New Earls Test Kitchen offers a unique food lovers experience
On June 24th Earls Kitchen + Bar, a North America wide, Vancouver based, family owned restaurant group, with 65 locations, will open a brand new Test Kitchen in Vancouver. In an unusual move, the kitchen will not only be open to the public but will ask for feedback as they test new dishes.
With a 1.2 million dollar renovation the Test Kitchen takes over the 2nd floor space of the restaurant groups’ downtown Vancouver location on Hornby Street, making it the first chain restaurant in North America to let the public in on how they create unique new dishes, methods those dishes are created with, and the chance to hang out with a very talented, and very “honoured”, well known group of chefs who create the dishes for the restaurants.
The move to open up the new Test Kitchen will give “foodies” a bird’s eye experience, and not just those in Vancouver as included in the major renovation is state-of-the-art audio visual equipment that allows both video recording and live streaming directly from the stoves.
For diners, those who dine early when the Hornby Street restaurant first opens at 11:30 am, they will be able to have an exclusive taste of dishes that the chefs are working on in real time, and be able to chat to the chefs about those dishes as they are brought down into the dining room. A lucky few can head up to the 3-seat kitchen counter to have lunch, perhaps get a sample of what the chefs are working on, and see close up as the chefs work on new recipes, cooking techniques and test new ingredients.
The audio visual equipment in the Test Kitchen will allow those guests to see close up what the chefs are creating with two high resolution cameras that both zoom in and move across the kitchen. That same equipment will be able to live-stream cooking demonstrations to Earls’ chefs across the company making Earls able to react instantly to a changing ingredient or newly discovered cooking technique. Live- streaming will also reach out to the public allowing guests from across North America to see a new feature dish, even a whole new menu unveiling, as well as cooking and craft cocktail demonstrations. That same equipment will allow Earls Test Kitchen to broadcast to the screens in the downstairs restaurant so at times lunch will be served with a background of the chefs who created that dish. Chefs will participate in live twitter chats, accompanied by a live stream from the Test Kitchen. A media feed has been added to make it easy to capture live footage for visitors to the kitchen.
For those who just love to dine at Earls, plain and simple, guests at the Hornby Street location can still eat their favourite dishes but dozens of new dishes, not available for months on any other Earls menus, or that are being created for just a few locations, will be available as well as featured menu samples (food cost priced only) and even complimentary bites of inspirations live and in the moment as chefs create them. Guests will be encouraged to offer their feedback, directed to a landing page survey on the Earls website.
For those in Vancouver, the Test Kitchen location will be a unique experience unlike any other Earls.
The Earls Chef Collection
Earls had always looked outside of the box for inspiration, whether that was in faraway lands, new ingredients and cooking methods, or local and visiting chefs. The guest chef program in the past had seen Vancouver’s top fine dining chef, an Iron Chef, award winning international chefs and world renowned ethnic chefs contribute to the menu but just over a year ago Earls made a discovery that has changed the way they create their dishes. It was to have all the chefs in the kitchen at the same time.
Instead of working with a small team of in-house culinary development chefs with guest chefs and chef consultants contributing a menu item, or with a “celebrity chef” putting their name on the entire menu, Earls decided to hire some of those consulting chefs to work for the company, some full time, some part time, but to have all of them work together collaboratively. Their talents are vastly different, yet equal, as are their positions in the kitchen.
They noticed dishes that started with a brilliant idea from one chef could be elevated even further by another, or the reverse, a complicated fine dining recipe one chef brought to the table could be simplified and reworked to make a great Earls dish. Chefs working together brought new ideas, new cooking techniques, new ingredients and new inspiration into Earls Test Kitchen, so instead of a group of chefs working individually, it was a group of chefs working collectively.
Tapping into the cooking styles, different culinary training and ethnic backgrounds have resulted in some pretty exciting dishes in the Earls Test kitchen and this summer you will find a dozen or more of the new dishes on various Earls’ menus. In light of that Earls thought it was time to introduce you to the chefs themselves.
Chef Collective; Chef Dawn Doucette, Chef David Wong, Chef Hamid Salimian, Chef Jeff McInnis, Chef Tina Fineza with Sous Chefs Andrew Hounslow and Bowen Lansdell. Additional chefs from Canada and the US will be joining us in the coming months