Monday, July 18, 2011

Ned Bell named Executive Chef at Four Seasons Hotel Vancouver

Chef Ned Bell at Cookbook Co. Cooks in Calgary. Photo by Sue Frause. 

I was happy to hear that Chef Ned Bell was tapped as the new Executive Chef at the Four Seasons Hotel Vancouver. With Oliver Beckert moving on to the Four Seasons Baltimore opening in late 2011, Ned puts on his new chef's toque August 15, 2011. If you're not familiar with the Four Seasons' YEW restaurant + bar, you should be.

I traveled with Ned and a group of fellow travel journalists on a nine-day culinary road trip in Alberta last summer. We van-tripped from Edmonton and Canmore to Calgary and Banff, stopping at farms and vendors along the way -- plus enjoying the local dining scenes. So it's no surprise that Farm to Table is Chef Ned's mandate. After all, he spent a good portion of his life growing up in BC's Okanagan Valley, and started cooking for his family at the age of 12. After studying at Debrulle French Culinary School in Vancouver, he followed instructor Rob Feenie to Le Crocodile in Vancouver where he flourished as an apprentice. Soon he was the sous chef at Lumiere, one of Vancouver's culinary hot spots that helped put Vancouver on the food map.

Checking out the produce in Innisfall, Alberta. Photo by Sue Frause.
A stint back east included gigs in Toronto and Niagara, but Ned headed west to Calgary where he opened Murrieta's Grill. In 2007, it was back to his Okanagan roots as co-owner and chef at Kelowna's Cabana Bar and Grille. Describing his food philosophy as "globally inspired and locally created," Ned believes that food doesn't need to be complicated -- but it's important to know where it comes from. Key elements include premium ingredients, sourcing both locally and seasonally, and focusing on flavor.

In 2010, Ned moved back to Vancouver to be closer to his wife and son, and is looking forward to being a part of the Four Seasons family. He says he's impressed with YEW's meaningful approach to food, its stunning room and talented team -- and he hopes to add his own vision and twist to the mix. He's also glad to be in the heart of Vancouver's vibrant food scene, which includes local farmers markets and BC wine country.

Horseback riding in Banff, Alberta. Photo by Sue Frause.

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