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

Felix Townsin, shown here with his sister, Lexi, who died on Oct. 19, 2019. Felix is a big part of a family initiative aimed at finding a cure for Blau Syndrome. (Photo contributed by the Townsin family)
Quest to cure Blau syndrome a family affair

John Stubbs student produces film for late little sister Lexi

An untitled Emily Carr painting of Finlayson Point was donated to the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria by brothers Ian and Andrew Burchett. The painting had been in their family for several decades. (Courtesy of the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria)
Newly public Emily Carr painting depicts well-known Victoria view

Painting among several donated to Art Gallery of Greater Victoria

An incident on Sooke Road is slowing traffic Wednesday evening. (Courtesy of Mona Hazeldine)
Sooke Road incident snarls evening traffic

Witnesses report two-vehicle collision

Janet Austin, lieutenant governor of B.C., was presented with the first poppy of the Royal Canadian Legion’s 2020 Poppy Campaign on Wednesday. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)
PHOTOS: B.C. Lieutenant Governor receives first poppy to kick off 2020 campaign

Janet Austin ‘honour and a privileged’ to receive the poppy

Soccer player Ethan Finnigan juggles the ball at Oak Bay High. The Grade 12 student was injured much of last year and was relying on his senior year to score a scholarship and play at university. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)
High school athletes remain on sidelines across B.C.

Recruiting for university on hiatus, future unknown

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count jumps by 287, another senior home outbreak

Two more deaths recorded, community outbreak in Okanagan

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Oct. 27

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

MMFN First Nation has said that it will restrict access to portion of Highway 28 that passes through the Nation’s land until a road use agreement is reached. (Black Press file photo)
Vancouver Island First Nation blocks highway access to logging trucks in Gold River

Mowachaht/Muchalaht First Nation restricting access for Western Forest Products pending road deal

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
Rescued bald eagle that came to life in B.C. man’s car had lead poisoning

Bird is on medication and recovering in rehab centre

The B.C. Centre for Disease control is telling people to keep an eye out for the poisonous death cap mushroom, which thrives in fall weather conditions. (Paul Kroeger/BCCDC)
Highly poisonous death cap mushroom discovered in Comox

This marks first discovery on Vancouver Island outside Greater Victoria area

Cowichan Search and Rescue set up near the Silver Bridge in Duncan on Wednesday morning, Oct. 28, 2020 to rescue a dog from the Cowichan River. (Citizen file)
Cowichan Search and Rescue save dog from icy Cowichan River

Search and Rescue’s swiftwater team was called in

Premier-elect John Horgan and cabinet ministers are sworn in for the first time at Government House in Victoria, July 18, 2017. (Arnold Lim/Black Press)
Pandemic payments have to wait for B.C. vote count, swearing-in

Small businesses advised to apply even if they don’t qualify

A raccoon paid a visit to a Toronto Tim Hortons on Oct. 22, 2020. (shecallsmedrew/Twitter)
Who are you calling a trash panda? Raccoon takes a shift at Toronto Tim Hortons

Tim Hortons said animal control was called as soon they saw the surprise visitor

Most Read