Vancouver chef, Trevor Bird, passionate advocate of the farm-to-table conceptBy Daniel Drolet
Trevor Bird has always cooked for a living. His first job, at age 15, was at an Ottawa-area restaurant. He continued working for chain restaurants while studying culinary management at Ottawa’s Algonquin College.
As he developed as a chef, he became fascinated by the culinary opportunities provided by fresh, local ingredients.
Now owner of two Vancouver restaurants—Fable and the brand-new Fable Diner—Bird makes fresh, seasonal and local ingredients the focus of his work.
The connection with the people who produce the food he cooks is crucial, says Bird; in fact the restaurant name Fable is a contraction of the words Farm-to-Table.
“If you have passionate people growing the food, and passionate people cooking the food, you will end up with a great product,” he says.
He believes in the importance of the connection between food and food producers, and is passionate about making the public aware of the importance of that connection.
“Canadian eggs are fresh, local and high-quality,” he says. “I’m passionate about creating a local economy with local food, so it’s a natural fit.”
Bird’s philosophy of food took shape slowly.
One early job in a retirement home had him working for a chef he describes as hard-nosed. “He never settled for anything that wasn’t perfect,” recalls Bird. “I fed off his energy and his attempts to achieve perfection.”
He discovered the delights of fresh, local ingredients when he spent time travelling and working in places like Thailand and Peru.
When he got back to Canada, he decided that working with fresh, local products was what made cooking fun for him. Everything jelled when he competed in Season 2 of Top Chef Canada. He didn’t win the top prize—he was runner-up—but the show is where he came up with Fable and the vision behind the restaurant.
As a chef, Bird likes to visit farm producers to see where his food comes from. “At Fable,” he says, “we always keep a tight community with the farmers. We go to the farmers and we see what they are doing.”
He says he has been amazed at the care and detail that goes into growing and producing our food.
He was amazed to learn, for example, of how egg production standards differ between Canada and the U.S.
In Canada, eggs are produced by farm families around the country. The U.S., a country with 10 times Canada’s population, actually has fewer egg producers.
“That blew me away,” he says.
“Here in Canada we really do offer a good-quality product. Eggs are sustainable, they are healthy and they are high-protein.”
As a chef, Bird loves the versatility of eggs. They can be served on their own (fried, pickled or hard-boiled, for example) or used to make sauces, main dishes or desserts.
“The possibilities are endless,” he says.
One of the latest additions to his menu at Fable Diner is a hot, fresh doughnut. The egg batter is fried at the table and the result is “a nice, warm, gooey” dessert.
His favourite way to eat eggs? Scrambled, he says, with salt the only seasoning.
But he does like to experiment. He tells of one of his chefs who came up with a recipe for pickled eggs: Take seven-minute eggs, peel them and let them sit for two weeks in the fridge in equal parts soy sauce and rice wine vinegar, with a bit of sriracha sauce. Delicious!
Join Egg Farmers of Canada and chefs from coast to coast, and share with us your favourite egg-inspired recipes using the hashtag #FarmToChef. Follow @eggsoeufs on Twitter and Instagram and like Get Cracking on Facebook, and tell us how you are experimenting with new tastes and techniques using eggs.