Western Living's 5th Annual 40 Foodies Under 40

We’re half a decade into this exercise of scouring the West in search of the young turks who are shaping (and shaking up) the way we eat, shop and drink, and narrowing the list to just 40 has become progressively more difficult each year. All of which underscores the point that living here—with its near-perfect blend of urban and rural, beauty and bounty—is the ideal place to be a foodie.



Western Living's 40 Foodies Under 40
From left to right: Sean Dory, Trevor Kallies, Jackie Ellis, Brian Skinner and Shira Blustein

Seann Dory, 35
Founder, Solefood Street Farms, Vancouver
Talking about social change is easy: actually doing it, not so much. So the Solefood tale—converting abandoned lots in Vancouver’s Eastside into farms and then getting residents to work together to tend and harvest the bounty—is just about the best food story we can think of.

Trevor Kallies, 33
Bar and Beverage Director, Donnelly Group, Vancouver
Making a handcrafted cocktail for a willing patron is a noble art. Taking that concept and expanding it to all the bars of Vancouver’s most successful string of drinking establishments—that’s the type of thing that changes how a city drinks. A perfect Manhattan on every corner. [RECIPE: Make Trevor's Orange Hop-Sicle]

Jackie Ellis, 34
Owner/Baker, Beaucoup Bakery and Café, Vancouver
The opening of Ellis’s South Granville bakery was delayed and then delayed again. And again. The resulting wait created a near-unmeetable expectation upon opening. Which, with the help of her perfect croissants and other transformative pastries, Ellis has been able to exceed.

Shira Blustein, 31 & Brian Skinner, 33
Owners, The Acorn, Vancouver
A vegetarian restaurant for the non-vegetarian is a cold-fusionesque idea that gets bandied about every so often, but never lasts. Until now. The Acorn is not just surviving, but leading a group—see Heirloom and the Parker—that may just change how we eat when we go out for dinner.

Nicole Kammerer, 35
Owner/Chef, Nicole Gourmet, Calgary
Catering has become the path for chefs who crave creative control, and in Calgary, the hottest name to do your do is Kammerer. She brings technical skills (the same that endeared her to David Hawksworth and Michael Noble) and a no-holds-barred approach to a menu. And a little bird tells us you may just see her on Season 3 of Top Chef Canada.

Nicole Lamb, 25 & Carli Baum, 28
Managing Partners, Bite Beef, Balzac, Alberta
You know how chefs rave about how little you need to do when the steak you are cooking is perfect? This is the pair that is trying to create that perfect steak with their “slow-grown” process—think grass-fed cows that are aged longer. They may just reinvent the definition of what a good cut of meat is.

beta 5

Adam Chandler, 32
Owner, Beta 5 Chocolates, Vancouver
It’s all been done before with chocolate, which is true right up to when it isn’t. That moment comes often for Beta 5, from their hot chocolate on a stick to their award-winning marmalades crafted from Rangpur limes.

Sarah Wallbank, 37
General Manager/Co-owner, Riso Foods, Lantzville, B.C.
If you blink, you’d miss the turnoff to this tiny enclave just north of Nanaimo. Wallbank manages to juggle artisan wood-fired baking, pastry making, meat curing, thin-crust pizza and house-made pasta with the same deftness as her cappuccino and seasonal gelato—all the while tapping into expertly sourced, locally grown ingredients, a finely tuned wine list and fun cocktails, too.

Justin Lussier, 32, Jason Allard, 32 & Christian Bullock, 38
Founders, Famoso, Edmonton
Napoli pizza quickly went from food to fetish. Is it “tipo 00” flour? How hot is the oven? San Marzano tomatoes in the sauce? For the record, this trio nails all the pizza geek points but, more importantly, they’d rather serve classic Napoli pizza to as many people as possible. By this summer they’ll have more than 25 outlets, from Victoria to Saskatoon plus three in Ontario. They even opened one on Vancouver’s Commercial Drive, the city’s centre for West Coast Italian culture. Now that takes some coglioni. World domination can’t be far off.

John Michael MacNeil, 31
Chef, Teatro, Calgary
Changing an institution like Teatro is a dicey proposition: diners know what they like, and they don’t want it messed with. The genius of MacNeil is that he’s managed to keep the restaurant current—some foam here, a splash of liquid nitrogen there—without abandoning the core of French and Italian technique that still packs ’em in.

Jacob Pelletier, 25
Executive Pastry Chef, Duchess Bakeshop, Edmonton
Forget Edmonton: the question is whether the Duchess is the best bakery in Canada. Their Paris-Brest is a vicarious bike trip to northwestern France, and if they ever stop baking lime tarts, there will surely be a revolt in northern Alberta. A formal Duchess dessert bar is next on Pelletier’s horizon (and that’s worth skipping dinner for).

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