Culinary Stage

Watch the region’s top chefs cook a signature dish in an intimate and interactive setting with a focus on locally sourced food and a fusion theme. Mouths will water!

Here are the seven chefs that will be cooking on the culinary stage with a few more to announced soon.


Chef Curtis Luk

Born in Hong Kong and raised in Toronto, Curtis discovered his love for cooking while studying at the University of Waterloo.  After graduating, he decided to make his ambitions a reality and entered head-first into the restaurant industry by washing dishes at some of top restaurants in town.

Following jobs at acclaimed Canadian restaurants such as George in Toronto and Atelier in Ottawa, Curtis fulfilled a long-time goal and competed on Top Chef Canada, where he met Chef Trevor Bird.  Drawn by the potential of ingredients on the west coast, Curtis helped Trevor open Fable Restaurant in Kitsilano after the show aired.

After Fable, Curtis went on to head the kitchens of The Parker and Bambudda before realizing his idea of a west coast-focused restaurant that specializes in seasonally changing tasting menus, where he now resides as chef and business partner with sommelier Chase MacLeod. The stunning space at Mission Kits fits in with his vision perfectly!

Chef Danilo Ibarra

Born in Nicaragua, Chef Danilo Ibarra spent most of his childhood in the capital city of Managua and San Jose Costa Rica. By the age of 12, Danilo Ibarra immigrated to Vancouver with his family. As a child he developed his lifelong passion for food by cooking with his grandmother.

His culinary studies began at Vancouver Community College, where he earned a culinary degree with distinction and a Red Seal.

After working and apprenticing under French chefs at the hermitage and La regalade, he decided to move on and work as sous chef at the fish house, Horizons and Glowbal grill. Chef Danilo took a job as an Executive Chef at The Blue Canoe Waterfront Restaurant where he worked along with the farmers and fisherman of Richmond. By building a reputation of fresh, local and great flavours Chef Ibarra managed to hold the number one spot for best restaurant in Richmond for 4 years.

Today, Danilo is Executive Chef at The American Grille at the Vancouver Airport Marriot Hotel.

Chef Danilo also spends his time teaching cooking classes, performing cooking demonstrations in festivals and has been featured on TV, magazines and radio shows.

In his time off he loves to spend time with his family, working out and cooking at home.

“Food is my life and cooking brings me complete joy.”

Chef Jan-Michael Reyes

Loco Ono chef and owner, Jan-Michael Reyes developed his love for cooking at an early age. As a child, JM learned from the absolute best teacher, his mother. JM learned to cook while observing and helping his mother prepare many Filipino dishes and baked treats for family parties and events. As a young adult, JM spent his days working in various kitchens throughout Vancouver then ultimately left the culinary world to pursue a different career path and raise his children. Fast forward 10+ years and the desire to get back to his first love emerged while traveling to Hawaii and the west coast of the Unites States. JM gravitated to Hawaiian cuisine because of its strong similarities to the food he grew up on. Finally, in June 2015 Loco Ono was born and has since sold out every pop-up restaurant and event receiving high praise from its customers.


Chef John Chang

Over the last decade, John Chang has become a master of roti-making. Known for the best roti in greater Vancouver, John owns JC Roti Factory, a growing wholesale supplier for the past five years. As a veteran of the food and beverage industry (for over 20 years), John has worked in many well-known Chinese, Japanese, Malaysian, and European restaurants. Throughout the course of his culinary journey, John has also become an award winner of numerous food competitions. The most recent ones were ‘Best Of West’ won 2 years in a row.

Chef Daryle Nagata

Richmond’s own Chopped Canada Champion Daryle Nagata is of Japanese & Scottish Heritage. He is a recipient of numerous international & Canadian awards and designations. He has developed his skills in some of the finest hotels from London’s Savoy Hotel , La Reserve Geneva , Shangri la Pudong , Osaka Hilton, Gran Melia Jakarta to Chef Consultant for Team Canada 2008 Beijing Olympics. Prior to Joining the Blue Canoe Restaurant in Steveston, Daryle was executive chef for CP Hotels, Fairmont Hotels  and the Pan Pacific Vancouver to name a few.

He is a strong proponent to fresh and local and was a grass roots trail blazer in initiating and supporting local farmers, markets, forgers and fishermen alike.

Chef Kimiko Suzuki

Kimiko Suzuki loves sharing her passion for locally sourced, simple and delicious dishes. Born and raised in Wakayama, Japan, she enjoyed the freshness, sweetness and richness of vegetables picked from her grandfather’s garden plot and learned true home-style Japanese cooking techniques in her mother’s kitchen. Kimiko teaches at Cook Culture and Well Fed Studio in North Vancouver and UBC Farm and a contribute food writer for Vancouver Shinpo, local Japanese newspaper.

Chef Max Straczek

Chef Max Straczek started working in kitchens when he was 13 years old, starting as a dishwasher and working his way through the ranks. After working in Vancouver for some time when starting out his culinary career he spent five years abroad with the goal of expanding his culinary knowledge and abilities. Time was spent in London, Spain, Cypress and other countries before spending time in Poland where he helped to open their first Michelin Star restaurant. Upon return to Vancouver and for the past four years, he has been working with Fable and is currently the concept chef for Fable and Fable Diner.

Chef Pailin Chongchitnant

Pailin Chongchitnant was born and raised in Thailand where she spent much of her childhood in her family’s kitchen learning the art of Thai cooking. She went on to train as a professional chef at Le Cordon Bleu, San Francisco. With a passion in educating and inspiring others to cook, she created a YouTube cooking show “Hot Thai Kitchen,” which has become the most popular English-language Thai cooking show on the web. She also cohosts One World Kitchen, a cooking series airing nationally on Gusto TV, and is the author of the bestselling and award-winning Thai cookbook Hot Thai Kitchen: Demystifying Thai Cuisine with Authentic Recipes to Make at Home.

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Raj Thandi

Raj Thandhi is a South Asian lifestyle writer with a passion for preserving generational Indian recipes. For the last 6 years she has written about food, culture, and fashion with an Indian touch at She strives to create quick, easy, and healthy Indian recipes.

Chef Tammy Wood

Tammy Wood is a Master Chef Canada,  Season Two, Top contender!  Since the show, she has become a published cookbook author, a food editor, Host of her own Wild Game Cooking Show, and the newest member of the Cabela’s Canada Pro Staff Team. An avid hunter and passionate chef, Tammy has combined two loves into one fantastic career.

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