Canadian Chefs in Conversation: Chef Tina Fineza, Vancouver B.C

by Krlmagi

Chef Tina Fineza carries her respect for sustainable ingredients into helping other chefs create restaurant concepts in Vancouver B.C.

Tina Fineza moved to Vancouver to go to film school but found herself drawn towards the food scene. Fineza said, "I always cooked as a young adult and I come from a family that cooks and eats out a lot. Gatherings and parties were pretty much the norm at out household growing up in the Philippines." She added that she made the decision to switch careers within a few weeks of starting film school there.

Chef Tina Fineza plating a sablefish dish.
Chef Tina Fineza plating a sablefish dish.
Tina Fineza

While Fineza said that all of the chefs with whom she worked helped shape her as a chef. She took their positive values and left the negative baggage behind. However, she mentioned her professor Mara Jernigan who taught her the value of farm-to-table cooking and eating.

She mentioned Chef Rob Feenie at Lumiere who taught her how to make great sauces and Chef Frank Pabst at the Blue Water Café who instilled his attention to detail as well as Chef Michael Noble who was at Diva who taught her time management and organization.

She said, "I have learned by experience to work hard, be a good sous chef and keep learning and create new experiences for yourself."

The approach that Fineza took to cooking started with respecting and using the best ingredients that she could find from a local, seasonal and sustainable perspective. She always cooked with her heart and soul and said, "Each ingredient will always be about the respect I give to this ingredient so I will never disrespect it by wasting or overcooking it. I want each ingredient to shine on its own with a little help from me."

The creative process was long and tedious for Fineza because she needed true inspiration to cook something. She said, "There is no forcing the creative process for me. Sometimes i can think about one dish for a whole week and the next day I'm bored with it and then I have to start all over again!"

Research was a large part of Fineza's approach to cooking. She tried to stay true to the roots of the food that she created. She explained, "My point of view is Asian cuisine and I will recreate dishes as they should taste, where I tasted them and re-live that taste experience."

Albacore tuna tataki sammy, unagi sauce ( for Roaming Dragon)
Albacore tuna tataki sammy, unagi sauce ( for Roaming Dragon)
Tina Fineza
Salmon fish taco, sarandeado sauce.
Salmon fish taco, sarandeado sauce.
Tina Fineza

The approach that Fineza took to cooking started with respecting and using the best ingredients that she could find from a local, seasonal and sustainable perspective. She always cooked with her heart and soul and said, "Each ingredient will always be about the respect I give to this ingredient so I will never disrespect it by wasting or overcooking it. I want each ingredient to shine on its own with a little help from me."

The creative process was long and tedious for Fineza because she needed true inspiration to cook something. She said, "There is no forcing the creative process for me. Sometimes i can think about one dish for a whole week and the next day I'm bored with it and then I have to start all over again!"

Research was a large part of Fineza's approach to cooking. She tried to stay true to the roots of the food that she created. She explained, "My point of view is Asian cuisine and I will recreate dishes as they should taste, where I tasted them and re-live that taste experience."

When it came to sourcing ingredients, Fineza always sought out reliable and sustainable suppliers for her ingredients. She tied everything back to her deep respect for her ingredients and always tried to use what was seasonal, local and sustainable.

New ideas always sparked a light for Fineza. She was fascinated by foraging and added, "I used to do forage as a kid so it's great that we are going back to what it could be once again. I love the genius of molecular gastronomy because its a very exact science."

Fineza believed that a chef should be a leader, a motivator and a teacher. She also tried to respect her staff and said, "There is no forcing the creative process for me. Sometimes i can think about one dish for a whole week and the next day I'm bored with it and then I have to start all over again!"

She found motivation and inspiration in reading about other people's experiences and the places they'd been. She added, "I always try new things at home.  i read and research a lot about what is new and my motivation is knowledge and being the best I can be and always being better than I was yesterday."

Heritage Angus beef tenderloin, chanterelles, guanciale, roasted garlic & shallot
Heritage Angus beef tenderloin, chanterelles, guanciale, roasted garlic & shallot
Tina Fineza
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Updated: 01/12/2016, Krlmagi
 
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