Chef of the Year
May 1, 2011
A meal at Chambar is unpredictable in the most delightful way. The Euro-Vancouver cooking, with its North African influence, is “a welcome change from the relentlessly local focus of so many rooms.” That’s not to say that consistency isn’t a hallmark of the Beatty Street restaurant—our Chef of the Year Nico Schuermans, 34, has been turning out “classic” Chambar dishes, like moules Congolaise with tomato coconut cream, since the room opened in 2004. But his marrying of farm-fresh proteins to warm-clime flavours, like smoked paprika and sumac, allows for endlessly creative dishes to emerge from his kitchen. The opening of Chambar five years ago was meticulously documented in our pages: “They seemingly have all the components for success: ambition, energy, native charm, street smarts, pedigree and experience that defies their youth.” Five years on, the burgeoning empire on Beatty Street includes packed-to-the-rafters Chambar, neighbouring Café Medina (see Best Breakfast), and the runaway-success that is the Dirty Apron cooking school and deli (serving the best sandwiches in the city). Our judges noted that Schuermans “gets half the credit he deserves; he’s got great vision, and is a great talent.” Credit paid where credit due.