Living in Yaletown, I tried the new Northern Mexican restaurant that moved into Neil Wyles’ legendary Hamilton Street Grill location after a great run (and thank you chef Neil for doing a great job with our students during your tenure). Well, Fayuca has very impressive cuisine. The menu is very different than what one might traditionally expect from what Vancouver knows as Mexican. So, I reached out the chef to make a new connection for our future students. Chef Martin Vargas reached right back. We sat down at the bar to talk shop and know more about each other. What I quickly discovered is that this is the kind of chef Northwest loves: smart, dedicated, contemporary, enthusiastic, and a very positive soul. He’s also young. Only 29. And he’s relatively new to Vancouver.
But I quickly realized he speaks food very much like many chefs that hone their skills and ideas in Vancouver and the Northwest region. There’s an eclecticism, an adventurous nature to his food-speak. Then again, he trained under some influential chefs in the northwest region of his country, where they are going a bit more against the grain than the rest of Mexico. The first student we sent to him to do a weekend stage was a most positive experience. Chef Martin actually reached out to come and visit Northwest Academy. And, much like Humphrey Bogart’s last line in Casablanca: “This is the beginning of a great relationship.”