With Tinhorn Creek’s reputation as a sustainable winery, it should come as no surprise that the executive chef of Miradoro Restaurant is all about local food. Chef Jeff Van Geest is one of British Columbia’s most celebrated chefs, focusing on locally procured foods from sustainable producer partners.
Jeff was born in St. Catharines, the heart of the Niagara region. His grandparents were farmers and taught him to respect what farm-fresh meant – which might explain Jeff’s desire to have a small garden on site at Miradoro, even if he doesn’t have time to tend it every day.
With his culinary training at the Vancouver Community College, Jeff landed an apprenticeship at Bishop’s restaurant in Vancouver – one of the earliest pioneers in sustainable cuisine. He worked his way through the ranks to Sous Chef before leaving to start his own restaurant: the Aurora Bistro. Highlighting field-to-table and honouring the farmer/chef relationship earned Jeff a reputation in the restaurant industry as someone who walked (or cooked) the talk.
After closing Aurora, Jeff accepted a position of Executive Sous Chef at Diva at the Met – another name on the who’s who list of British Columbia restaurants. Yet at every move in the culinary chain, thoughts of Jeff’s grandparent farmers stayed on his mind and the allure of rural living grew stronger. When Miradoro called in 2010, Jeff answered by moving his family to the Okanagan and the heart of British Columbia’s agricultural country.
You can just as easily catch Jeff at Miradoro’s kitchen door buying produce from a local forager, as you will find him talking to a group of 50 as they sit down for a communal table dinner. Look for him: Jeff’s the really tall guy with his thumbs hooked behind the bib of his apron and wearing a big smile on his face.