The iconic hotel welcomes four new chefs to Q Restaurant, Q Bar, and Tea at the Empress.
VICTORIA, B.C. – Canada’s renowned Castle on the Coast, Fairmont Empress, welcomes four new culinary leadership members to serve its award-winning food and beverage outlets, including Q Restaurant, Q Bar and the hotel’s pastry division.
Helmed by Executive Chef Morgan Wilson, the hotel’s culinary operation comprises more than 80 culinary professionals across its restaurants, bars, banquet venues and pastry kitchen, producing hyper-local and seasonal menus reflective of the regional abundance grown, harvested and found throughout Vancouver Island. The team welcomes Steven Fernandes as Executive Sous Chef, Tyler Paquette as the Q at the Empress Restaurant Chef, Lucas Gurtner as Sous Chef and Gerald Tan as the Executive Pastry Chef.
“We are infusing our culinary team with fresh inspiration as we mark our 115th anniversary,” said Morgan Wilson, Executive Chef of Fairmont Empress. “We are always seeking to innovate our programming and menus—and are very excited to bring together a group of talented and experienced experts to further enhance our vision. They complement our existing talent, each with their own style and passion for the culinary arts. We cannot wait for our guests to come and try some of our new offerings such as Sunset Sips, a new evening cocktail and culinary experience.”
Steven Fernandes, Executive Sous Chef
Fernandes joins Fairmont Empress’ team as Executive Sous Chef, leading the culinary team alongside Executive Chef Morgan Wilson. Under the leadership of Chef Wilson, Fernandes will oversee In-Room Dining, Banquets, Q Restaurant, Q Bar, and the ongoing development of the hotel’s iconic Afternoon Tea. Fernandes has been a part of the Fairmont brand for the past 11 years, most recently serving as the Executive Sous Chef at Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge. As part of Fairmont Empress’ continuously evolving spirit, Fernandes feels that the hotel is a trendsetter for Greater Victoria, satisfying his passion for creating new flavours for others to discover.
Tyler Paquette, Q at the Empress, Restaurant Chef
Paquette joins Fairmont Empress as Restaurant Chef at the signature Q Restaurant and Q Bar, where he will lead the culinary team and oversee the menu development of both dining venues. Prior to his role at Fairmont Empress, Paquette held the role of Sous Chef at the lauded Langdon Hall in Ontario, where he managed a culinary brigade that saw the restaurant rise the ranks to the No.4 Restaurant in the nation on the coveted Canadas100Bestlist. Hailing from Vancouver Island, Paquette is no stranger to the Victoria community. At a young age, he knew that the culinary industry was his calling, finding the constant search for refinement and precision to motivate his career. In his free time, Paquette enjoys travelling and foraging for wild plants, affirming his passion for discovering new culinary innovations while respecting the surrounding bounty of ingredients rooted in nature.
Lucas Gurtner, Q at the Empress, Sous Chef
With more than 15 years of culinary experience and multiple prestigious awards within the industry, Lucas Gurtner joins Fairmont Empress as Sous Chef and the supporting lead of Q Restaurant and Q Bar. Beginning his culinary career with an apprenticeship in 2008, Gartner found himself at the Relais & Châteaux luxury Sonora Resort, where he moved up the culinary ranks from Junior Sous Chef to Executive Chef and finally, as the resort’s Culinary and Beverage Director, becoming the youngest Executive Chef in the Relais & Châteaux portfolio at the age of 27. He then made his way up north to the remote luxury Nimmo Bay Wilderness Resort, where his passion for local harvesting and sustainability harmonized the resort’s deep roots in sustainable culinary philosophies. A Victoria native, Gartner grew up on the island and credits his father, a former Suisse Certified Chef de Cuisine, as his most considerable influence and mentor who has helped shape his career into what it is today. His new role marks a homecoming for the Chef, one that he looks forward to.
Gerald Tan, Executive Pastry Chef
Gerald Tran joins Fairmont Empress as Executive Pastry Chef, overseeing the preparation of desserts and pastries throughout the hotel, including an integral role in the execution of the world-renowned Afternoon Tea at Fairmont Empress. Born and raised in Manila, Philippines, Tan began his culinary career studying Culinary Arts at De La Salle University. He eventually made his way west and moved to Canada in 2009, where he started working as a First Cook at the Hyatt Regency Calgary. He continued his work in the industry and most recently held the role of Executive Pastry Chef at the luxury five-star St. Regis Hotel in Toronto.
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