Recognized as the ‘jewel in Vancouver’s culinary crown’, West’s outstanding contemporary regional cuisine and seamless service has earned much critical acclaim. Pristine seasonal ingredients are sourced to deliver superbly conceived dishes offering modern interpretations of classics.
For those keen to observe ‘behind the scenes’ action and experience West from a unique perspective, the two ‘chef’s tables’ can be found directly adjacent to the presentation kitchen. One of the highlights of the dining room is a temperature-controlled wall of wine, and under it, the long cherry wood bar that gracefully anchors the conversation—where martinis and cocktails are composed of fresh herbs, juices and creative infusions.
Bobby Milheron first discovered his passion for the culinary arts on the East Coast, where he graduated from The Culinary Institute of Canada, in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island — which would lead to joining established kitchen brigades at restaurants in New England and Nova Scotia. Bobby then headed west and joined the team under Executive Chef Quang Dang at Vancouver’s Diva at the Met in 2008.
After stops on the line at Nu Restaurant and La Brasserie, he was reunited with Chef Dang as Sous Chef at West Restaurant in 2012, where he spent two more years honing his craft before joining the opening team at Boulevard Kitchen & Oyster Bar as Senior Sous Chef. During this time, Bobby went on to assist Executive Chef Alex Chen’s climb to the top of the podium at the 10th annual Gold Medal Plates regional culinary competition in Victoria in 2015.
A highly driven and creative talent, Bobby is an ardent supporter of local and peak-of-season ingredients and cultivates lasting relationships with farmers, ranchers, foragers and fishermen in his own backyard. He loves to provide his guests with fare that is both informed and defined by the bounty of fresh ingredients available to chefs working in the Pacific Northwest.
Class president at her west side high school, Maxime also demonstrates leadership in her pastry kitchen. She knew her career choice right from the get-go.
“Ever since I was little, I was intrigued by baking in my mother’s kitchen,” Maxime says. “Cookies and cakes were my specialty, to complement my Mum’s excellent savoury cooking – I grew up surrounded by food.”
From high school, Max went straight to the Pacific Institute of the Culinary Arts (PICA), specializing in pastry and winning a significant award along the way. Following graduation, she worked with several Vancouver food service organizations before landing at West in early 2016.
Max draws her inspiration from the seasons, utilizing Fraser and Okanagan valley fruits and “thinking just outside the box.” For the past 18 months ago, she has enjoyed working beside her predecessor and mentor, Rhonda Viani. “Working with Rhonda has been enormously inspiring,” she says. I have learnt so much about technique, letting natural flavours shine through, and that in the pastry arts, often less is more.”
Restaurant Director + Wine Director
Owen Knowlton moved from his native Ontario to Lake Louise, Alberta to follow his love of skiing; after joining the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise he quickly became enamored with the hospitality industry and his enthusiasm for wine began to grow.
Since then his career path has traveled through Australia’s prestigious bars, restaurants and wine regions before heading back to Canada to Banff’s renowned Rimrock Resort Hotel, where as Maitre’d & Sommelier, he was responsible for developing the highly acclaimed wine collection. Moving on to Vancouver, Knowlton was led by a desire to explore Canada’s hottest dining city and joined the long established Le Crocodile, as Maitre’d of the French fine-dining restaurant.
At West he now enjoys being part of the team who run one of Vancouver’s most progressive and celebrated restaurants. As Wine Director, Knowlton nurtures and grows the acclaimed selection adding carefully to the five hundred label list, always conscious to pass on value, quality and diversity when selecting new wines. His ambitions are to develop the wine list and educate the service team to assist guests in discovering new food and wine combinations that will ultimately heighten the dining experience at West.
Sommelier of the Year, Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival, 2011
Giovanni Giardino started in the hospitality industry in his hometown of Winnipeg before going west to Vancouver in 1992, he landed at South Granville’s Carnegie’s Bar and Grill where he tended bar until the turn of the century. Giovanni then set his sights on one of the most critically acclaimed and highly awarded restaurants in Vancouver, West, where he tended the cherry wood bar for five years. In 2005 he enriched his development as the Barman at Le Crocodile with the inimitable Michel Jacob.
In 2008, Giovanni was invited to join the opening team at Campagnolo Restaurant as Bar Manager. Giovanni’s extensive knowledge and gracious approach to customer service earned him the coveted Vancouver Magazine ‘Premier Crew’ service award in 2011. Giovanni’s expertise was further recognized when he accepted the position of General Manager at Campagnolo Restaurant in 2012.
Giovanni took over as GM at Campagnolo Roma in the fall of 2013, and celebrated winning best Casual Italian restaurant at the Vancouver Magazine awards in 2014. That same year, Giovanni seamlessly rejoined Owen Knowlton’s team as Restaurant Manager, where he continues to enrich guests’ dining experiences nightly, utilizing one of the finest brigades in Vancouver’s stellar dining community.
Stacey Ackerman grew up on a Saskatchewan farm and attributes his love of all things fresh and seasonal to his upbringing. Today, he relies on herbs and fruits for tincturing his compelling cocktails at West.
Although he started his career in the hospitality industry as a cook, Stacey draws from 25 years of bartending experience gained at a wide range of restaurants. For a decade, he was head bartender at Kitsilano’s legendary Urban Well. Since 2007, he bartended at the Bacchus Bar at the Wedgewood Hotel.
Now Stacey enjoys running one of the finest bars in Vancouver and developing a distinctive cocktail program of his own, finding inspiration from the diversity of cultures, styles, and flavours abundant in the city.
Stacey’s goal at West is to create an air of excitement at the bar, which many consider to be the most beautiful in the city. “I love the diversity of people that I meet in Vancouver, many of whom have become my friends and guests. I love chatting with them across the bar. This is my life’s passion.”