When Mark Davie was young, he never dreamed he would become one the executive chefs of a prestigious university club.
In his home country of Wales, Davie’s mother owned a guest house where the then 13-year-old would help move beds and cook for the roughly 30 guests the house could accommodate.
“My mother always said ‘people have to eat,’ so here I am and they’re still eating,” laughed Davie.
From Wales, his passion for food continued to grow as he worked in various restaurants. He is now the executive chef at the University Club of Victoria and the president of the Canadian Culinary Federation Victoria branch. The branch is comprised of cooking professionals, including chefs, cooks or apprentices, along with industry and partners that mentor youth and give back the community.
This year it is celebrating its 50th anniversary.
The federation was founded in 1963 and had its first gathering in Edmonton. The Victoria branch followed in its footsteps, opening two years after.
Originally, Davie described the federation as an “old boys club,” where chefs could get away from the hectic life of the kitchen to be with other like-minded individuals. Now, it has turned into a place of education with roughly 23 junior chefs and 73 members.
“Back in those days, everything was a big secret. These days, we’ll tell everybody anything,” said Davie of recipes.
“People like to have different food. You can’t keep going and having the same food over and over again. You got to keep moving and B.C. is the best in the world for that. We’re very lucky with where you live. You can go and travel the world and we still have some of the best restaurants right here.”
In celebration of the anniversary, the Victoria branch will be hosting a dinner at Government House (1401 Rockland Ave.) The dinner includes food from chefs, beverages and entertainment.
Tickets are $125 per person and can be purchased online at ccfccvictoria.ca/events.