifically the saxophone, in college. I worked in restaurants to pay for my tuition and it was at this time that I found my niche in the culinary world.
After post-secondary, I was hired at The Century Grill in Vancouver (voted Vancouver’s best restaurant in the last 40 years) and then moved on to the famous Joe Fortes Restaurant where I finished my apprenticeship.
From this start in the culinary world Chef Steve’s culinary work experience spanned the world! From the Fairmont Southampton Princess Hotel in Bermuda, to the prestigious Auberge de Pommier and CANOE restaurants in Toronto, to an Eco Lodge Hotel in the Golfo Dulce, Costa Rica, and back!
During one of his work periods with Joe Fortes, Chef Steve met and married his wife Joanna and had 2 young daughters. In returning to Canada Chef Steve was Regional Chef at The Boathouse Restaurants of Canada, until finding his now home at the Fish House Stanley Park.
Chef Steve’s travels and extensive knowledge of seafood, and in particular his love for and experience with local products means that the long tradition of award winning, fine dining at the Fish House will carry on.
Integrity – “Do what you know is right”
We proudly stand behind all we do and stay.
We are professionals who can be trusted.
What does Integrity mean to you?
Integrity to me is an integral part of a great team. Integrity is about considering the effect of your decision on the team. Integrity is doing the right thing when no one is watching. When you start considering the needs of others, in addition to your own, you are on the way to becoming a great team player. A group of co-workers who act with integrity become a team. Each member knows what to expect from the others, each knows that they can rely on the others; under any circumstances and at all times.
Why is the Integrity value so important to you?
I value integrity more than any other characteristic when I am considering hiring or promoting an associate. I often speak to my team about being consistent. I need to know that I can rely on them and know what to expect from them, and, I also believe that it is vital that they know what to expect from me and can rely on me. We have begun the process of becoming a great team because we value integrity and expect it from each and every one of our members, be they stewards, line cooks or chefs.
How does the Integrity value guide you in your day to day life?
Integrity guides me in my decision making process at work, however, where I witness it’s immediate impact and value is at home. Having two young children who look up to us as parents really emphasizes the importance of doing what is right even when it is difficult to do; you do it because you know it is integral to developing your child’s values.
Why do you think the Integrity value is important to an organization?
I see examples of integrity on a daily basis at work. It reminds me of it’s importance and it is a source of great pride and enthusiasm. It is as simple as turning the milk crates so that all of the expiry dates are facing out making it easy for everyone to rotate properly. It is the cardboard being broken down before being placed in the cardboard bin. It is the commitment that our associates make to separate food waste, paper waste and garbage when clearing the dining room. It is re-plating an entrée without being told to because it isn’t absolutely perfect.
Can you share an example of when you witnessed an associate exemplify Integrity?
On Saturday night, we had a very busy service. What allowed us to get through as brilliantly as we did was the trust that we have in each other. This trust was built on the team operating with integrity; we know that nobody will cut corners on their station set-up and that they will have enough product for the sales volumes. When it came to crunch time, everyone was confident in each other. The food was perfect. The timing was spot on. This is how exceptional a team can be when they collectively value integrity.
What was the first thing you learned how to cook?
After 5 years of working in a chain restaurant, I found that without a recipe book in front of me I hadn’t really learned how to cook. When I worked at the Century Grill I had the opportunity to “cook” something for the very first time! I had been running a kitchen that did nearly 7 million dollars in sales but it wasn’t until I worked with an 18 year old kid (who used to steal cars to pay his bills) that I learned how to cook something for the first time. It was mashed potatoes! It was certainly very humbling and I won’t forget it.
When asked to share a recipe with us Chef Steve was very happy to do it, and by enthusiastic recommendations from his wife Joanna, here it is!