Cooking is clearly in Paul Moran’s blood—that’s probably why he spent so much time scrubbing pots at his first job as a dishwasher at a small West Kelowna eatery when he was young. Since then he’s graduated to Red Seal status, has travelled the world in search of new techniques and flavours, and won myriad culinary competitions along the way. Now he’s hoping to include the title of Top Chef Canada among those achievements.

Paul currently resides as the executive chef at Tofino Resort + Marina, where he still tries to forage as many ingredients as he can and celebrates the tight-knit community of the Vancouver Island district’s culinary scene. 01

The Pointe Restaurant at the Wickaninnish Inn

Executive chef Carmen Ingham serves guests intricate plates of locally sourced seafood, game and produce as they overlook the water at this elegant eatery. Along with using farm-fresh and organic ingredients the featured recipes boast handcrafted techniques and creative alternatives to your standard fare.

See more: Top Chef Canada Restaurant Guide

Wolf in The Fog

Honour the ingredients and let the food speak for itself. That’s chef Nicholas Nutting’s motto at this upscale, lodge-inspired restaurant where gorgeous views and seasonal fare abound. It’s not out of the ordinary to find locally foraged mushrooms or salmon from a town fisherman on this diverse menu, and the eating experience is one to phone home about as a result.

 

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New to the dinner menu… Albacore tuna, pork jowl, seaweed, bok choy, sesame mayo #wolfinthefog #wolffood #tofino #wolfpack

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Shed Tofino

Local farms and waters help inspire the fast-casual fare at this hot spot, where all eggs and poultry are free range and beef, pork and chicken come from sustainable sources. The menu features cheeky items like “Brittany’s Spears” (deep fried dill pickles) and international offerings like Soto Ayam (Indonesian style chicken soup), but it’s the soft serve ice cream that gets Paul every time. He counts the Soft Serve Pink Unicorn Daiquiri among his favourites.

Sobo

This popular “sophisticated bohemian” eatery started as a food truck in 2003 and grew from there. Today Chef Lisa Ahier’s grassroots cooking is complimented with biodynamic wines, craft brews and local producers. So what does Paul dive into when he has the chance to frequent the place? “[The] key lime pie is the deadliest,” he raves.

Lil’ Ronnie’s BBQ

Head to one of this barbecue joint’s two locations—the seasonal one downtown or the year-round beach resort location—for some authentically smoked brisket, ribs, turkey and sausage. These guys offer meat by the pound or hand-held sandwiches stuffed to the brim, making this place a must-stop for any and all carnivores.

 

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Our smoked Hollandaise will blow your mind and sooth your soul. Pictured here being spooned over the Brisket Benny!

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Watch Top Chef Canada Mondays at 10 PM E/P on Food Network Canada.