5 Vancouver chefs share recipes, role models for International Women’s Day

March 5, 2024

In honour of IWD, we asked five powerhouse female chefs to share a few favourite recipes — along with a shout-out to the role models who helped and inspired them along the way.

Get the latest from Aleesha Harris straight to your inbox Sign Up

Article content

is March 8. The day is earmarked as a day to celebrate “the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women.”

So, we asked five powerhouse female chefs making a name for themselves in a competitive industry to share a few favourite recipes — along with offering a shout-out to the role models who have helped and inspired them along the way. 

Advertisement 2

Story continues below

Article content

Article content

Coconut Pandan Basque Cheesecake

Recipe by: Isabelle Valencia, head pastry chef,

Role model: “My chef role model is Nikki Tam, pastry chef at our sister restaurant in Yaletown, Minami. I worked under her for five years. She taught me so much about desserts and management. She is one of the reasons why I am in this position.”

Isabelle Valencia, Head Pastry Chef, Miku.

1 3/4 cup (430 mL) soft cream cheese

2/3 cup (160 mL) sugar

3 eggs (room temperature)

3/4 cup (180 mL) heavy cream

1/2 cup (125 mL) coconut milk

1 tbsp (15 mL) all-purpose flour

2 tsp (10 mL) pandan extract

Preheat the oven to 450F. In a large mixing bowl, cream together cream cheese and sugar. Scrape down and add 1 egg at a time, mix until combined.

In a separate bowl, slowly whisk together the heavy cream, coconut milk, and flour. This is to reduce lumps. Add pandan extract. Add the coconut pandan mixture to the cream cheese. Mix until combined Pour into an 8-inch cake pan lined with parchment paper, and tap pan to get rid of any air bubbles.

Bake at 450 F for 30 minutes. The cheesecake should jiggle after baking. Cool down and chill in the fridge for a minimum of 1½ hours, preferably overnight. Dust with icing sugar (optional), slice, and serve.

Advertisement 3

Story continues below

Article content

Serves 6-8 (depending on size of slices).

Ube Mochi Waffles.

Ube Mochi Waffles

Recipe by: Jessi Morton, pastry chef,

Jessi Morton, Pastry Chef, Savio Volpe.

Role model: “Natsuko Shoji is my favourite chef. She is the chef/owner of Ete, and has won Asia’s Best Female Chef (2022) and Best Pastry Chef (2020). Her perseverance to thrive in Japan’s male-dominated gastronomic culinary scene is really inspiring to me.”

1/2 cup (125 mL) mochiko (sweet rice flour)

6 tbsp (90 mL) ube halaya (purple yam jam)

4 tbsp (60 mL) coconut cream

2 tsp (10 mL) vanilla

1 tsp (5 mL) salt

1/2 tsp (2.5 mL) baking powder

1/2 egg

Mix everything together with a spatula and rest in fridge overnight. The next morning preheat waffle machine to med-high and cook 3-5 minutes.

White Chocolate Coconut Whipped Cream

1 cup (250 mL) white chocolate

3/4 cup (180 mL) coconut cream

1 package Knox powdered gelatin

1/8 cup + 4 tsp (50 mL) water

1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla

1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt

1/2 cup (125 mL) heavy cream

Chef’s note: Make the day before. This recipe holds up to five days in the fridge.

Put the cold water in a small bowl and sprinkle the gelatin over the top. Heat the coconut cream until scalding then dissolve the bloomed gelatin in, making sure all the clumps are dissolved. Strain and pour over white chocolate, vanilla, and salt. Set in the fridge overnight with a piece of plastic covering the surface.

Article content

Advertisement 4

Story continues below

Article content

The next morning, measure 1/2 cup of the pre-made base. Whip in the bowl of a stand mixer until smooth, scraping down the sides. Slowly stream in heavy cream and whip until medium peaks form. Serve with fresh mango or your desired fruits and toasted coconut. Enjoy!

Serves 1 to 2.

Cauliflower with Green Harissa Sauce and Black Pepper Yogurt.

Cauliflower with Green Harissa Sauce and Black Pepper Yogurt

Recipe by: Jenn Dore, sous chef,

Jenn Dore, Sous Chef, Published on Main.

Role model: “Someone who I look to as a role model in my career is Ashley Cawdle, a chef that I worked for in Calgary several years ago and am still friends with now. As a young cook who was just beginning my career, it was impactful to have someone like Ashley helping guide me in the kitchen and just navigate this industry. … On top of being incredibly talented, Ashley really impacted my thinking in terms of leadership in the kitchen. … She is one of the most talented meat cookers/butchers/sauce cooks I know, and I am grateful that I was able to have someone like Ash as a role model so early in my career, and especially as a young female.”

3 tbsp (45 mL) black pepper yogurt

2 tbsp (30 mL) green harissa sauce

Advertisement 5

Story continues below

Article content

1 1/2 cups (5 oz) cauliflower florets, cut into bite-sized pieces

1/4 cup (60 mL) butter

1 tbsp (15 mL) fresh lemon juice

1 oz (28 g) shaved fresh cauliflower

5-7 Italian parsley leaves

5-7 sprigs of cilantro

1 tbsp (15 mL) whey honey vinaigrette

2 tbsp (30 mL) roasted almonds, sliced

In a small bowl, mix the shaved cauliflower, parsley, cilantro springs and almonds together, dress with the whey honey vinaigrette.

In a pan over medium high heat, brown the butter. Once butter is brown, as cauliflower florets and season with salt. Cook cauliflower in the pan, rotating the pieces until deep golden brown on all sides, and the cauliflower is tender. drain excess butter, and season the cauliflower with fresh lemon juice.

Spread the black pepper yogurt on the plate, and drizzle the green harissa around the yogurt. Place the roasted cauliflower on top of the yogurt and harissa. Cover the roasted cauliflower with the fresh cauliflower and herb salad.

Black Pepper Yogurt

2 cups (500 mL) whole milk

1/3 cup (80 mL) heavy cream

2 tbsp (30 mL) toasted black peppercorns

2 tbsp (30 mL) cultured yogurt (no additives)

Advertisement 6

Story continues below

Article content

Salt, to taste

Heat the milk and cream with the toasted peppercorns in a pot over medium low heat until it reaches a temperature of 180F. Cool the dairy mixture over an ice bath until the temperature is between 105-115F. Stir in the cultured yogurt, just to incorporate. Strain the mixture and discard the peppercorns. Allow the mixture to incubate at 105F for 5 to 8 hours. This can be done in a waterbath, or in an oven turned off, with the light on. Strain the mixture through cheesecloth and allow it to drain overnight. Season yogurt with salt.

Whey and Honey Vinaigrette

2 tbsp (30 mL) reserved whey from drained yogurt, reduced by half

2 tbsp (30 mL) rice wine vinegar

1 tbsp (15 mL) honey

1 1/2 tsp (7.5 mL) smooth Dijon mustard

3/4 cup (180 mL) canola or neutral oil

Salt, to taste

Place all ingredients, except oil in a blender pitcher, blend to incorporate. With the blender running, slowly stream in the oil to emulsify. Season with salt to taste.

Green Harissa Sauce

1 bunch Italian Parsley

1 medium Jalapeno, roasted, skin, seeds, and steam removed

2 medium jalapeno, fermented, stem and seeds removed

Advertisement 7

Story continues below

Article content

1 tsp (5 mL) toasted fennel seed

1 tsp (5 mL) toasted coriander seed

1 tsp (5 mL) toasted cumin seed

1 tsp (5 mL) toasted caraway seed

2 tsp (10 mL) smoked paprika

2 garlic cloves

Zest of 2 lemons

1/3 cup (80 mL) olive oil

1/4 cup (60 mL) lemon oil

2 tbsp (30 mL) garlic oil

Salt, to taste

Place all ingredients into a blender and blend on high speed until smooth. Season to taste with salt.

Serves 1 to 2.

Pan-fried Cod with Salted Duck Egg Yolk Sauce with Edamame Puree and Pickled Shimeji.

Pan-fried Cod with Salted Duck Egg Yolk Sauce with Edamame Purée and Pickled Shimeji

Recipe by: Jenny Hui, executive chef,

Role model: “My chef role model is Susan Mendelson, founder of The Lazy Gourmet. She hired me all those years ago and believed in my ability to be the best chef I can be. She has truly been an amazing mentor throughout my entire career.”

Jenny Hui, Executive Chef, The Lazy Gourmet.

2 cups (500 g) edamame kernels

1 clove garlic

2 tsp (10 mL) rice vinegar

1 package brown Shimeji mushrooms

3/4 cup (180 mL) sugar

1 cup (250 mL) rice vinegar

4 pieces (6 oz) cod

2 tbsp (30 mL) oil

100 g (3 1/2 oz) small bag of salted duck egg yolk (purchase the vacuum-packed egg yolks)

1 can (498 mL) coconut milk, separate the liquid from the coconut fat

Advertisement 8

Story continues below

Article content

1 tsp (5 mL) sugar

1 stalk lemon grass

2 pieces kaffir lime leaf leaves

Microgreens, for garnish (optional)

Kosher salt and pepper, for seasoning

Pickled Shimeji

Trim bottom of the shimeji. Set aside. Place sugar and rice vinegar in a small pot. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil until sugar is dissolved. Stir in mushrooms. Set aside until ready to serve.

Edamame purée

In a medium sauce pot, fill with 5 cups of cold water. Bring to a boil. Season water with 1 tbsp of kosher salt. Add edamame and garlic. Cook edamame until it is tender. Spoon edamame, garlic, 3/4 cup of the water, and rice vinegar into a blender. Purée until smooth, if needed, add more water. Keep warm.

Egg yolk sauce

Preheat oven to to 325 F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Set aside. Place egg yolk on sheet pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove and cool slightly. Place egg yolk in a blender with the coconut water and purée. Set aside.

Place coconut fat with lemon grass, kaffir lime leaves, and sugar. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and then simmer for approximately 5 minutes. Whisk in egg yolk purée. Keep warm.

Advertisement 9

Story continues below

Article content


Dry cod with a paper towel and season with salt and pepper. Set aside. Heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat for 3 minutes. Add 2 tbsp of oil, heat. Gently place the cod in the pan. Cook fish for two minutes or until golden. Flip and cook other side for about four minutes.


Place edamame purée on the centre of the plate. Gently place the cod on top. Spoon egg yolk sauce over fish and place a small amount of mushrooms. Garnish with micro greens. Enjoy!

Serves 4. 

Chef Sai’s Fish Noodle Soup

Chef Sai’s Fish Noodle Soup

Recipe by: Woranut (Sai) Pounpakon, chef,

Role model: “(My) aunt Sam who is very hard working and opened her own Thai restaurant in Winnipeg (Siam Authentic Thai Cuisine) inspires (my) cooking.”

Woranut 'Sai' Pounpakon, Chef, Fat Mao Noodles.

2 cups (500 mL) fish stock

1/2 — 1 cup (125 to 250 mL) rice noodle

1/2 cup (125 mL) ling cod slices

3 to 5 fish balls

Fish sauce, to taste

Sugar, to taste

2 tsp (10 mL) garlic oil


2 tbsp (30 mL) sliced Asian celery

2 tbsp (30 mL) sliced green onion

2 tbsp (30 mL) picked cilantro

1 tbsp (15 mL) ginger, julienned

1 tsp (5 mL) dry galangal powder

1/2 tsp (2.5 mL) black pepper

1/2 cup (125 mL) bean sprouts

Advertisement 10

Story continues below

Article content

1 tsp (5 mL) fried garlic

Soybean Sauce (optional)

3 tbsp (45 mL) soybean paste

1/2 tbsp (7.5 mL) red chili

1 tbsp (15 mL) galangal

1 tbsp (15 mL) ginger

3 tbsp (45 mL) lime juice

1/2 tbsp (7.5 mL) palm sugar

1 tbsp (15 mL) warm water

Blend the soybean paste until fine, then add finely chopped red chili, galangal, and ginger. Season with lime juice and palm sugar and add warm water, adjust seasoning if needed, refrigerate until needed.

Fish stock

2 lbs (907 g) fish head or fish bones

1 cup (250 mL) Asian celery root

2/3 cup (160 mL) cilantro stems

1 tbsp (15 mL) black peppercorn

1 cup (250 mL) onion, chopped

5 bay leaves

1/8 cup (30 mL) garlic

2 tbsp (30 mL) salt

4 tbsp (60 mL) soy sauce

3 L (12 cups) water

Bring water to a boil, then add onions, cilantro stem, celery roots, bay leaves, followed by garlic and crushed black pepper. Let boil for another 15 minutes, or until you can smell the aroma of vegetables and spices. Then add the fish head and fish bones.

Season with salt and soy sauce, then let it boil over medium heat for another 1.5 hours and it’s done. Strain carefully and discard the solids.

Add rice noodles to a bowl. Add fish stock and desired toppings. Enjoy!

Serves 2. 

Article content


Join the Conversation

This Week in Flyers

Your custom text © Copyright 2024. All rights reserved.