April 8, 2011
April 7, 2011 Victoria, BC - Ian Powell, Managing Director of the Inn at Laurel Point has added a few pounds lately, perhaps spending too much time in the kitchen sharing stories with his new executive chef and old friend, Takashi Ito.
In fact, Powell first hired Chef Ito 17 years ago to be executive chef at The Fairmont Palliser in Calgary, Alberta, when he was general manager there. Ito then moved to Victoria to again work with Powell and take over the helm of The Fairmont Empress's kitchen eight years ago. It was Powell and Ito's friendship, and Ito's desire to become more hands on in the kitchen that made this culinary stroll across the Inner Harbour possible. Ito is excited to be working for a smaller boutique style hotel, where he can set his own individual stamp on dining in Victoria and help mentor, along with Executive Sous Chef Patrick Gayler, a dynamic team of young chefs.
"I am in love with Victoria and Vancouver Island. The ingredients and culinary talent available to us are truly amazing. I knew if I wanted to keep growing as a chef, I either had to move on with Fairmont or find a new challenge here in the city," says Ito. "To be able to stay where I can indulge in my love of wine and local ingredients, and really focus on what I adore doing best - creating and teaching - this is a dream come true."
From the Inn at Laurel Point's point of view, it is also a match made in culinary heaven. They have hired a seasoned pro that has the youthful curiosity and passion about food and beverage experiences needed to maintain, and even grow, their spot as the culinary hotel of Victoria. A journey the Inn started four years ago.
"Victoria's dining scene is fiercely competitive and supportive at the same time. Our local chefs challenge each other to constantly exceed expectations. Not only is Chef Ito perfectly capable of stepping out in front, his black belt in Karate proves he doesn't shy away from a little competition," says Powell.
Another talent Ito brings with him is a passion for ice carving and he has competed across the country and around the world - both with his carving and his cooking. Along with overseeing the kitchen brigade for AURA waterfront restaurant + patio, Inn at Laurel Point's dining room, Ito is also responsible for in room dining, especially popular at the hotel due to its gorgeous suites with spectacular views and huge outdoor balconies, along with banquet and catering menus. Helping to position the Inn at Laurel Point as the top choice in Victoria for a celebration or meeting - as much for the food as for the views and amenities, is a goal.
And while Ito inspired dishes are making their way to AURA's menu, including an increase in vegetarian and vegan options, Chef Ito is planning to launch his new menu the end of May in time for the busy summer and patio season.
About the Inn at Laurel Point:
The Inn at Laurel Point is an elegant, Pacific Rim-inspired waterfront hotel located downtown on Victoria's Inner Harbour. It was the first carbon-neutral hotel in BC and, in 2007, Condé Nast Traveler rated the Inn as one of the top 25 hotels in Canada. For more information about the Inn at Laurel Point, visit www.laurelpoint.com.
Note to Editors: additional and high-resolution images of Chef Ito are available.
Deirdre Campbell, Tartan Group: 250-592-3838, 250-892-9199 (cell) or email@example.com
Avril Matthews, Inn at Laurel Point: 250-414-6731 or firstname.lastname@example.org