Meet the Chef: Nathan Sundeen

Nathan Sundeen is putting in the work for a great performance on competition day for the Culinary Apprentice of the Year Award.

Nathan Sundeen was only 11 years old when his palate was hit by a delicious flavour combination at a small French bistro in Whistler where he had his first upscale dining experience with his family. Since then, he’s been drawn into the hospitality industry.

“There are daily opportunities to bring a little happiness to guests and colleagues alike through food,” said Nathan, who works as a junior sous chef at the Sutton Place Hotel Vancouver.

Earning his Red Seal earlier this year through the culinary arts program at Vancouver Community College, Nathan is one of the competitors for the Culinary Apprentice of the Year Award on November 2. He hopes to have a great performance, meet new people, and enjoy the process.

“Win or lose, you still win!” said Nathan. “You gain valuable experience, such as one-on-one time with your chef as you train, practicing new techniques, creating your own dishes, and gauging your strengths and areas for improvement.” 

Nathan has been inspired by every chef he’s worked for, in one way or another. “Many chefs, such as Adrian Beaty, Jeremy Keighley, JC Felicella, Alex Chen, Roger Ma, and Bobby Milheron, among others have had a profound effect on me,” he said. “Their time and attention have helped shape me into who I am today, both professionally and personally.”

He’s learned to prioritize tasks and set time goals, skills he’ll use during the upcoming competition. “It’s been rewarding to gain these valuable skills. I’m going to put in the work and hope for a great showing on competition day. Practice makes perfect!”

Nathan sees more competitions in his future and giving back to young chefs.

“In five years, I see myself moving up in position, participating in more competitions, travelling, and mentoring young chefs in the making,” said Nathan. “I’m not sure about in 10 years, but hopefully, it will be filled with success!”

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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