BIG INTERVIEW | ‘The Arbor’ Chef Rob Clarke On The Joys Of Tacos & Making People Happy

June 15, 2017.

34326238024_f0aa4485c3_k

by Thalia Stopa | Seeing comfort food through a vegetarian lens has been done before, but we knew we were in for something special when the talented minds behind The Acorn decided to take on the task with their second vegetarian restaurant on Main Street, The Arbor. The meatless menu, developed and executed by chef Rob Clarke, uses only high quality ingredients to focus squarely on honest and classic comforts, everything from signature burgers and bowls of “broccoli popcorn” to indulgent riffs on decadent Mac & Cheese. This place knows how to make its customers happy, and it all starts in the kitchen. Put on your comfy pants and get cozy with…

slideshow_1

Your first memory? I’d have to say salmon fishing with my grandpa.

What neighbourhood do you live in and what makes it home? I live in the Moody Park area of New Westminster and my family makes it home.

Coffee or tea? I tend to go back and forth between the two but definitely right now it’s coffee.

Name every restaurant you’ve ever worked at in chronological order of appearance: Bishop’s, Pangaea (Toronto), Sooke Harbour House, The Acorn, The Arbor.

Describe the food concept at The Arbor in 10 words or less: Real food for comfort; familiar, fast casual, honest.

The cliché that you overuse? Work smarter not harder.

What keeps you up at night? Running through prep and order lists for the work the next day.

Dogs or cats? Cats.

Shoe of choice? Adidas.

Your role models? I’d have to say my grandma and grandpa. A lot of what I do and believe in with food goes back to spending time with them gardening and fishing.

Favourite Vancouver building? City Hall.

The thing that is bad for you that you will never stop eating? Tapatio flavoured Doritos.

The Vancouver restaurant you wish was open 24 hours? Sal y Limon. I LOVE TACOS!

Breakfast, lunch, or dinner? Dinner.

Which local restaurant kitchen do you envy the most? That’s tough because I love mine so much. I’ll go with Mak N Ming. I really like what they’re doing.

IMG_3614

First album that made you love music? “License to Ill” by The Beastie Boys.

What was the last live concert you saw? We catered a private event in which they had Patti Smith perform. That was awesome!

Your all-time best Halloween costume? “Where’s Waldo”. I’m pretty sure I made this popular for Halloween.

What game did you love as a kid? Road hockey. You couldn’t get me to come in for dinner. “CAR!!!”

Some people remember their first kiss, but could you tell us about your first knife? Global vegetable knife in culinary school.

The different career path that you could have gone on? You know, I always wanted to be a pilot.

Three films you would gladly watch again? The original Star Wars Trilogy and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.

Three favourite dishes in YVR? Salmonito burrito from The Fish Counter (the other Rob Clark is the chef); any of the tacos at Sal y Limon; fried chicken sandwich at Re-Up BBQ in New West.

Most memorable meal, from any time and place in the world, that you would love to replicate? An epic lunch I had at Le Bernardin in New York.

Non-vegetarian dish that you’d like to recreate sans meat? The smoked sablefish with potato brandade and herbed horseradish sabayon from Bishop’s restaurant. Classic!

Your guilty (non-food) pleasure? 80’s music.

Your most regrettable purchase ever? Can it be the most embarrassing?! Then it would be after having a few too many cervesas on the beach in Mexico and buying a hammock for my cat. To top it off, he never used it!

It’s five years ago. You just clocked out. Where to? The Black Hoof in Toronto.

It’s the end of a long day. What are you drinking? Beer.

Name the elusive ingredient that you would most like to tackle. Oxalis Tuberosa or Oca. It’s a perennial plant that overwinters as underground tubers. I’ve used it a few times but would love to spend more time with it. Think of it as a cross between radish and potato. Peppery and creamy when cooked.

What are you the most proud of? My kids.

What are you the least proud of? There was a short time in my career where I was a yeller. I made a few people cry and I realized that wasn’t a way to motivate people. In fact, I’m quite sure I lost the respect of a few individuals.

The best thing about cooking? Making people happy.

The worst thing about cooking? The long hours.

Local ingredient that you most look forward to coming in to season? Fiddleheads. It’s a sure sign that spring has sprung.

The strange talent that you possess? I’ve got incredible vision. People call me “hawk-eye”. And I’m good with numbers.

The strange talent that you wish you possessed? Talking backwards. You know you wish you could.

What is the one animal that scares you the most? Cougars. This plays into my love/hate relationship with cats.

If you had a motto, what would it be? Do or do not. There is no try.

Scariest situation you’ve ever been in? Surfing in Oregon and seeing a shark fin poking out of the water about 50 feet away.

Restaurant trend that needs to die? Mason jars!

Your favourite curse word? Jeepers!

Least favourite word? Motherf@#$%r, though I’ve been known to use it from time to time.

IMG_5485

Song you have on repeat in the kitchen? “YAH.” – Kendrick Lamar. Can’t I have the whole damn album?

The last book you read? “Eating Animals” by Jonathon Safran Foer.

The most beautiful place in the world? The Pacific Rim National Park.

Your last Netflix binge? “Riverdale”. I know. Apparently I’m a 16 year old girl.

If you could be someone different for one day, who would you be? Indiana Jones. He’s pretty badass!

The best way to go, in the very end? In my sleep after an amazing weekend of camping on the west coast with family and friends.

How would you like to be remembered? As someone who was caring, thoughtful, passionate, loving, charming, hardworking and funny as hell.

#ScoutThis

There are no comments

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

People Getting to know Vancouverites, one by one…

VANCOUVERITES | Katie Piasta On Saying Yes, Dodging Nerf Bullets And All The Nice Dresses

VANCOUVERITES | Katie Piasta On Saying Yes, Dodging Nerf Bullets And All The Nice Dresses

by Thalia Stopa | Katie Piasta is one hell of a woman. A pillar of the DTES community, the long-time Strathcona/Chinatown resident runs the Window Community… more 

VANCOUVERITES | Artist Katie So On Coffee, Tattooing And The Pleasure Of Being Spooked

VANCOUVERITES | Artist Katie So On Coffee, Tattooing And The Pleasure Of Being Spooked

by Thalia Stopa | From fine dining rooms and comic books to the more permanent art of the flesh, Katie So is busily making a lasting impression on our… more 

THE NEW BREED | L’Abattoir Somm Lisa Haley On Making Wine Lists, Lunatic Cats And More

THE NEW BREED | L’Abattoir Somm Lisa Haley On Making Wine Lists, Lunatic Cats And More

We often hear the same names of Vancouver hospitality titans in local media. They do very well to represent and have done so for years. We work up thirsts and… more 

POWER OF TWO | The Pie Shoppe’s French Sisters On The Joys Of Bickering, Hard Work

POWER OF TWO | The Pie Shoppe’s French Sisters On The Joys Of Bickering, Hard Work

While there is undoubtedly strength in numbers, sometimes just the power of two is enough to work magical things. From front/back of house pairings and… more 

VANCOUVERITES | Seventeen Minutes With The Highly Creative, Always Busy Becki Chan

VANCOUVERITES | Seventeen Minutes With The Highly Creative, Always Busy Becki Chan

by Thalia Stopa | Vancouver multi-disciplinary designer Becki Chan has done spectacular things for spaces big and bigger, from brand interiors to public… more 

THE NEW BREED | Mosquito Bartender Olivia Povarchook On Scary Fish & The Joy Of Cider

THE NEW BREED | Mosquito Bartender Olivia Povarchook On Scary Fish & The Joy Of Cider

We often hear the same names of Vancouver hospitality titans in local media. They do very well to represent and have done so for years. We work up thirsts and… more 

DEFINITIVE RECORDS | Royal Dinette’s Chen-Wei Lee Picks His Three Foundational Albums

DEFINITIVE RECORDS | Royal Dinette’s Chen-Wei Lee Picks His Three Foundational Albums

photo courtesy Royal Dinette by Thalia Stopa | Definitive Records asks interesting Vancouverites to reach deep inside their souls to pull out the three albums… more 

THE NEW BREED | Mackenzie Room’s Mathew Bishop On Dumplings And Why Poke Must Die

THE NEW BREED | Mackenzie Room’s Mathew Bishop On Dumplings And Why Poke Must Die

We often hear the same names of Vancouver hospitality titans in local media. They do very well to represent and have done so for years. We work up thirsts and… more 

The scout Community

49th Parallel Coffee Roasters & Lucky’s Doughnuts Acorn Agrius Ai & Om Alibi Room Ancora Waterfront Dining & Patio Anh and Chi AnnaLena Araxi Arbor Ask For Luigi Au Comptoir Bao Bei Chinese Brasserie Bar Oso Bauhaus Beach Bay Café & Patio Beaucoup Bakery & Cafe Bel Café Bestie Bishop’s Bistro Wagon Rouge Bittered Sling Blue Water Cafe + Raw Bar Botanist Bottleneck Boulevard Kitchen & Oyster Bar Bufala Burdock & Co. Cabrito Cacao Cadeaux Bakery Café Medina Caffè Artigiano Camp Lifestyle + Coffee Co. Campagnolo Campagnolo ROMA Cartems Donuterie Chambar Chefs’ Table Society of BC Chez Christophe Chocolaterie Patisserie  Chicha Chill Winston ChocolaTas Chocolate Arts Cibo Trattoria Cinara CinCin Ristorante + Bar Cioffi’s Cioppino’s Mediterranean Grill Cocktails & Canapes Catering + Events Cook Culture Culinary Capers Catering & Special Events Dirty Apron Cooking School & Delicatessen District Brasserie Dixie’s Authentic Texas BBQ Earnest Ice Cream East Van Roasters Cafe Edible Canada El Santo Elementa Espana Fable Fanny Bay Farmer’s Apprentice Fat Mao Fayuca Fernwood Coffee Company Field & Social Forage Giovane Cafe + Eatery Gotham Steakhouse & Bar Grain Granville Island Grapes & Soda Greenhorn Espresso Bar Gyoza Bar Hart House Restaurant Harvest Community Foods Hawksworth Restaurant Heirloom Heritage Asian Eatery Homer Street Cafe & Bar Hy’s Steakhouse Irish Heather Jamjar JJ Bean Joe Pizza Joy Road Catering Juice Truck Juke Fried Chicken Juniper Kafka’s Coffee & Tea Keefer Bar Kin Kao Kissa Tanto Knifewear Kozakura Kuma Tofino L’Abattoir La Buca La Mezcaleria La Pentola La Quercia La Taqueria Pinche Taco Shop Les Amis du Fromage Lions Pub, The Liquidity Bistro Lobby Lounge + RawBar Longtail Kitchen Lucha Verde Made By Pacific Maenam Mak N Ming Mamie Taylor’s MARKET by Jean-Georges Matchstick Coffee Roasters Meinhardt Fine Foods Miku Restaurant Milano Coffee Minami Miradoro Mission Mister Mogiana Coffee Mosquito Nero Belgian Waffle Bar Nicli Antica Pizzeria Nightingale Nomad Nook Nuba Oakwood Canadian Bistro OLO OPUS Bar Osteria Savio Volpe Oyama Sausage Co. Pallet Coffee Roasters Pat’s Pub & BrewHouse Pidgin Pizzeria Farina Pointe Restaurant at the Wickaninnish Inn, The Pourhouse Railtown Cafe Railtown Catering Rain Or Shine Ice Cream Red Wagon, The Revolver Coffee Rocky Mountain Flatbread Co. Royal Dinette Salt Tasting Room Savoury Chef Shaughnessy Restaurant Shebeen Whisk(e)y House Shelter Six Acres Sophie’s Cosmic Cafe Sorella Stable House, The Tableau Bar Bistro Tacofino Tavola Terra Breads Thierry Thomas Haas Chocolates & Patisserie Timber Timbertrain Coffee Roasters Torafuku Tractor Foods Truffles Fine Foods Two Rivers Specialty Meats UBC Farm Uncommon Cafe, The Urban Digs Farm Uva Wine & Cocktail Bar Vancouver Aquarium’s Ocean Wise™ Program Via Tevere Pizzeria Napoletana Vij’s Restaurant Virtuous Pie West Restaurant Wildebeest Wolf In The Fog YEW seafood

Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry's standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book. It has survived not only five centuries, but also the leap into electronic typesetting, remaining essentially unchanged. It was .

Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry's standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book. It has survived not only five centuries, but also the leap into electronic typesetting, remaining essentially unchanged. It was .