Q&A with Bryan Cruz, Chef de Cuisine, The Marc Restaurant, Edmonton, Alberta

Q&A with Bryan Cruz, Chef de Cuisine, The Marc Restaurant, Edmonton, Alberta

Q&A with Bryan Cruz, Chef de Cuisine, The Marc Restaurant, Edmonton
May 28, 2013
  • Bryan Cruz, Chef de Cuisine, The Marc Restaurant, Edmonton, Alberta

    Education: Northern Alberta Institute of Technology

  • Career Path: Chef de Cuisine, The Marc Restaurant; Sous Chef, Sorrentino’s Bistro Bar; Cook/Sous Chef, Red Ox Inn; Cook, Sorrentino’s Bistro Bar; Cook, Mikado Sushi & Robata. (all restaurants in Edmonton)
  • Years of Experience as a Chef: 9

What are your earliest memories of cooking?

I was raised by my grandmother and my uncles in the Philippines and I remember bits and pieces of watching them, whether it was making the day’s meal, or preparing for Christmas and New Year’s Eve, which also involved a few more people.

Why do you think you were drawn to a culinary career?

When we moved to Canada, my first restaurant job was cooking hamburgers while I was in high school. From there, I went to a steakhouse, bussing tables and eventually moving up to expediting and running food for the kitchen. That was the first time I worked with cooks. I remember asking the sous chef back then whether I should get a job there or go to cooking school. I guess it started there.

How would you describe your restaurant?

The Marc is a French bistro, very casual. With the food, we do classic French cuisine with a bit of a modern update, while still maintaining the bistro theme.

If you knew you were eating your last meal, what would you have?

I guess a few things: lechon and pork sinigang, some good sushi and sashimi, a big bag of Lay’s sour cream and onion potato chips, a nice rare steak with a seared foie gras on top, some barbecue chicken and ripe mangoes.

What is your philosophy about food?

It has to taste good first and then look good. Keeping a minimalist approach is something I’m still constantly working on.

Where do you go to dine out?

I don’t get to eat out as much as I’d like. I do enjoy going for dim sum with my family on a Sunday over at Golden Rice Bowl in Edmonton. I also like checking out a few noodle shops.

What is your favourite ingredient?

Wild mushrooms, like chanterelles and porcini. I’ve been using a lot of them lately.

Who were your biggest influences or inspirations for becoming a chef?

In the beginning, I didn’t have a lot. A couple years and a few cookbooks later, and also thankfully for television and the Internet, I found them. People like Alain Passard, Michel Bras, Thomas Keller, just to name a few.

If you knew you were going to be exiled to a desert island, what three ingredients or food items would you take with you?

Rice, pork, and kalamansi. And I hope there’s fresh water where I’m going.

What do you think is the most overrated food trend right now?

The use, or rather overuse, of edible flowers and wild herbs on everything.

“The Marc offers Bryan a room to put his fingerprints on French bistro food and lead a collaborative young kitchen. We, in turn, get a passion and energy that is disciplined and thoughtful. In addition to his patience, I believe Bryan’s single most important attribute is his palate and his ability to blend flavours, textures and layers so well. Youthful energy and old soul sensibilities all in one.” – Patrick Saurette, Owner, The Marc.

Is there any type of cuisine that you would like to experiment with?

Japanese kaiseki cuisine.

What are the essential ingredients for success in the foodservice business today?

Hard work, consistency, a lot of patience, and love for what you do.

If you could invite any person to dinner, alive or dead, who would it be?

My late grandparents, my mom and my uncles. I would cook anything and everything that I have learned to cook. To be able to sit down with all of them and listen to their opinions are what matters to me.

What strategies do you use to attract and retain good kitchen staff?

Giving them creative freedom and allowing them to move around in the kitchen. Everyone has high standards and everyone watches out for each other.

Can you share a tip or two for controlling food costs?

Good ordering practices and keeping the minimum inventory.

What’s in your fridge right now?

Milk, eggs, a bit of fruit.

Do you have any culinary guilty pleasures? Food treats that you couldn’t live without?

Pizza. Or a big bag of potato chips.

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