Meet the Chef: Joshua Tocher
Joshua Tocher is an artist at heart, which is what drew him to the culinary industry.
“Cooking allows me to express myself creatively without being a starving artist,” said Joshua, who works for RauDZ Creative Concepts at Micro Bar & Bites in Kelowna. “When I began working with Chris Braun, I saw how he cooked with devotion and focus, consistently presenting beautiful food arrangements. His passion inspired me.”
Chef Braun encouraged Joshua to go to cooking school. “I told him that if I went back to school, I wanted to be his apprentice,” recalled Joshua. “And he told me that I was the only person in the kitchen he would like to apprentice. This sent a rush of excitement through me, and for the first time, I felt like my life had purpose.”
And now Joshua’s one of the participants in the Culinary Apprentice of the Year competition in Vancouver on November 2, where he hopes to meet like-minded people and become more involved in the culinary community.
But he’s also focused on having a great performance. “Competitions allow you to discover your flaws and motivate you to improve,” said Joshua. He’s preparing by doing practice runs of his menu with several chefs.
Joshua has been inspired by Chris Braun, Roy Choi, and David Chang, who are well-accomplished people who follow their passion while still being humble and down-to-earth.
“My biggest reward and biggest challenge so far in my careers are one and the same: Learning that it’s not about where I cook to make my resume look good,” said Johsua. “Rather, it’s the people I cook with, the ones who have my back and want to see me succeed, pushing me in the right direction.”
In the future, Joshua sees himself owning a small restaurant that focuses on one style of food, maybe going back to his roots of Italian.
“I started my apprenticeship making wood burning forno oven pizzas. I had a lot of fun making the dough and starting that fire every morning. There was something very organic about the whole process. I could quite possibly open up a place doing that again.”
The Culinary Apprentice of the Year is sponsored by Chefs’ Table Society of BC, Vancouver Community College, and Industry Training Authority, along with BC Chefs Association, North Vancouver Island Chefs Association, Okanagan Chefs Association, and Victoria Chefs Association. Additional partners include Russell Hendrix, Intercity Packers, Gindara Sablefish, Cacao Barry, Cactus Club Cafe, Cascadia Tableware, Icon Fine Wines & Spirits, Chef & Co, and House of Knives.
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