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From Winning Top Chef Canada to Becoming JOEY’s  Executive Director of Culinary:

Follow the Journey of Chef Matthew Stowe

From Winning Top Chef Canada to Becoming JOEY’s  Executive Director of Culinary:

Follow the Journey of Chef Matthew Stowe

After spending 18 years in some of the most elevated kitchens in North  America and winning Top Chef Canada—Matthew Stowe is bringing a lot to the table.  

From his early days making soups and sauces in the Chef training course at his Cloverdale high school, Matt was a stand-out star. After winning regional culinary competitions and thriving in his student co-ops at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver and the Pan Pacific Hotel, Matt headed east to attend the world-renowned Culinary Institute of America in New York City. 

Once he earned his stripes, Matt’s drive to continue honing his craft lead him to fine-dining in  Manhattan at the world-famous Lutèce restaurant and then back home to BC to take on the role of Executive Chef at Sonora Resort in Desolation Sound. Matt then made his way to the casual fine-dining of Cactus Club, and then onto national fame when he took the title of Top  Chef Canada Season Three.

Today, we are proud to have Matt join our team as our Executive Director of Culinary alongside Executive Chef Chris Mills, where he will help shape and evolve our menu to continue surprising and delighting our guests across North America. We sat down with Matt to learn more about his chef journey and why he’s so excited to be at the helm of the JOEY culinary experience.

What was it like competing on Top Chef Canada?

You don't know what to expect. I was nervous going in, and then I just kept winning challenges. I won more than anyone in the history of the show in Canada and the US. During filming, I was so laser-focused. I didn't notice the cameras. I had a wife and son at home, so I went into it with a different mindset—I went in to win. I didn't get a lot of sleep, and I took it really seriously. 

What drew you to JOEY?

The diversity and the reputation of JOEY, the accolades, the top employer awards. I've always admired JOEY from afar. They have multiple brands and all of them are doing so well. They’re an industry leader in premium casual.  

Your career has taken you all around the world—where have some of your most memorable culinary experiences been?

After the show, I spent three weeks doing 10 dinner services at a luxury hotel in South Korea in  partnership with the BC Agriculture Board. I created a tasting menu with BC’s exports—lobster, pork, beef, maple syrup, blueberries and canola oil. 

This was certainly part of the world I wouldn't have normally travelled to. Being able to try all the kimchis and super authentic Korean food was amazing. Today, we have some of those flavours on our menu—like gochujang, which is a common condiment in Korea, and kimchi and Korean Chili Powder. Something else I was inspired by there was these small baby king oyster  mushrooms. I had never seen them before. We’ve been able to source them in BC and are  working on some dishes with them.  

How do you get inspired to create a new JOEY dish? What does that process look like?

We take global fair and make it addictive to everyone in our dining rooms. That's a broad range. We’ll have 5-year-olds and 70-year-olds eating under one roof. You can have a billionaire in a corner and two teenagers on their first date. It's so exciting to be able to cook in an experience like that.  

We’re creating dishes that already have a basis around them. Whether we’re coming up with a  new salad or a new nacho, people have a reference point for these items. We all have our idea of what a ceviche or a burger should be. Everyone has their favourite spicy tuna roll. And we ask, how can we make the best possible version and exceed expectations of what someone has in their mind?  

What’s your favourite dish on the menu?

One of my favourites is our chicken parmesan. It's comforting and there’s incredible attention  to detail. And it’s consistent. In our world consistency is everything. We come up with dishes  so you can have chicken parmesan in Edmonton or Toronto on the same day and it's  consistent. That's how we measure a successful dish. It makes cooking exciting because it  adds a whole other dynamic that a lot of chefs who are running one restaurant don’t face. For  them, it’s a lot easier to manage quality control. But here, you don’t have your eyes and hands on every dish. It's a bigger responsibility. It's more dynamic and interesting when you look behind the scenes at how we come up with these dishes.  

What do you have in the works at JOEY? What does being the Executive Director of Culinary look like?

I’m coming up with new items—some brand new ideas and refining some existing ones. We’re updating classics that are part of our fabric and elevating them to match where we are today.  

We’re working on a crispy mash idea. That has been on the menu for 15 years. When you have a menu that spans 20 plus years, there are crowd favourites that just need a little tweak or an update.

Stay tuned for the exciting new dishes Matt is working on with Executive Chef Chris Mills.

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