LIFESTYLE - INTERVIEW
Wednesday, May 1, 2019
Executive Chef Roy Flemming
LIFESTYLE - INTERVIEW
by Meryem Aksoy
With many local tastes, Vancouver is a city that has always managed to offer new experiences to its residents and visitors. One of the places where you can experience the delicacies of local ingredients is the Tuc Craft Kitchen, which opens its doors in 2013. Established by Executive Chef Roy Flemming and Colin Ross, Tuc Craft Kitchen serves rustic and farm-to-table dishes. And of course, the feast is complemented by wines, cocktails, and local craft beers. Since its first day, Tuc Craft Kitchen combines rustic and comfort cuisine with ingredients from local suppliers and offers its guests unique tastes in a warm atmosphere. I talked with Executive Chef Roy Flemming, Co-Owner of Tuc Craft Kitchen, about his career and the story and features of Tuc Craft Kitchen.
Roy, before talking about Tuc Craft Kitchen, I would like to learn more about you. How did your interest in cooking begin?
My interest in cooking really started at a young age, I was a bit of a "momma's boy" and watched my mother cook with love for years, I would help her and essentially be her Commis Chef whenever she would allow it. In my college years, I learned the art of stretching a few simple ingredients as far as I could on a limited budget. Just as I was graduating with a Bachelor's in Political Science at Concordia University in Montreal my then-girlfriend (now wife) felt that I had a knack for cooking and moving around a kitchen unlike most and recommended I look at a career in culinary arts. This sparked an interest in a way that led me in that different direction.
Executive Chef Roy Flemming
What inspired you to pursue a career in the kitchen? What do you like most about being a creative chef?
What inspired me was the opportunity to create food that could impact people's emotions. To see a smile, and be able to make someone 'feel' based on what they ate was and is quite gratifying.
Would you tell us about any milestones of your professional career?
There are a few with TUC being the culmination of years of learning. We are about to appear on Guy Fieri's Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives on May 10 something we are excited about.
Colin Ross and Roy Flemming, Owners of Tuc Craft Kitchen
How did you meet Colin Ross, what is your relationship dynamic like?
Colin and I met at a different restaurant group in the early 2000s where we worked together for a couple of years, we always chatted about potentially opening something together and finally in 2013 we made it happen.
Tuc Craft Kitchen
Could you tell us about Tuc Craft Kitchen and the overall concept?
Tuc Craft Kitchen prides itself on serving rustic, seasonal, farm-to-table dishes paired with a carefully curated list of New & Old World wines, inventive cocktails, and local craft beer. Reinforcing the notion that sharing good food, drinks, and conversation at the family table while surrounded by loved ones is one of life’s true pleasures, Tuc features a warm and convivial atmosphere and a rough-hewn décor that offers a nod to the saloon-and-sawmill heritage of the local neighbourhood.
When you started Tuc Craft Kitchen what unique offering did you want to bring to the Vancouver restaurant scene?
We really wanted to offer people in this city comfort food that they would remember, rustic approachable offerings that make you want to keep coming back. In a cozy but cool space that would remind folks of Gastown's rich and cherished history.
Tuc Craft Kitchen - Whirled Peas & Eggs
What is the importance of the local suppliers and ingredients for you?
There are many layers and in no particular order I'd say:
- The environmental impact is foremost and doing our bit to save our planet out as we strive to reduce the carbon footprint.
- The opportunity to support the local economy and local vendors who employ people right here.
- Having the opportunity to connect with the growers, farmers and producers of the ingredients give us confidence in what we are serving to our guests. Being able to give direct feedback to the food producer is key and moreover building a relationship that creates a kind of symbiosis has been very valuable to our restaurant.
Tuc Craft Kitchen Interior
How could you define the gastronomic diversity of Vancouver? Which aspects of this diversity does Tuc Craft Kitchen represent?
Very much like the Canadian mosaic, Vancouver has been and continues to be a hub of diverse cultures and it reflects in the food. Whether its seafood from the Pacific coastline, west coast wines, Salt Spring lamb, BC Hothouse and local berry and fruit farmers throughout the Fraser Valley/Okanagan there's a real abundance, one just has to look. With the combination of global cultural influence and great B.C. suppliers, the Tuc menu is a real melting pot of rustic, comfort cuisine that can be found in the kitchen of many simple villages and towns around the world.
Could you tell us about your menu concept?
Comfort, globally inspired, local ingredients where available.
How often do you change up your menu? What are you paying attention to while selecting new drinks and dishes for your new menu?
We change our menu seasonally to allow for the abundance of harvest and local ingredients in the market when they are at their peak quality wise. We try to pay attention to health, food and nutrition trends, opportunities to introduce new ingredients to the market, and ingredients that pack the biggest flavor for value.
Tuc Craft Kitchen - Chicken & Fries
Can you tell us about some of the most popular dishes/drinks on the menu?
Because we have a smaller menu this allows us to manage and control quality better so I'd say all of our dishes are popular...but if I had to pick.
Crispy Bacon & Egg
Pork Belly Crackling
Mussels & Sausage
Beef Al Forno
Blackened Hanger Steak
Pea Crusted Cod
and last but not least our Chicken & Waffles...or the Whirled Peas both seem to be a bit of a hit.
Tuc Craft Kitchen - Chicken & Waffles
How would you describe Vancouver in one sentence?
An oasis of food and cultures nestled in one of Canada's most fertile and scenic landscapes.
What do you think about the importance of social media for restaurants?
Social media is such a great tool allowing us to let our guests in on the latest happenings at the restaurant. We love to showcase our dishes, upcoming events, and highlight some of our hardworking staff.
How can people follow Tuc Craft Kitchen?
Follow us on Instagram @tuccraftkitchen and our website.
Thank you Chef Roy for your time.