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Alison LaFrance | Queen of Cakes

  TRAINING: In high school I used to decorate cakes, and the artistic bug bit me. I ended up going to university for a Bachelor of Commerce, but something about sitting behind a computer all day wasn’t for me and something was missing. I then went back to school in 2004 – SAIT’s baking and
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Ryan Urig | Island Flair

Chef Ryan Urig, began his career at Le Cordon Bleu Scottsdale and is currently at the Ritz- Carlton, Kapalua. The Banyan Tree Maui serves seasonal worldly fare at this Signature Ritz- Carlton, Kapalua restaurant. Featuring an outdoor bar, lounge and covered terrace, the restaurant overlooks the Pailolo Channel (whales are spotted during their migrating season).
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DeeAnn Tsurumaki | Island Chef

Dee Ann Tsurumaki, the executive chef, is a recent addition to Hotel Hana-Maui. Having previously worked at The Peninsula Hotel’s Felix restaurant in Hong Kong, and in the kitchens of Switzerland, “I really just wanted to come back home,” she confides. Growing up on Oahu, Tsurumaki remembers “fishing on the south shore and grilling the
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Chris Picek | From Inuvik To Calgary

In 1998, Picek graduated with a red seal from SAIT’s culinary arts program, eagerly clamouring for the opportunity to flex his skills in the real world. “This is an industry that is very much about on the job training,” he concludes. The chef worked at the Rimrock and Wedgewood hotels in Canada before spending time
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Mark Ellman | Local Island Flavour

  Owner [of Mala Ocean Tavern] Mark Ellman has created a jovial seaside restaurant. Describing his food as “just off the beaten path,” Ellman delights in “the pleasure of the customers. I love the industry and its characters.” Lisa Chappel, general manager at the restaurant, who has worked with Ellman for twenty years, tells me,
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David O’connor | All About An Experience

Raised in England where he was also trained, Chef David O’Connor polished his skills at the Savoy in London, a Michelin star restaurant near London, and the Hauptbahnhof, the largest train station in Switzerland renown for gourmet dining. Adept in food art, he won gold in the Salon Culinaire competition. Eventually O’Connor made his way
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Micheal Laird | Canadiana Master

Artwork injects a subtle presence into the food at Creations in Edmonton. Most of the artwork depicts landscapes, and the natural world, something that appeals to Executive Chef Micheal Laird (yes this is how he spells his name), “I love the way First Nations culture is about respecting the environment and nature.” At Creations, Sawridge put
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Daniel VĂ©zina | The Star Chef

At his Quebec City restaurant Laurie Raphaël named after his two children (he has another restaurant of the same name in Montréal) Daniel Vézina assumes various roles – chef; owner; teacher. For a chef who has achieved star status in Québec, with cooking shows, books and restaurants, I expect that Vézina had long ago left
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Justin Leboe | Risk Taker

Growing up in Vancouver, food was an important part of the Leboe household, whether picking chanterelles in winter on Vancouver Island, collecting beach oysters or crabbing with cousins. For ten years, the chef worked in some of the top kitchens in North America (The French Laundry, Daniel, Jean-Georges). Sensing that the best way to advance his
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Hugo Ortega | Mexican King

Originally from Mexico, Chef Hugo Ortega immigrated to the United States working as a night janitor and dishwasher in restaurants, gradually becoming a line cook in Houston in 1990. “I worked on my English skills and was able to graduate from Houston Community College Culinary Program and I became a working chef at Backstreet Café
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