Shop with a Chef: Dino Renaerts, Diva at the Met

March 2, 2008

Dino Renaerts has come a long way from his days as a teenager scooping ice cream at a long-gone Baskin-
Robbins at Cornwall and Cypress, where he rose to assistant manager. A native Vancouverite, he found himself drawn to the kitchen. Years of working alongside some of the city’s best chefs—at Le Gavroche, 900 West, and Bishop’s—taught him the importance of sourcing locally, a lesson he brings to his duties as executive chef of Diva at the Met. He calls Vancouver “one of the best cities in the world for fresh organic products and fresh seafood.” A certified sommelier, he says that he “always thinks wine first. For spring I think light, fresh rain; and seafood comes to mind. In the past I’ve added flavours with Thai or Caribbean influences because at this time of year it’s still a bit cold and I’m thinking about those warmer climates.” No matter the season, sablefish and lobster are staples on his menu; he buys them at Finest at Sea (4675 Arbutus St., 604-266-1904) and The Lobsterman (1807 Mast Tower Rd., 604-687-4531). He pops into Armando’s Finest Quality Meats (#149-1689 Johnston St., 604-685-0359) for his other proteins because, as he says, a dish is built from the protein up. In summer he’s a regular at Trout Lake Market, but his favorite year-round haunt for veggies is Granville Island Public Market, where he picks up dragon tongue beans and red curry squash for his seared ling cod dish.

Mini Review: Butter Bakery

Interior-designer-turned-baker Rosie Daykin realized a long-held dream last fall with the opening of Butter Baked Goods on Dunbar. Using basic ingredients, this family-run operation turns out some not-so-basic treats. Neighborhood reaction has been phenomenal; local favourites include the Dunbar—an oatmeal square with chocolate, pecans, coconut, and Mexican caramel in the middle—and the Peanut Butter Sandwich: two peanut butter cookies held together by peanut butter icing. Go early: both items sell out daily. The homemade marshmallows, also sumptuous, have been picked up by Whole Foods and Gourmet Warehouse. The pretty space has been occupied by a string of bakeries since 1923, which Daykin sees as a sign of “good baking karma.” This time around, it’s a winner. 4321 Dunbar Street, 604-221-4333. Butterbakedgoods.com

Hot Buy: Garlic Twist, $20

This contemporary take on the garlic press will quickly become any garlic lover’s favourite toy. It can crush, peel, and mince multiple cloves at once, without dirtying your hands. Because it doesn’t juice the garlic, it delivers full-flavour wallop. No wonder it has already snagged three industry awards. Bella Vita, Park Royal Village, Unit G5-825 Main St., West Vancouver, 604-922-1980

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