Earls Test Kitchen welcomes Bocuse d’Or chef Ryan Stone and vegetarian chef Brian Skinner to their “Chef Collective” roster  


With 63 restaurants across North America in this Canadian, family owned restaurant group,  it’s hard not to call Earls a chain, but with 47 different menus, use of local and regional ingredients, a team of award winning chefs and different design looks to each location, Earls is definitely not your traditional chain restaurant.


How Earls creates new dishes and designs their menu is also unusual.  A team of diverse chefs, who come from both fine dining and hotel dining; independent restaurant dining, vegetarian dining and even high-end sports stadiums, work from Earls’ state-of-the-art Vancouver Test Kitchen. Individually they bring international experience such as Noma (Denmark), Alain Ducasse (France) and Zuni Café (California) – and they bring specialties in ethnic and vegetarian cuisine as well as both classic cooking techniques and modern new methods for use with the latest equipment.


The Earls Chef Collective welcomes two new chefs 


In 2013 Chef Dawn Doucette (Top Chef Canada, Zuni café) was already working in the Earls Test Kitchen.  Chef Hamid Salimian (formerly Diva at the Met, Culinary Team Canada) became the first chef to join her and the “Chef Collective” followed by consulting Chef Jeff McInnis (formerly Yardbird, Miami and now his own restaurant, Root & Bone, New York); In 2014 Chef David Wong (formerly ORU and Fairmont Pacific Rim, Bocuse d’Or) moved to Earls Test Kitchen as well some young creative American and Vancouver chef consultants, which included Chef Tina Fineza.


Now Earls Kitchen + Bar is pleased to announce two new chefs to the team.  

Chef Ryan Stone (formerly The Pear Tree with stages at Alain Ducasse and L ‘Atelier by Joël Robuchon, Culinary Olympics, Bocuse D’or) along with consulting vegetarian chef Brian Skinner (Acorn, Otarian, Noma, Gold Medal Plates) are now part of the Earls Chef Collective.


Together in Earls Test Kitchen they collaborate. Chefs working together bringing new inspiration into Earls kitchens. They collaborate on new dishes and recipes,  share knowledge  and cook together to create new feature dishes, seasonal dishes, specific location menus (Vancouver, Toronto, Miami, Boston) and, what Earls hopes are, dishes that will become as much a part of Earls future menus as the well-loved dishes Earls guests are loyal to.


For Earls, the restaurant that created the upscale casual dining mold – a level of dining embraced by independent restaurants and other chains – this is another example of breaking that mold and raising the bar yet again. 


What’s new on the Earls menu; 


This spring Earls Chef Collective team is preparing to launch some exciting new menu items. From an authentic Korean Bibimbap (Chef Dave Wong) to some great new takes on vegetarian salads (Brian Skinner), seafood (Hamid Salimian), two new brunch items (Dawn Doucette and Ryan Stone), a new dessert and even a new burger. Dishes will launch in Earls Flagship locations on March 25th with most dishes moving to all Earls locations in June, along with new summer cocktails from Beverage Director, Cameron Bogue.



Chef Ryan Stone; home town Vancouver, originally from Vancouver

Ryan has had an esteemed and illustrious career to date bringing with him experience in fine dining, hotels, large corporate dining and award winning culinary competitions.  He comes to us most recently from San Francisco, where he was the Executive Chef at Levi’s Stadium, the home of the 49ers, overseeing and reinventing over 60 restaurants and food and beverage outlets for 60,000 guests daily. Ryan has travelled extensively, cooking at some of the world’s best restaurants, including Vancouver’s Pear Tree Restaurant, and was awarded stage opportunities with Alain Ducasse, L’Atelier by Joël Robuchon and several fine restaurants in France, London, Australia and Germany. Like both Chef Hamid Salimian and Chef David Wong, Ryan has competed in many international culinary competitions representing Canada at the Culinary Olympics and the prestigious Bocuse D’or. His culinary skills are global; his cuisine is simple and elegant. 


Chef Brian Skinner; home town Vancouver, originally from Vancouver

Brian took diners to “dizzying vegetarian heights” as the chef/owner of Acorn before selling his shares to his business partner in 2014 and starting his consulting business. Born and raised on the West Coast of BC, Brian started working in Vancouver kitchens when he was quite young before beginning his formal training at VCC – He worked for Earls twice, as a young dishwasher and later as a cook.  He spent 5 years in Europe at world-renowned restaurants Viajante and Sketch in London, England, as well as Noma in Copenhagen, Denmark. Before his return to Vancouver Brian was the chef consultant for Otarian in London and New York.  Brian’s was the first vegetarian dish to win the Gold Medal Plates. Brian’s passion is to make vegetable based cuisine accessible, exciting, and inspiring for carnivores and vegetarians alike and Earls is thrilled to have his extensive knowledge of vegetarian food help guide us to new levels of creativity.

Chef David Wong; home town Vancouver, originally from Nanaimo, BC

Dave also works full time in our Test Kitchen. He is an award winning chef from Vancouver, most recently as Executive Chef of the Fairmont Pacific Rim and the award winning restaurant ORU. Dave has too many awards and medals to even list but we would say that  his Gold medal win as part of Culinary Team Canada in Basil, Switzerland and representing Canada at the  Bocuse d’Or held in Lyon, France – are two of the most prestigious culinary awards in the world.

David’s culinary skill encompasses a number of Asian cuisines as well as seafood and shellfish. 


Chef Hamid Salimian; home town Vancouver, originally from Iran

Born in Iran and raised on the Caspian Sea, Hamid brings an exotic palate to Earls dishes creating new dishes and bringing a flavour twist to update existing menu items. His influences come from the simple, traditional Persian cuisine though his main area of culinary study was French cuisine. Hamid’s background is in fine dining and hotels working at the Sutton Place Hotel and The Metropolitan Hotel, where he was Executive Chef as well as Chef of the award winning Diva at the Met. He is currently Captain of Culinary Team Canada and splits his time evenly between the Earls Test Kitchen, where he works 3 days a week, and as a culinary instructor at VCC. He and his wife, Chef Jennifer Peters, are also opening a gluten free bakery this year in Vancouver.

Hamid’s culinary skills encompass Persian cuisine and French cuisine blending both those cultures into Asian and West Coast cuisines.


Chef Jeff McInnishome town New York, originally from Florida

Earls knew they wanted to work with Jeff when they tasted his amazing southern style influenced food at a restaurant called Yardbird in Miami, Florida. Born to either fish or cook Jeff grew up on fishing boats around Niceville, Florida, peeling shrimp, cutting fish and cooking on the line at The Marina Cafe. He attended world renowned culinary institute Johnson & Wales University in Charleston before working in the Caribbean, Virgin Islands, San Francisco, Virginia and Miami. Jeff cooked his way into the finals of “Top Chef,” in 2010; He recently opened a new restaurant in New York City called Root + Bone and continues to create dishes for Earls. Jeff’s culinary skills encompass a distinctive Southern American style as well as vegetarian cuisine. 


Beverage Director, Cameron Bogue; hometown Vancouver, originally from Portland, Oregon  

Cameron is the beverage director for Earls Restaurants. Working alongside Earls Executive Chefs and product development chefs, Cam develops cocktails for a bar program across the restaurant groups 65 locations as well as creating their regional craft beer program throughout Canada and the US and works with long time wine buyer George Piper and Earls wine consultant Anthony Gismondi  on Earls  wine list.  Cameron began his career in his home town of Portland, Oregon before moving to Toronto, Las Vegas and finally New York, where he opened Daniel Boulud’s first cocktail bar, Bar Pleiades, receiving critical acclaim including Bon Appetite’s best new cocktail bar in America. He was creative brand ambassador for Diageo, representing them across the US for two years. Cam is called upon as a judge in some of the world’s top bar competitions, is a regular presenter and has made numerous broadcast appearances including the Ellen Show and the Today Show.


About Earls Restaurants


Earls Kitchen + Bar is one of North America’s most successful independent restaurant groups, currently  with 63 restaurants – 58 of those in Canada and 5 in the United States  (Denver, Colorado; Bellevue, Washington; Miami, Florida; Boston, Mass.).  2015 will see new locations in both Washington, DC (Tyson’s Corner, fall 2015) and Chicago, Illinois (NewCity, fall 2015).


Earls Restaurants Ltd. and the Fuller Group is a family owned operation started by Leroy Earl (Bus) Fuller in 1982 with their first restaurant in Edmonton, Alberta.  Bus and his sons own Earls Kitchen + Bar (Earls is not a franchise), operated by eldest son Stan Earl Fuller (there explains the lack of an apostrophe in the restaurant name) as well as other restaurants throughout Canada & US.


Earls Kitchen + Bar is a unique restaurant concept.  “Upscale Casual” – full table service in beautifully designed casual environments.  Dining rooms sit side-by-side with lively lounges and bars with the dining area offering a relaxed, casual culinary experience while atmosphere is ramped up in the lounge and bar.


Earls does not operate in any traditional “chain” style. Fresh, made from scratch, often local ingredient driven interesting menus offer irresistible food. Although menus include popular dishes they are known for, Earls actually offers close to 50 different menus across their 63 locations allowing for dishes created for regional and demographic tastes, as well as local products and suppliers. Earls offers a global menu with modern versions of ethnic cuisine staples of the core menu.


Perfect for a before the game meal or date night, Earls menus range from great appetizer selections, hand smashed certified angus burgers, hormone & antibiotic free triple A steaks, fresh vegetables that are seasonally grown and fresh daily baked breads. Full entrees such as roasted free range chicken,  Asian dishes, sustainable west coast salmon and even pizzas are cooked to order and paired with dressings and sauces  made daily in their restaurants. Desserts are both created and baked in house.


Earls cocktail program is run by Beverage Director Cameron Bogue, a Portland, Oregon native who joined them from the Daniel Boulud group in New York. With a commitment to using only 100% fresh squeezed in-house juices and handmade syrups, Cam works with all the Earls across Canada and the U.S. creating craft cocktails for the menus as well as developing Earls local and regional craft beer selections. Well known wine consultant, Anthony Gismondi, has joined long time wine buyer George Piper in creating an outstanding, value and selection packed wine list.


The family business also includes an award-winning restaurant design company, e+ design & construction. No cookie cutter designs here either, each restaurant is designed uniquely for the location and region it’s located in.  In fact, Earls doesn’t just cook locally, each restaurant is contracted and constructed by a local on-the-ground team; regional and local suppliers are worked with and staff is recruited locally.

Earls design their restaurants with sustainability in mind, winning awards for both energy efficient buildings and their custom LED lighting. They often use reclaimed and repurposed materials to ensure their carbon footprint is kept to a minimum.


Earls head office is located in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Awarded as a “Top 50 Employer”, Earls Kitchen + Bar employs about 7,000 employees.

Twitter @earlsrestaurant

Instagram @earlsrestaurants

Feature pic courtesy of Earls Test Kitchen Facebook page.

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