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

Victoria council avoids 2020 deficit by deferring over $20 million in capital projects

The city will move ahead with hiring for two new positions

PHOTOS: VicPD hoping to reunite stolen goods with owners after seizing items during traffic stop

Items recovered after officers stopped a vehicle driven by known property offender

UPDATED: Three injured in Douglas Street crash involving impaired driver

Driver failed sobriety test, passenger arrested for possession of a controlled substance

VIDEO: U.S. Air Force pilot does fly-by for B.C. son amid COVID border separation

Sky-high father-son visit plays out over White Rock Pier

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Aug. 4

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Should it be mandatory to wear masks when out in public?

B.C. is witnessing an alarming rise in the number of cases of… Continue reading

RCMP looking for missing teen in Comox Valley

Jenessa Shacter was last seen going for a walk in downtown Courtenay

B.C. wildfire crews have battled 111 blazes in the last seven days

Twenty-nine fires remain active, as of Friday (Aug 7)

‘We don’t make the rules’: Okanagan pub owner says staff harassed over pandemic precautions

‘If you have six people plus a baby, guess what? That’s seven’ - West Kelowna Kelly O’Bryan’s owner

T-Rex earns big bids at B.C. dino auction

Over 500 dino-themed lots sold to buyers from across North America

Remembering Brent Carver: A legend of Broadway who kept his B.C. roots strong

Over the years, the Cranbrook thespian earned his place as one of Canada’s greatest actors

Statistics Canada says country gained 419,000 jobs in July

National unemployment rate was 10.9 per cent in July, down from the 12.3 per cent recorded in June

Most Read