July 18, 2019
Meet Executive Chef Heather Morgan
Chef & Owner, Storms on the River
“We work to show our customers that local food is not more expensive, it’s more valuable. By supporting, for example, us, you not only support local jobs in one single restaurant but also dozens of local growers and producers.”
- Chef Heather Morgan
Tell us about your food philosophy at Storms on the River?
We are serious about slow-food, knowing where our ingredients come from and using what’s in season. For us, that means sourcing local produce, using every part of the animal and making everything we can from scratch, from the bread and pasta to our condiments and desserts. We work directly with farmers and fishermen to get our hands on to the freshest food we can get. We don’t stop at the food, we also partner with local wineries and breweries and our cocktails contain only fresh juices & house-made syrups.
Tell us about how you ended up as Chef and Owner at Storms on the River?
I grew up on the West Coast. My first job, at 13 years old, was working as a kitchen helper at Whistler’s Rimrock Café. I learned how hard the kitchen life was early and I loved every second of it. My love for cooking led me to go to New York where I graduated from The Culinary Institute of America.Ironically, I was heavily made fun of for not having a Canadian accent! After spending time learning about brewing beer for Russell Brewing Company, I moved to Rheinland Pfalz Germany to learn about wine. I met my partner and the co-owner of Storms Alexander Lange there. That led us to taking over the restaurant in April 2016. Storms has a 20 year long tradition in our community and it's a great place for us to build on our local commitment and to introduce long time customers to our new seasonally inspired menu.
How do you personally take on your commitment to local food?
I have a strong passion for sustainability, seasonality and whole animal butchery. I think we should all be connect with growing-our-own food. When I’m not in the kitchen, you can find me in our huge veggie garden at home.
What drives you to source local food and beverage and support local farmers and producers?
I truly believe in telling a story through your food. I've found the best way to do that is to be invested in it personally. We have close relationships with all of our providers from getting our fish directly from the fishermen who can tell us how stormy it was or how much of a fight this fish put up, to our meat raised right here in Kamloops, cheeses from cows in the Okanagan, and produce from right up the river. Our duck is fed from the spent grains of the beer we serve and being able to show this circle of sustainability is what makes us strive.
Do you have certain Kamloops farms or farmers that you love working with?
So many lovely people to list! SSOL Gardens provide our beautiful produce and edible flowers. https://ssolgardens.com/ Holmwood Farm is 30 minutes east of Kamloops and we buy their Lamb. http://www.lookkamloops.ca/holmwoodfarm.htm
Caspian Acres is a small local livestock farm where we get our duck and other meats. @caspian_acres
How have you used local food to stand out in your market?
I find that people are unaware of what we have locally so by providing them a new experience we help to broaden their horizons. For example, we have so many amazing types of shrimp in our water but people choose to eat tiger prawns or baby shrimp from overseas. Most are just genuinely unaware we have them in our waters so we try to help educate them. We think when they try local shrimp on our menu they are as excited as we are.
What's your go to dish for summer?
At the restaurant, I love our rotating summer salads. They change up weekly depending on what the lovely greens that SSOL Gardens brings us. When my produce arrives, it's always a surprise I look forward to. On days off, I enjoy cooking over fire, long marinades, spicy chimmichurri’s and all the extras!
Tell us about your favourite BC ingredient or dish.
Do I have to pick just one?!? We get such beautiful mushrooms, I get pretty giddy around morel season, but I’m also such a sucker for side-stripe shrimp and spot prawns in just some simple garlic butter.
Thanks to Chef Heather Morgan for sharing her passion with us.