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When local restaurateur Chad Huff saw an opportunity to coax an accomplished Red Seal chef away from the distinguished Chateau Jasper, he seized it.
Just two months after arriving in the Comox Valley, Chad’s West Coast Grill & Bar executive chef Jamie McMath is already raising the bar when it comes to the local casual dining scene.
“With the changes that we were making at the restaurant, this seemed like an ideal time to bring in a new chef with fresh and exciting ideas,” said Huff, who had operated his restaurant under the banner of a major franchise. “Jamie’s like a culinary rock star; he brings with him experience and expertise, and he’s introducing some lively West Coast flavours with an international flair.”
McMath, who was born in Campbell River and has been an executive chef for more than 11 years, learned his trade at the Culinary Institute of Canada in Charlottetown, PEI. While he has nothing but great things to say about his time at Alberta’s world-renowned Chateau Jasper Hotel, he says he was lured to the Valley by the prospect of a change of pace, an opportunity to create an exciting new menu and a chance to bring his family back to Vancouver Island.
“Working as a chef has taken me across the country, but it’s been great to be able to bring my family back to where I grew up,” he said. “My new role with Chad’s, while still an executive chef position, is quite different from the Chateau, both in terms of dishes served and general ambience. Being in a new atmosphere, a new location, with new co-workers, it’s all very stimulating; it really gets the creative juices flowing.”
Those juices have already led to a bold new menu featuring what McMath describes as “a West Coast feel with Pacific Rim influences.” While McMath acknowledges that the menu will expand and evolve as he becomes more familiar with the tastes of his new clientele, so far the plan has been to introduce lighter, healthful fare that features more seafood and fresh B.C. produce.
“People really seem to be enjoying our new dishes, like the bruschetta with steamed mussels and Asian-inspired options like our grilled salmon sandwich or our awesome chicken lettuce wraps.
“I’m looking forward to establishing relationships with local food producers. British Columbia is virtually unrivaled when it comes to the variety and quality of fresh produce. I want to draw from that bounty to create an authentic West Coast menu that still honours the casual, fun-forward atmosphere that Chad’s is all about. “
Chad’s West Coast Grill & Bar is at 2910 Kilpatrick Ave. at the corner of 29th in Courtenay.