East Coast born and raised, Executive Chef Geoffrey Caswell-Murphy began his journey into the culinary world 22 years ago at the Culinary Institute of Canada on Prince Edward Island. Geoffrey would continue his career working in exclusive hotel and restaurant kitchens; including the Prince George Hotel, Halifax and the Clair de Lune, Ottawa.
Throughout the years culinary professionals would foster and grow Geoffrey’s knowledge to what it is today, good food cooked great! Chef Geoffrey would then begin his ten year career with SilverBirch Hotels and Resorts. Beginning with the Crowne Plaza in Ottawa and returning home to the Citadel Halifax Hotel starting as Sous-Chef and ending as Executive Chef.
Geoffrey achieved his Chef de Cuisine status (CCC), which is the highest Professional Designation in Canada. Geoffrey shapes and carves the upcoming culinarians of his kitchen as well as educates his guests of the dining room. Geoffrey believes his key to success is staying active, open minded to learning and continuing to have fun.
Geoffrey balances his culinary career by enjoying time with his family. Geoffrey has been a dedicated husband for 12 years to his wonderful wife Cynthia and proud Daddy to his two girls Stella Grace (9) and Mary Isabella (6). He enjoys long walks on the trails with his American Staffordshire terrier “Pinky”. All types of music are enjoyed and is a self-taught guitar and banjo player, which is just for his family’s ears!
SBHR: What value is most important when you think about menu engineering?
GC: Many things come to mind but mostly what is selling really well stays and what is not selling is replaced by what our guest are asking for, which is not on the menu and or items that we are featuring on our nightly specials. Also adding seasonal changes and new ingredients and new partners. So, in a nutshell Engagement.
SBHR: In your role you are preparing for many different types of food experiences. What value do you keep top of mind when juggling these different experiences?
GC: The major value that I keep in mind is Quality, exceeding our guests are expectations. So we may be doing a Salute to Forno Oven Lunch, which is a special oven that we use, which creates a great story for us to tell our guest. So we cook everything in our Wood Stone oven not just the Pine View All Natural Chicken pizza, but the Cactus Lake Organic Beef Baked Pasta, Roasted vegetable salad, and rosemary focaccia bread.
SBHR: what do you “value” the most in your role?
GC: In my role as a leader doing it well with clearly defined goals and training at every corner is the first step. We ensure that the team does everything at the same level and does not work a station until they are “Certified”. So we talk, we show, we guide, we evaluate, we watch, and when it is 100% we say yes, you can now work this station. We have some hi tech equipment so we provided the same level of training for the equipment.
SBHR: Wild Sage Kitchen & Bar embodies the “Farm to Table Concept”, what value(s) was the driving force behind this concept?
GC: I am very passionate about the integrity of supporting the local growers in our region and working with those partners. We use and promote the local community and show case what we can do with these ingredients. We proudly stand behind what we say and do.
SBHR: Of all of our values, which one influences your day to day activities the most?
GC: Day to day I spend my time engaging the team and our guest. Talking about what we do, why we do it and always asking for feedback from the associates that do it to the guest that enjoys the food. Having the right people doing the right job is key to motivation and engaging.
SBHR: What is your favourite recipe to prepare?
GC: In the kitchen I continually float about in different stations, I like to be hands on and really don’t have a favorite recipe or speciality. Yesterday I made a new recipe dark chocolate and bailey’s layered crème brulee. Today I worked teaching a junior member our bolognaise recipe. Tomorrow I’ll make focaccia bread with the breakfast cook. My skills as a chef continually need to be honed like a knife at the right angle, I do something different every day to teach a skill, learn a skill and practice a skill.