August 23, 2019
Meet Chef Richard Zinger
Executive Chef, Minnoz Restaurant and Lounge
“I’m proud of society’s latest trend towards Local Healthy eating. I feel personally connected to local food - my family grows our own fruits, vegetables and berries and even nuts on our property. There is no substitute for freshness like that and that is what I try to bring to our restaurant table every day.”
Coastal Bastion Hotel
11 Bastion St,
Nanaimo, BC V9R 6E4
Tell us about Minnoz Restaurant and Lounge.
Minnoz Restaurant & Lounge is in the Coast Bastion Hotel, right at the heart of downtown Nanaimo. I’ve been with the hotel for approximately 9 years. We’re all about the gourmet breakfast and the freshest local seafood. We have beautiful banquet and conference facilities that allow us to showcase beautiful local food to visiting groups for events, meetings and weddings.
Tell us about your background and your passion for local food.
I graduated from the Culinary Arts Trades Program at Camosun College in Victoria. While I worked with companies like Fairmont, Delta, Four Seasons, Brix Restaurant, and now Coast Bastion, I have been able to develop a great appreciation for diverse flavours with the ability to utilize the best and freshest ingredients available.
What drives you to source and support local?
My wife is my inspiration, with such great growing skills on our 3 acres of food gardens in Errington, BC. We have year round fresh produce. Being a driving force in any capacity to promote local, fresh and organic can only benefit all of us, as well as support the local community and business of farms.
Tell us about your other local partners and what you love about them.
We have a stable of great suppliers. Little Mountain Farm, Madrona Farm, FAS Seafood, Cowichan Valley Farms, Salt Spring Island Cheeses, Saanich Farms, Yellowpoint Berries are all excellent quality.
What is the thing you are most excited about that you are doing at Minnoz right now?
We have partnered with Fredrichs’ Honey to have and continue to develop our Roof Top beehives (on our 2nd floor balcony) and collect honey to utilize in the hotel. It also helps to fertilize local plant life through pollination from our bees. I like that there is a broader impact felt in our community.
What are your favourite BC ingredients to cook with?
Island Bison Ranch http://www.islandbison.com/, in the Comox Valley, focuses on bison and water buffalo meat which is local and has rich, full flavour. The meat is lean and suitable for all kinds of cooking methods. Personally, my favorite is making braised Bison short ribs - simple and amazing taste.
Where do you see the future of local food heading?
I see many more micro-farms becoming the overall leaders of local ingredients. In the kitchen, I am looking forward to simplified plates and a focus on ingredients that enhance natural flavours for restaurants and at home. I feel like customers will be focusing on the health benefits of local foods – and that will make non-GMO and organic more prominent as well.
What is the best advice you’ve ever been offered about cooking local food?
I take seriously the idea that I should support the community with local, pure foods for a healthier and much tastier lifestyle. It’s the core of taking care of ourselves and our families for this and the next generations.
What is your favourite local dish for summer?
My favorite dish for the summer has to be the Nori Crusted Chili lime Albacore Tuna with sundried tomato butter. It changes twice a week on our Simply Fish Menu, but I always have it in my mind.
What are you most proud of at Minnoz?
I’m most proud of the transition we’ve made with local fresh ingredients and keeping a high standard and variety giving Nanaimo a great place to go for great fresh seafood and farm produce.
Thanks to Chef Richard for talking the time to talk to us about his amazing commitment to local food.