You haven’t really eaten out in Vancouver until you’ve dined at one of chef David Hawksworth’s local establishments, Hawksworth or Nightingale. As one of his nation’s leading chefs, Hawksworth has helped solidify Vancouver’s culinary standing by highlighting Canada’s off-the-dial quality ingredients and always using an honest, simple approach to preparing food. Here, he talks about cooking at home, the future of Canadian cuisine, and how not to prepare cauliflower.
Which ingredients get you excited to get into the kitchen and cook?
Any fresh fish that I can get my hands on, especially wild salmon in the early spring. When it comes to the preparation, I keep things as light as possible. If the weather has already warmed up, I pair it with citrus.
Do you think a main dish should be served with sides, or should each dish stand alone?
My restaurants here in Vancouver take polar opposite approaches to this. At Nightingale, it’s all about separate dishes prepared as simply as possible so we can show off the ingredients. If I do a wild salmon with artichoke, those will pretty much be the only primary ingredients. It can be hard sometimes for chefs to pull back and be okay with that kind of simplicity, but it’s so much better than overcomplicating everything.
At Hawksworth, however, we focus on making sure that a whole dish — and all of its flavors — work together.