September 23 - October 2, 2016

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Q&A with Chef Tara Hall of Hub Restaurant Group

Boasting three locations in the Lower Mainland - including one in New Westminster - the Hub has become exactly that: a lively and central meeting place for good food and great service.

The New West Hub has another reason to be so well suited to its name - a central and convenient location directly on the New Westminster SkyTrain platform. What this means, of course, is you have only to hop on or off the train (depending on where you're coming from/going) and simply walk across the platform to the restaurant's front doors. And indeed, the restaurant has become a popular hub among residents and visitors alike.

With distinct and talented chefs for each of the restaurants, the Hub also features a regional chef who guides the eateries to focus on fresh, local and seasonal cuisine as much as possible.

Here are some of our quick Q&As with Tara Hall, regional chef of the Hub Restaurant Group.

When did you start cooking?

I started working in my first restaurant when I was 15, and got the curiosity for cooking almost immediately.

Why did you choose to become a chef?

Well, because I love food! But it's also so much more than that. It's allowed me the ability to be a leader, and to give other people who share that same passion for food the opportunity to develop their skills in a fun, rewarding environment.

As a chef, what is one thing that is very important to you in your cooking?

The kitchen is our workspace and, therefore, it's essential that it's organized and clean. This sets us up for success and allows us to create amazing dishes while maintaining a flow on the line.

What was your first restaurant job? Tell us about it.

My first restaurant job was the grand opening of Milestones South Point when I was just 15 years old, and it made a huge impact on me. I was originally hired as a dishwasher, but was promoted to line cook within two weeks - and I have never looked back.

What Fraser Valley ingredient inspires you the most? And why?

I would say it's the amazing variety of seasonal produce. The Valley produces a wide array of veggies that puts a smile on my face just by taking a bite right from the garden. Once I get back into the kitchen, there are non-stop possibilities of fresh and vibrant dishes.

What do you think is the most important part about sourcing ingredients locally?

My favourite part about cooking with local ingredients just happens to be the most important, as well. It's about supporting our people and our community. It also allows us to eat the freshest food possible.

What's one ingredient that you can't live without?

Definitely potatoes - a universal staple.

If you could only have one last meal, what would it be?

That would be my mom's shepherd's pie. It's the best.

Who is your favourite celebrity chef?

I would have to say it's Christina Wilson – hands down. She was such a huge inspiration to me, and continues to be an influence in the way I cook and lead a successful team today.

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