I took a peek inside Fable, the new restaurant by Top Chef Canada competitor Trevor Bird, which is set to open in Kitsilano in mid May. Trevor was happy to sit down and talk about this welcome addition to the Vancouver restaurant scene. He even shared some intel on Top Chef Canada Season 2. Of course, Trevor is sworn to secrecy over the Top Chef Season 2 winner.
It’s no surprise that Top Chef Canada, which premiered April 2011, swiftly became the top-rated series in Food Network Canada’s history. Season 2 launched March 12, 2012 and airs Monday evenings at 10pm. 7 of 13 episodes have shown so far. 8 of 16 chefs remain, including Trevor. I can’t help speculating that winners receive cash prizes and a new restaurant takes investment.
Find out more about behind-the-scenes action during Top Chef Season 2, Trevor and Trevor’s new restaurant – Fable – after the jump.
About Trevor Bird
Trevor Bird’s official bio
The chef is 29. He earned a degree in culinary management from Ottawa’s Algonquin College. He was the chef de partie at MARKET in the Shangri-La Hotel in Vancouver – a role he left after appearing on Top Chef. He’s also worked as a chef at Truffert and as a sous chef at Restaurant Garcon (both in Montreal) along with Sooke Harbor House (Sooke) and Lumiere (Vancouver).
His unofficial bio
He’s a passionate chef who’s all about straightforward, locally -sourced food. He’s tall. He has tattoos. He bicycles. He swears like a sailor when discussing his food philosophy. He looks up to chefs Dan Barber and Jamie Oliver. He always eats granola, fruit and yogurt for breakfast. He only drinks water. Or beer. His favourite beers are anything Phillips and all things by Driftwood Brewery. When he goes out to eat with a group, he likes to taste everything on the table.
About Fable restaurant in Kitsilano
Fable is set to open in mid May in Kitsilano, taking over Refuel’s old space. The concept is farm to table food that cuts out middle men. The cuisine will be simple and modern Canadian fare. Trevor is concerned about where food comes from and how it’s raised. Words like “organic” and “free-range” don’t impress him however.
He’s partnered with restaurant veterans Ron MacGillivray (formerly of Kingston Pub) and Kathy Schleyer (formerly of Goldfish). Curtis Luk, the “mad scientest” Top Chef competitor, who was just eliminated, is also heavily involved.
The restaurant decor will be comfortable and rustic, like the food. Expect exposed brick, wood floors and a bookshelf of house made preserves. Price points will stay below $30 – with most mains between $18 and $22.
While the menu is only about 80% complete, two dishes the chef said will appear are “canned tuna” and a play on potato skins. The canned tuna will consist of albacore tuna poached on a low temperture and served in a mason jar with preserved lemon, olives and potatoes – a reference to Episode 7 – which aired this week.
“The tuna will be nice and soft and you can smear it on your bread,” says Trevor. As for the potato skins: “Poutine is way overdone, so I’m taking it to the potato skin level, with a nice comfy piece of house made bacon and probably a lemon yogurt thing. That’s the direction I’m heading.”
Fable’s Top Chef Canada origins
Trevor came up with the concept for Fable during Top Chef Canada Episode 6 “Restaurant Wars” – the the classic Top Chef challenge where chefs divide into two teams and each group must create and execute a brand new restaurant concept in 24 hours.
“It all came from the episode,” he affirms. “We came up with the concept farm to table for that competition and that was the premise of our food. Put farm and table together and you make ‘fable.'”
But it’s not quite that simple. Trevor expands:
“Fable is about going back to the fundamentals of cooking and knowing where your food comes from. It’s whimsical. There’s a story behind everything; there’s a story behind your food. The definition of a fable is an inanimate object coming to life to illustrate a moral. So basically there’s moral behind your food,” explains the Top Chef contestant.
Apparently the name was quite popular. Judge Mark McEwan wanted the name for himself.
“Mark McKewan was like: ‘Do you have that name registered?’” says Trevor. “‘If not, I’m going to steal it.’” The Top Chef contestant registered the name right away.
Scoop on Top Chef Canada Season 2
Me: What’s the best thing to come out of being on the show?
Trevor: This restaurant.
Me: Any lessons learned from Top Chef?
Trevor: Stay true to your cooking style. When you have a vision, go for it. Don’t second guess yourself.
Me: Who was your stiffest competition while filming?
Trevor: I never really saw it as a direct competition against anyone in particular. I saw it as a competition against myself, to see how far I could go. They plot it like “Oh, you’re against this guy,” but really you’re competing against your own cooking style and skill. I guess Mark McEwan and the judges were my stiffest competition, you know? (He chuckles)
Me: How long did it take to film?
Trevor: I took a month and a half off of work.
Me: Did you form any lasting relationships during filming?
Trevor: Absolutely. I knew 4 of the contestants before I got there. 1) Jonny – the guy with the bandana. We share the same best friend. My best friend was his best man at his wedding. 2) Joel from Tofino. We opened a restaurant together back in the day. 3) Carl – we worked at Lumiere together. 4) And Jimmy Stewart – we both worked for Dale (MacKay). He was coming in at the time I was leaving. I still talk to pretty much everybody who was on the show.
Me: What day will Fable serve its first meal?
Trevor: I guarantee you there will be a Mothers’ Day brunch service. I love brunch.
Watch Top Chef Canada Season 2 episodes here. Canada’s Top Chef will be revealed June 4. The winner takes home $100,000 and GE Monogram kitchen appliances worth $30,000.