|Executive Chef:||Quang Dang|
|Pastry Chef:||Rhonda Viani|
+ Wine Director:
|Restaurant Manager:||Brian Hopkins|
|Bar Manager:||David Wolowidnyk|
Chef Quang Dang began his culinary career at West, where he worked as junior sous chef. For the next five years, while working his way ever-upward in some of Vancouver’s finest kitchens, Quang quickly established himself as an advocate of sustainability and a champion of West Coast cuisine, a role that he continues to undertake in defining his approach to modern cookery.
Raised in Calgary, Alberta with family roots that stretch back to Scotland and the orchards and rice fields of Vietnam, chef Dang originally moved to Vancouver in 1998 to finish his engineering degree and fulfill a dream to train for the Olympics with Canada's national field hockey team. Part-time positions in the hospitality industry soon won him over, however, and his culinary career began in earnest. Quang went on to compete in a number of international food competitions such as the Bocuse D'Or in Lyon France, the National Chaîne des Rôtisseurs in Winnipeg and most recently represented Canadian cuisine at the 2011 European Seafood Exposition in Brussels, the largest of its kind.
Quang returned ‘home’ to West as executive chef in September, 2011: “I’m thrilled to be back,” he says, “and now to lead one of the finest culinary and service brigades in the country.”
Born and raised in Vancouver, accomplished Pastry Chef Rhonda Viani has over 15 years of professional cooking experience. An inspirational teacher in high school first sparked her enthusiasm for cooking, baking and pastry and encouraged her to pursue a career in the kitchen.
Following an apprenticeship at Michel Jacob’s Le Crocodile, Viani’s career has progressed to include time spent in many prestigious kitchens, including notably, four years at Chocolate Arts, under chocolatier-patissier Gregg Hook, two years as Pastry Chef at Lumiere and most recently stints as Pastry Chef at both Marque Restaurant in Sydney, Australia and at Sooke Harbour House on Vancouver Island. Viani has developed a style she describes as “simple and fun; dishes are not overloaded with ingredients, but focused on allowing natural flavours to stand out and speak for themselves.”
This approach, combined with Viani’s creative talent, delivered her first place in the Quady Essencia Dessert Competition in 2000. She was also the Patissier for Team BC, which was awarded gold at the International Apprentice Competition in Toronto in 1993.
At West, Viani’s dessert menu changes with the seasons, featuring fresh fruits and chocolate desserts combined with local herbs for regional flavour. The finest selection of local and international cheese is complemented with walnut and raisin bread, made daily along with a variety of sorbets, ice creams, chocolates and petits fours.
Restaurant Director + Wine Director
Owen Knowlton moved from his native Ontario to Lake Louise, Alberta to follow his love of skiing; after joining the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise he quickly became enamored with the hospitality industry and his enthusiasm for wine began to grow.
Since then his career path has traveled through Australia’s prestigious bars, restaurants and wine regions before heading back to Canada to Banff’s renowned Rimrock Resort Hotel, where as Maitre’d & Sommelier, he was responsible for developing the highly acclaimed wine collection. Moving on to Vancouver, Knowlton was led by a desire to explore Canada’s hottest dining city and joined the long established Le Crocodile, as Maitre’d of the French fine-dining restaurant.
At West he now enjoys being part of the team who run one of Vancouver’s most progressive and celebrated restaurants. As Wine Director, Knowlton nurtures and grows the acclaimed selection adding carefully to the five hundred label list, always conscious to pass on value, quality and diversity when selecting new wines. His ambitions are to develop the wine list and educate the service team to assist guests in discovering new food and wine combinations that will ultimately heighten the dining experience at West.
Sommelier of the Year, Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival, 2011
Having launched West Restaurant in December 2000 to much media fanfare, Brian Hopkins led his brigade to win a steady stream of accolades and high praise from critics, before transferring to head up operations at sister property, CinCin in 2002. Resuming his position at West in June 2004 he says “I always took a great deal of pride in everything we had accomplished, but I always believed West hadn’t reached its full potential; I’m very proud to be back and thrilled to have a hand in shaping the restaurant’s future and continued growth”
With a wealth of valuable industry experience from high profile establishments – Black & Blue in Toronto, 72 Market Street in LA, as well as TopTable’s acclaimed Araxi in Whistler and the aforementioned CinCin Ristorante in Vancouver – Hopkins is also an accredited sommelier, since graduating from Toronto's George Brown College in 1996. He currently attends regular industry wine tastings keeping his knowledge and palate primed to present interesting and informed wine suggestions to enhance his guests dining pleasure. “Ensuring the absolute satisfaction of all that come through our doors” is his number one priority, he says whilst motivating, managing and training his team “to deliver the highest levels of service resulting in exceptional unparalleled dining experiences.”
Front of House Inductee, BC Restaurant Hall of Fame, 2010
Praised for his chemist-like precision, inventive twists and intriguing libations, award-winning mixologist David Wolowidnyk has amassed over two decades of professional service experience from leading bars and restaurants throughout Vancouver and the Grand Cayman Islands.
At West, Wolowidnyk attributes diversity of skills, attention to detail and extensive product knowledge to running a successful bar. In addition, he says, it must be immaculately maintained and always well stocked. He leads his staff to provide guests with personalized attention by seeking out their preferences and offering suggestions from a tempting range of contemporary and classic cocktails, premium sprits, thoughtfully chosen wines, and a selection of bottled beers.
Energized by the challenge of exceeding the expectations of both his colleagues and guests, Wolowidnyk takes pleasure from seeing guests leave with memorable experiences. He enjoys working with a team of like-minded professionals that inspire creativity and share his passion for food, wine and cocktails.
Winner, BOMBAY SAPPHIRE® World’s Most Imaginative Bartender Competition, Morocco, 2012
Winner, Ketel One National Bar Chef Competition, 2010
“Best Bartender Pacific Northwest”, Art of the Cocktail Festival, Victoria, 2009
Top 40 Foodies Under 40, Western Living magazine, 2008
Bartender of the Year, Vancouver Magazine Restaurant Awards, 2008
Bartender of the Year, Urban Diner Restaurant Awards, 2008
Premier Crew Award, Vancouver Magazine Restaurant Awards, 2007
“Best Mixologist in Canada”, National Grey Goose “Arbiter of Cool” Competition, 2007