At Green Artichoke, we explore the diverse ecosystems of the Pacific Northwest. This land boasts some of the richest soil, most biodiverse forests and marine environments on the Planet. Nourished by the minerals washed down the mountain slopes, by the cold currents and thick rainforests, this land is teaming with life. Add to this a rich cultural history, from the First Nations indigenous to this land, to the current cultural melting pot, we have a recipe for a truly unique and exiting food culture.
Green Artichoke Philosophy
Much of my life has been spent exploring the natural world or cooking. Over the time, the interconnectivity of all life on this planet has become increasingly apparent. Food and flavour is our most intimate experiential connection to our environment. As a youth, I fell in love with gastronomy, with the seemingly endless combinations of flavour, texture and colour that could be produced using proper technique. As I grew and explored sustainable farming, I became increasingly aware that this was where the magic lay, not with the preparation of the cook, but with the soil. A healthy and happy farmland produces healthier and tastier produce. The flavours that are created here, from the soil, dwarf the culinary efforts of even the best chefs.
After a lengthy career as both a restaurant and private chef, my fascination with the natural world and our relationship with food grew exponentially. Throughout this time, I’d come to understand that to truly understand cuisine is to understand ingredients. How and where this produce is grown, foraged, or hunted tells it’s story to us through flavour. I came to the seemingly obvious conclusion: Amazing food is fueled primarily by conscious farmers and purveyors. Farmers who put their hearts and souls into allowing nature to create are the true culinary heroes. A chef’s duty is to assemble these ingredients, to accentuate and celebrate their inherent flavours.
One of our generations’ most influential names in gastronomy James Beard once said: “food is our common ground, a universal experience”. For me, this statement has always resonated particularly strong. Food is our primary and most intimate connection to our surroundings. It transcends cultural boundaries and allows us to connect universally. Even in instances where language or cultural differences appear to distance us, great food can bridge that gap.
Earlier this spring I announced we would be launching a series of 5-course pop-up dinners aimed at catering to our local Vancouver community. We’ve been delighted with the overwhelming response. From the very beginning of this project, we’ve focused on a simple but important goal: Bringing people together to share food grown, foraged and prepared locally with love. Since May 4th, over 150 Vancouverites have gathered at the long table at my home in Kits to share fine cuisine and laughs while connecting with others in the community. It has offered a place for us to share in meaningful conversation with those who we otherwise may have only exchanged pleasantries, or perhaps never spoken to at all. Watching these dinners evolve has truly been a beautiful thing to witness. Most guests having purchased a ticket with the sole intention of dining on great food, but leaving with a new friend or alternate perspective. It has truly been an amazing transformation to witness, and has grown beyond my expectations.
Often overlooked in our busy lives is the importance of connection with community and land. Coming together at the table has been instrumental in our evolution as social beings. It has been the foundation of our social tribal structure dating back to our primitive roots. From sharing hunted game huddled around the fire to our modern dinner table, we came together to share the fruits of our efforts or the hard work of our neighbors. The communal meal is a place of equality and connection where we all have a chance to celebrate the nourishment that the land provides us. And although it can be easy to lose touch and forget the hard work that puts food on our tables, our attraction to these rituals runs deep in our bones. Ultimately we all crave nourishment, from our neighbors, tribes and from nature.
As we break from the long table for a very busy summer season, We’re already looking forward to the next round coming early September. When late summer begins to bring forth new flavours and colours, we will once again be welcoming more of our human community to join us at the table.
Many thanks to all the friends, new and old who have joined us this season. Looking forward to our Fall reunion!
Born and raised in Ottawa, Ontario Chef Kyle Gerrard fell in love with food as a teenager on weekly dinner trips to Ottawa’s Little Italy with his father. After graduating from Le Cordon Bleu culinary school in 2008, he moved to Vancouver to immerse himself in this city’s fine dining scene. The journey began as an unpaid apprentice under former Michelin starred chefs at some of Vancouver’s finest venues including Lumiere, Le Crocodile and Araxi in Whistler. He accepted the first paid position at the 4 diamond, Relais and Chateaux venue Bacchus at the Wedgewood Hotel. For the following three years, the young cook progressed through the ranks at such famous venues as 1892 the private dining lounge at the Terminal City Club and the 4 diamond Fairview at Chateaux Lake Louise. In 2011, he accepted an offer to return to Ottawa to cook with a small team of accomplished chefs from around the country in the Prime Minister’s private dining quarters at the House of Commons.
After brief head chef stints at Ottawa’s Divino wine studio and Napo, our Chef realized that his heart remained in the catering world and working as a personal chef. He decided to incorporate a love for travel and cooking and set off to explore the world working as a private chef on chartered super yachts and villas. Chef Kyle continued to work as a personal chef in homes and Villas providing personalized private dining, catering to those keen on experiencing a unique take on local cuisine, wherever local may be. 40 countries and hundreds of satisfied clients later, he decided to return to Vancouver to share his food in the city where he fell in love with gastronomy. Sharing great food, sourcing sustainability, and building community.