Our Chefs

 

tasteofegypt2bwEhab Radwan
Co-Owner and Head Chef at Taste of Egypt

Ehab has been in Canada for 6 years and has been cooking ever since. Ehab has two degrees; Arts and Education, specializing in teaching Arabic. He is a self taught chef with a passion for cooking and a keen sense for presenting delicious and full-flavour dishes. Saint John is very lucky to have this infusion of Mediterranean influenced delicacies, a wonderful addition to our palate!

What did you have for dinner last night?
Mouloukhia, which is an Egyptian dish that has been around since the time of the Pharoahs. It is one of our most popular dishes in Egypt today. It is a broth that is made from jute leaves with chicken, which is eaten with rice. It is one of our new menu items at Taste Of Egypt.

Is there a favourite ingredient that you like to work with?
I love working with fresh coriander and cumin. These spices are commonly used in Mediterranean cuisine and have so much flavor.

What do you do for fun?
I love playing soccer. I have played since I was able to walk. I usually play forward and don’t have a dominant foot, so I play equally with both feet.

What do you love most about your job?
I love culinary arts because it is exactly that, an art. It has unlimited possibilities so it is a profession that you can never get bored doing.

What did you want to be when you were growing up?
For as long as I can remember, I wanted to be a successful business man. I knew that I wanted to be a chef five years ago while working in another kitchen in Saint John.


 

thandi2bwKen Singh
Chef and Co-owner at Thandi

Ken and his wife Holly are the owners of Thandi Restaurant on Canterbury Street (in their 10th year!) Ken has been cooking since he was 18 years old…Italian, Chinese, Cruise Ship, in Greece, Washington DC, and Toronto. Ken arrived in Saint John in 1980 and was the opening cook at Grannan’s, Pier One and the Original House of Chan.

 

What did you have for dinner last night?
BBQ Ribs

Where do you like to eat on your days off?
I’m usually not off….but, if I am, at home.

What is your favourite ingredient to work with?
Protein

If you won $10,000, how would you spend it?
I would buy a smoker or really big BBQ!

What is your favorite charity event that you are involved with?
Anything with children, to make their lives a bit brighter.

What did you want to be when you were growing up?
I wanted to be a cowboy, but knew at 18 that i was going to be a chef.

What is your most embarrassing cooking moment?
Running out of food on a buffet.

Are there any foods that you don’t like?
None, that is the problem!

What do you like to eat when you are home?
Steak, potatoes grilled, anything BBQ

What is your favourite ‘junk’ food?
Cheese, crackers, nuts and beer.

What do you do for fun?
Mow the lawn, golf, watch westerns.

What do you love most about your job?
The people, the thrill of a busy day…the rush.


portcityroyal1bwJakob Lutes
Chef and Owner of Port City Royal

Born and raised in Fredericton, NB, Jakob was fascinated at a young age by food, flavours and the hospitality found within the home kitchen. Jakob was educated at the Culinary Institute of Canada before working on Springwillow Farm in PEI, Treadwell Farm to Table Cuisine in Niagara and Atelier in Ottawa. Inspired by his love of New Brunswick, he is drawn to its complex culinary history and our place within it.

What did you have for dinner last night?
Cold Spaghetti Bolognese

Where do you like to eat on your days off?
Asia’s Best Cuisine, 24 Coburg Street

What is your favourite ingredient to work with?
Water

Are there any foods you don’t like?
Fiddleheads

What do you like to eat when you are home?
Instant Ramen with an egg and cheese slice

What do you do for fun?
I like to go for long walks with Tricia and Bean.

What do you love most about your job?
The customers.

What is your ‘last supper,’ or ‘death row’ meal?
Beef tartare with a Pinot Noir from Burgundy


sjah1bwJesse Vergen
Chef at the Saint John Ale House

Jesse has been a chef at the Saint John Ale House for 10 years, but that is only the beginning. He also holds the following distinctions:
The Fan Fav on Top Chef Canada, Season 4
Showcased on Food Network’s ‘You Got to Eat Here’ ..twice.
Atlantic Chef of the year in ‘Restaurants Canada’ 2014
Featured in Vacay.ca – Top 50 Restaurants in Canada
Featured in ‘Where to eat in Canada’ for the past 3 years
Chef of the Year 2015 in Progress Magazine
Top 10 Best BBQ Restaurants in Canada for Smoking Pig BBQ
Featured in ’10 Chefs to know’ in Canadian Living Magazine
Team Leader for Gold winning Culinary Team, New Brunswick

What did you have for dinner last night?
Ribs, pickles, and cabbage.

Where do you like to eat on your days off?
Duck Blind

What is your favourite ingredient to work with?
I love working with anything that is produced in NB!

If you won $10,000, how would you spend it?
I would take my family on an eating vacation to Spain!

Favorite charity event that you do?
The Village Feast in PEI…feeding over 1000 people outdoors a four-course meal.

What did you want to be when you were growing up?
I wanted to be a farmer. I knew I wanted to be a chef in high school.

Are there any foods you don’t like?
Green peppers…they are unripe and unfit to consume πŸ™‚

What do you like to eat when you are home?
Ramen Noodles

What is your favourite ‘junk’ food?
Cookies and potato chips

What do you do for fun?
Hunting and fishing

What do you love most about your job?
Seeing our awesome team members grow and learn.

What is your ‘last supper,’ or ‘death row’ meal?
My weight in high grade Sashimi.


en1bwEnchan Endo
Chef at EN Sushi

What did you have for dinner last night?
Turkey dinner from Nana

Where do you like to eat on your days off?
At home with home cooking.

What is your favourite ingredient to work with?
Rice!!

What do you do for fun?
Drawing, dancing and playing soccer with my daughter.

What do you love most about your job?
Seeing people and serving them food.

What is your ‘last supper,’ or ‘death row’ meal?
Oyster & spinach quiche or Yakiniku (Korean BBQ)


happinez1bwcloserPeter Smit
Owner of happinez wine bar

happinez wine bar has been open for 10 years to date.

Peter has worked for 40 years in the hospitality industry (in France in a resort on the Cote d’Azur, and in the French Alps – Avoriaz, a winter sport resort), then with Hilton International in Amsterdam, Vancouver, Saint John and Chicago. Then Peter continued as a teacher at the NBCC Hospitality program in St. Andrews, NB and then became an entrepeneur at happinez wine bar in Saint John. Peter was the Director of Food and Beverage at the Hilton in Saint john and at the Drake Hotel in Chicago.

What is your favourite charity event that you are involved with?
The Red Cross Wine Fair, but there are many more…

What do you do for fun?
I love to travel, often to Europe…explore the countries, people, history, architecture, and food and beverages, of course πŸ™‚

What do you like to eat when you are home?
Paella

Where do you like to eat on your days off?
Well, there are so many good establishments in uptown Saint John at the moment. Our favorite is East Coast Bistro. We also love the Urban Deli, but there are many more…

Are there any foods that you don’t like?
Fast Food

What do you like most about your job?
Meeting many wonderful people and always trying to make it a great experience for them with our team.


urbandeli1bwLaurie Gillispie
Day Cook at Urban Deli

What did you have for dinner last night?
Buffalo Chicken Salad

What is your favourite ingredient to work with?
Garlic

What did you want to be when you were growing up?
I wanted to be an artist. I knew that I wanted to be a chef when I was 13 and cooked for my family.

Are there any foods you don’t like?
Mushrooms

What is your favourite ‘junk’ food?
Ice Cream

What do you do for fun?
Paint, read, hike.

What do you love most about your job?
The creativity.

What is your ‘last supper,’ or ‘death row’ meal?
Chicken Caesar Salad


MIx1bwRoland Miller
Red Seal Chef for 30 years at MIX Resto|Bar

If you won $10,000, how would you spend it.
On bills.

What did you want to be when you were growing up?
I have always wanted to be a chef.

Most embarrassing cooking moment?
At a banquet for 400 people, I only made salad for 300.

What do you like to eat when you are home?
Meat and potatoes

What is your favourite ‘junk’ food?
Candy

What do you do for fun?
Play pool.


 

bigtide2bwMark McCluskey
Chef at Big Tide Brewing Company

Mark McCluskey is the head chef at Big Tide Brewing Company. Mark has worked there for one and a half years, and just recently took on the management position.

Where do you like to eat on your days off?
When not at work, I enjoy cooking big meals for my family. When we go out, we enjoy eating at the various restaurants located in the uptown area. As a child, I did not know that I would be a chef, I didn’t know what I wanted to be, I just knew I wanted to travel; working as a chef has allowed me to do so. I have cooked all across the country and even worked in South America for a couple of months!

Are there any foods you don’t like?
There aren’t too many foods I don’t like, and I’ve tried a lot of unusual foods. The only things I can think of that I don’t like are olives and raw oysters (mostly the texture I don’t like). I would like to stay that I don’t eat a lot of junk food but I have a weak spot for chips and chocolate.

What do you like to do for fun?
During my spare time, I enjoy being outdoors; hunting, fishing, boating, 4-wheeling, even just going for a walk in the woods or the beach. I also spend a lot of time in my wood working shop at home.

What would be your ‘last supper,’ or ‘death row’ meal?
If I were to order my last meal, it would take a crew of people working all night to get it ready because I wouldn’t be able to choose my favourite food, I’d want all of it!!

 


decimal811bwBrad Richard
Chef and Owner at Decimal81

Brad is a graduate of Holland College, PEI, and spent several years at the renowned Inn at Bay Fortune (noteworthy for having Chef Michael Smith & Chef Gordon Bailey). He ran the kitchen at the Inn at Saint Peters as executive chef and was instrumental in achieving a four star rating for the Inn.

Chef Brad returned home to Saint John where he achieved his Red Seal. Decimal81 has been open for about 5 years, to date.

What did you have for dinner last night?
For a staff meal, we made a meat pizza on whole wheat crust with white cheddar. We used some of our applewood smoked pork belly scraps and beef scraps ground. It was ‘right’ tasty! I couldn’t wait to have a bite so I now have pizza palate (burnt the roof of my mouth).

Where do you like to eat on your days off?
That’s a tough one. There are so many places uptown that are good and a lot that I have yet to try. I guess I get to a couple of the vendors in the market, usually for a late lunch here and there, but ultimately I don’t get to enjoy a meal out as often as I should. I need to change that about myself, or rather my schedule.

What is your favourite ingredient to work with?
Butter and/or Salt! I’ve said it before and i’ll say it again πŸ™‚

If you won $10,000, how would you spend it?
I would buy some more kitchen equipment, or maybe new tables for the dining room, or maybe reno the courtyard, or maybe a vacation. Yeah…probably a vacation…

What is your favourite ‘junk’ food?
Taco Bell fries supreme!! πŸ™‚

What do you do for fun?
Destiny: The Taken King for the Sony PS4. Tuesday morning weekly reset for the weekly nightfall rewards. ..That’ll be the most nerdiest quote/answer of this Chop Chop!

 


eastcoastbistro1bwKim and Tim Muehlbauer
Chefs and Owners at East Coast Bistro

Chef Tim and Kim are the husband and wife co-chefs/co-owners of East Coast Bistro, which has been in operation for three years. Both Tim and Kim have trained across Canada and Europe.

What did you have for dinner last night?
(Kim) I usually don’t get much time for my own dinner, but last night I probably had the bottom of an order of fries with the grease from cooking a burger poured overtop. I’m not proud.

Where do you like to eat on your days off?
(Kim) You will find us hitting the late night pitcher of beer scene at Church Street or the Saint John Ale House.

What is your favourite ingredient to work with?
(Tim) Butter! A simple product of great quality can be very exciting. There is no limit to what you can do with something like exceptionally great butter.

If you won $10,000, how would you spend it?
(Kim) I would satisfy my Hungerlust and travel to a great city and eat my way around. Maybe Paris, or Hong Kong…

Favourite charity event that you do?
(Tim) I’m a big fan of the Fundy Food Festival. It’s always a great crowd and the auction can be very exciting!

What did you want to be when you were growing up?
(Kim) I remember watching old Julia Child cooking shows on PBS from a very young age and always wanted to cook for people like she did. Growing up with my Grandmother and cooking with her all the time only reinforced those early feelings of excitement.

Most embarrassing cooking moment?
(Tim) While delivering an entire rolling rack of new potatoes that were cooked for a banquet of 300 people, I may or may not have got the wheel caught on the carpet, stumbled into the rack itself, tipped it over, and fell on top of it.

Are there any foods you don’t like?
(Tim) Turnip!! Never have liked it, and I was ruined forever while living in England…all that overcooked turnip… *trails off* *shudders*

What do you like to eat when you are home?
(Tim & Kim) Sundays at our house are filled with pancakes and easy platters of whatever meats, cheeses, fruit, crackers happen to be kicking around. And Bistro leftovers, of course πŸ˜‰

What is your favourite ‘junk’ food?
(Tim) Vachon Cakes…particularly Billot Logs.

What do you like to do for fun?
(Tim & Kim) We spend a lot of time with our two boys (and dog!) at the beaches of the west side, baking, and just hanging out as a family.

What do you love most about your job?
(Tim & Kim) The process of locating and acquiring, processing, and creating with as many local products as we can. The constant hunt for what is fresh/seasonal keeps us on our toes! As well, teaching our staff and moving forward together is a very rewarding experience.

What is your ‘last supper,’ or ‘death row’ meal?
(Kim) Vanilla Cake with Vanilla Buttercream. One entire cake.


lemongrass2bwPhilip Croft
Chef and Owner at Lemongrass Thai Fare/Peppers Pub

Lemongrass has been open for 11 years to date.

What did you have for dinner last night?
A Negroni

Where do you like to eat on your days off?
My parents house.

What is your favourite ingredient to work with?
Fish sauce, chilies, and lamb…in no particular order

What did you want to be when you were growing up?
I wanted to be a postman in a warm climate.

Are there any foods you don’t like?
Apples! I despise them.

What is your favourite ‘junk’ food?
Pork Cracklings

What would be your ‘last supper’ or ‘death row’ meal?
Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup (Pho)

 


Sankara Cuisine Team Co-Founders

Who is Sankara Cuisine? What do you do?
We are an online international food platform. We sell authentic cultural foods as prepared by our diverse cooks and deliver for free Uptown.
What should we expect at your Chop Chop Week Pop-Up at Five & Dime?
Chop Chop at Five & Dime will be a unique experience with 3 different cooks each hosting an evening with a 3 course meal, cultural music and special drinks. Take for example Chinese Night where guests will enjoy authentic Chinese food, Rice Wine and a mix of traditional and contemporary Chinese music! During Chop Chop you can enjoy food at your favourite Uptown record bar!
What did you have for dinner last night?
Abdul’s Syrian Hummus with veggies, oven roasted Jerk Chicken leftovers.
What is your favourite ingredient to work with?
Peanuts – blended, whole, chopped, homemade peanut butter.
What do you do for fun?
Talk with people from other backgrounds than mine, dance and cook, catch up with family on the other side of the world, code, learn new skills.
What do you love most about your job?
Giving international cooks a platform to showcase their cultural cuisine and gain confidence in their food by exposing it to Saint John through events like Chop Chop and receiving orders on our website.
What is your β€˜last supper,’ or β€˜death row’ meal?
Fresh Cameroonian Suya – a beef/pork specialty cooked on street corners in Cameroon and served with dry spices for dipping!

tacopicabwFernando Bregel
Chef at Taco Pica

Fernando has worked at Taco Pica since they opened in 1994. Taco Pica is the first Worker Cooperative in Saint John – all members/workers are owners. Taco Pica also was give the 2015 Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence; was featured in the Food Network ”Gotta Eat Here,’ summer of 2014; and have been featured in the ‘Where to eat in Canada’ tourist guide since 1995.

What did you have for dinner last night?
Last night I had Beef Pepian over a bed of rice with hot peppers on top!

Where do you like to eat on your days off?
My wife likes to give me a break on the weekends and she cooks for family and friends. My favourite uptown restaurant is Ta-ke Sushi.

What is your favourite ingredient to work with?
My favourite ingredient to work with is the habanero, ha!

If you won $10,000, how would you spend it?
Everybody knows I have a hobby or two outside of work, so it will help me finish a couple of projects.

What is your favourite charity event?
I like to support two organizations; Multiple Sclerosis and AIDS Saint John.

What did you want to be when you were growing up?
I was an architect back in Guatemala. Our lives changed as soon as we arrived in Canada in 1991. My wife was just learning how to cook and I kind of had to take over in order to survive the long winter, which by the way, was our first…very similar to the one we just had. My grandfather was a Chef and my mother was a great cook, so I can say cooking is in my genes; cooking Paella on the weekends was quite an event!

What was your most embarrassing cooking moment?
My most embarrassing cooking moment was a day I was ready to make breakfast, the phone rang and the next thing I knew…the fire fighters were in the kitchen staring at a smoky pan! ..yikes!

Are there any foods that you don’t like?
I hate broccoli. …Don’t tell my granddaughter.

What do you eat when you are home?
I like to eat BBQ pork steaks with rice, beans, guacamole, salsa and tortillas.

What is your favourite ‘junk’ food?
My favourite junk food is the ‘whopper!’

What do you do for fun?
I like to paint during the winter time, and in the summer I work on my cars.

What do you love most about your job?
To see a plate cleaned by the customer, is what makes me most satisfied.

What is your ‘last supper,’ or ‘death row’ meal?
If it is my last wish, let me have a couple of tamales please!

Watch for the menus that these talents have been perfecting to be posted on Monday, October 26th.

(just to make you drool for a week be fore we can indulge every day during Chop Chop, November 2-8!)

Chop Chop Saint John