John Crook’s career started out over 20 years ago with a summer job at the Horseshoe Bay Boathouse. He had no idea that his start as a dishwasher and prep cook be the beginning of a lifelong education. The restaurant was a smaller operation and he was fortunate to work alongside either the Chef or sous chef and be surrounded by the freshest ingredients on a daily basis either from local producers or off the boats that docked daily at the front door. Schooled in classic techniques pushed him to achieve more every day and the kitchen’s motto was ‘never settle for just good enough’.
The following years saw John training all around the world. Having finished his Canadian Red Seal Certificate and apprenticeship under one of Canada’s most celebrated Chef Robert Allen Sulatycky, he moved to New York to master the Pastry and Baking Arts. John attended Peters Kump’s Cooking School, where he graduated with honors at the top of his class, while simultaneously working full time for world renowned, 3rd generation pastry Chef, Francois Payard. He started out as a stagier for Chef Payard and within 3 months was managing his Patisserie 6 days a week. He spent the rest of school sprinting from classroom to his real life training in the patisserie … “school can only teach you the basics because when you make pastry cream in school it’s for 3 people and in a professional kitchen it’s for 3000! At some point the science of pastries changes and you just can’t buy the kind of education you receive on the job.”
After working for Payard for 6 months John had the opportunity to work for the world-renowned Thomas Haas, thus ensuring that his goal of learning the Art of Pastries was well on its way. Under Haas’ wing, John spent the next 6 months working alongside a true master and technician. At some point all good things must come to an end and John’s working Visa ran out and he moved back to Vancouver.
John next joined the Four Seasons where he worked for the next 5 years studying every aspect of Hotel BOH management. His positions ranged from patisserie, pastry sous chef, pastry chef, and restaurant sous chef. Following the dream of one day owning his own restaurant John made the leap and began working at various restaurants in Vancouver. It was at Joe Fortes where John met his latest mentor…Emad Yacoub. Taking the position of Sous Chef at Yacoub’s flagship restaurant, Glowbal Grill and Satay bar, he began the intense training of how to own and properly run your own restaurant. This learning period spanned 5 years where John worked as Executive Chef, then Food and Beverage Manager and eventually as General Manager.
Along with his business partner Erik Heck, his goal now is to operate a fun and creative restaurant that celebrates the fantastic product available locally and to ultimately offer the same leadership and training all his mentors have given him.