When long-time chef Nicholas Waters first started Toque Catering in 2013, he never expected it to take off

  • May. 8, 2020 8:00 a.m.
Desert sample from Toque Catering
Photos by Lia Crowe
Meal example from Toque Catering
Photos by Lia Crowe
Meal example from Toque Catering

When long-time chef Nicholas Waters first started Toque Catering in 2013, he never expected it to take off.

“To be honest, I thought I’d be doing one function a weekend,” he says with a laugh. “I didn’t think anything of it. Then all of a sudden, it turned into an animal.”

Toque grew from just five full-timers three years ago to a staff almost 30 strong today, and the wealth of talent in Nick’s kitchen is enviable.

“We run with 10 to 12 executive chefs full time in the kitchen,” he says. “It’s one of the best teams I’ve ever worked with.”

About the same time Toque took off, Nick relocated to Metchosin, and the locale has been ideal both personally and professionally.

“The bigger we’ve gotten, the more local we’ve become,” he says.

Toque is booked at least a year in advance, so Nick and his team have been able to approach local farmers well ahead of season to plan out orders, translating to reliable income for the small agriculture sector, as well as premium ingredients.

And though Nick says he doesn’t want to grow too big too fast, there are definitely some new and exciting directions coming down the pipe.

“Stay tuned!”

The 7 Sins

Envy:

Whose shoes would you like to walk in?

I am on my own journey in life and wouldn’t change a thing, good or bad, but I would love to be Michel Bras in Normandy, France for a day. He has been my favourite chef in the world since I was 18! His book is still better than most out there and it’s almost 20 years old.

Gluttony:

What is the food you could eat over and over again?

That is definitely a hard one, but I would say gyoza. No matter whether I’m at a pub, home or a high-end restaurant, 10 out of 10 times I will order it if it’s on the menu.

Greed:

You’re given $1 million that you have to spend selfishly. What would you spend it on?

I would travel all through Europe and eat and drink and just eat and drink until it was gone. Spain, Portugal, France, Italy — let’s face it, the money would be gone by then!

wrath:

Pet Peeves?

Everything, almost … but the freezers and coolers being a mess has to be the one that makes me think I’m going to have a heart attack.

sloth:

Where would you spend a long time doing nothing?

Spain.

Pride:

What is the one thing you’re secretly proud of?

It won’t be a secret anymore if I say this, but it would be the team — chefs, dishwashers, operations, planners, on-site service staff, rentals and anyone else I’m missing — and the culture we’ve been able to create at Toque. I am grateful every day that I get to work alongside a very, very talented group. I actually like working with them all and don’t have a bad thing to say. They’ve all become my family.

Lust:

What makes your heart beat faster?

Being on-site when shit hits the fan — like a barbecue falls off the top and an oven doesn’t work, etc. That shit turns me on when you come out of it unscathed and everything went perfectly, except your soul becomes a little darker!

I love the unknown and being able to make something out of nothing. The best was four or five years ago when the guys got me an Easy-Bake Oven for Christmas. They said, “Well, it’s on. Let’s see what you can do with this!’”

Food

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Roots and Blues online festival live tonight on Black Press Media

Tune in to Black Press Media to watch the festival live Aug. 14, 15 and 16

Okanagan COVID-19 case count growth slows

BCCDC data shows a stark contrast between Okanagan-specific numbers released in July and August

Okanagan Correctional Centre outbreak due to training session: Interior Health

Interior Health said in a statement the staff members were at an off-site training session

Morning Start: A Texas law allows astronauts to vote from space

Your morning start for Friday, August 14, 2020

Piano set up in Penticton downtown

Initiative an effort to bring music and creativity to the streets

‘Don’t kill my mom’: Ryan Reynolds calls on young British Columbians to be COVID-smart

‘Deadpool’ celebrity responds to premier’s call for social influence support

Captain Horvat’s OT marker lifts Canucks to 4-3 win over Blues

Vancouver takes 2-0 lead in best-of-7 NHL playoff series with St. Louis

Vernon pedestrian struck dies from injuries

Emergency responders are on scene on Main Street near the CIBC, traffic affected

UPDATE: Fire in Lake Country a “smoke chase”

A water bomber reportedly took off from Penticton and is on the way to Lake Country

Kelowna man convicted of not paying taxes after turbulent trial

Man claims he doesn’t meet the definition of a ‘person’ under the federal Income Tax Act

Accused in Kelowna’s 2018 Canada Day killing granted bail more than 1.5 years later

Esa Carriere was stabbed to death during the Canada Day fireworks in downtown Kelowna in 2018

Widow of slain Red Deer doctor thanks community for support ahead of vigil

Fellow doctors, members of the public will gather for a physically-distanced vigil in central Alberta

Protesters showcase massive old yellow cedar as Port Renfrew area forest blockade continues

9.5-foot-wide yellow cedar measured by Ancient Forest Alliance campaigners in Fairy Creek watershed

Most Read