VICTORIA — Fairmont Empress has welcomed four new culinary-leadership members to serve its award-winning food-and-beverage outlets, including Q Restaurant, Q Bar and the hotel’s pastry division.
Helmed by executive chef Morgan Wilson, the hotel’s culinary operation comprises more than 80 culinary professionals across its restaurants, bars and banquet venues and pastry kitchen, producing hyper-local and seasonal menus reflective of ingredients grown, harvested and found throughout Vancouver Island. The team welcomes Steven Fernandes as executive sous chef; Tyler Paquette as the Q at the Empress restaurant chef; Lucas Gurther as sous chef; and Gerald Tan as executive pastry chef.
Under the leadership of chef Wilson, Fernandes will oversee in-room dining, banquets, Q Restaurant, Q Bar and the ongoing development of the hotel’s afternoon tea. Fernandes has been a part of the Fairmont brand for the past 11 years, most recently serving as the executive sous chef at Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge.
Paquette will lead the culinary team and oversee the menu development of both Q Restaurant and Q Bar. Prior to his role at Fairmont Empress, Paquette held the role of sous chef at Langdon Hall in Cambridge, Ont., where he managed a culinary brigade that saw the restaurant rise to one of the top restaurants on the coveted Canada’s 100 Best list.
Gurther began his career with an apprenticeship in 2008 and found himself at the Relais & Châteaux luxury Sonora Resort where he moved up the ranks from junior sous chef to executive chef and finally, as the resort’s Culinary and Beverage director, becoming the youngest executive chef in the Relais & Châteaux portfolio at the age of 27. He also spent time at Nimmo Bay Wilderness Resort.
Tan will oversee the preparation of desserts and pastries throughout the hotel, including an integral role in the execution of the hotel’s afternoon tea. Hailing from the Philippines, Tan studied Culinary Arts at De La Salle University. He eventually moved to Canada in 2009 where he started working as a first cook at the Hyatt Regency Calgary. He continued his work and most recently held the role of executive pastry chef at St. Regis Hotel in Toronto.
“We’re infusing our culinary team with fresh inspiration as we mark our 115th anniversary,” says Wilson. “We’re always seeking to innovate our programming and menus, and we’re very excited to bring together a group of talented and experienced experts to further enhance our vision. They complement our existing talent, each with their own style and passion for the culinary arts. We cannot wait for our guests to come and try some of our new offerings such as Sunset Sips, a new evening cocktail and culinary experience.”