No. 33: The Farmer’s Apprentice
Vancouver’s leading locavore restaurant found its inspiration overseas.
After eating his way through Northern Europe and doing a three-month stage at Belgium’s In De Wulf, David Gunawan returned home determined to give the bounty of BC a new Nordic hayand-whey makeover.
The whimsical, 30-seat restaurant lined with barn board and jarred preserves earns its name honestly: daily tasting menus are determined by whatever random boxes of produce and protein are delivered to the back door.
Having recently expanded into an adjacent wine bar and downtown diner, Gunawan can now coax his organic suppliers into planting a few extra rows of cabbage or what have you, but he mostly makes do with what he receives. The open kitchen has the feel of a mad scientist’s lair—with turnips smoking in the Big Green Egg, fermented beets bubbling and meadow-fresh beef being slowly dehydrated.
Petite dishes served on split logs defy expectations, delightfully. Desserts usually contain vegetables, while blood pudding might be robed in chocolate. Wines are natural. Cocktails are shaken with fresh herbs. Groovy Motown soundtracks spin on turntables.