Talking Staff Meals, Good Books and Perfect Days Off With Chef Bobby Milheron

This week’s Big Interview is with Homer Street Cafe & Bar Chef Bobby Milheron, a Maritime import and veteran of Vancouver’s hospitality scene.

After training at Charlottetown’s Culinary Institute of Canada, Bobby sharpened his knives and skills at impactful, locally ingredient-loving restaurants such as Diva at the Met, Nu, West and Boulevard before landing the Executive Chef role at Homer Street Cafe & Bar. We recently caught up with the talented guy to get some answers…

Where’d you grow up? Bridgewater, Nova Scotia.

What neighbourhood are you living in and why do you like it? I live in Kitsilano, I like it because it is centrally located with lots of cool restaurants.

Forest or beach? I moved to Vancouver so I could pick both. If I had to choose, I would say beach.

What do you do when you can’t sleep? Read a cookbook.

Dish on your menu right now that everyone should try? The Panzanella Salad with burrata and Sungold tomatoes from Pemberton Haven Farms.

The seasonal ingredient that gets you most excited? Tomatoes! I especially love a tomato that has never been refrigerated. They’re also quite rewarding to grow. For me, it’s a true mark of summer when you get to eat a tomato straight from your garden.

Best staff meal you ever had — what were the circumstances, who cooked it, where was it and what was it? When I worked at Boulevard, Chef Alex Chen would bring HK BBQ Master. We would enjoy it in between lunch and dinner service. The entire team would always look forward to it.

The thing that is bad for you that you will never stop eating? Salt. I would rather not eat than eat food that isn’t properly seasoned.

Default drink/cocktail of choice? It depends on my mood. If I’m feeling fancy, a gin martini with Castelvetrano olives; in a more casual setting, any type of lager.

Dogs or cats? Dogs.

Oddest place you’ve ever slept? I slept under the door mat of my front step, I lost my keys and couldn’t get in. I also woke up in the back of an aluminum boat once.

Last movie or TV show you watched and would recommend? Ahh, I’m kind of embarrassed to say. I was never much of a TV watcher because I worked too much, but in quarantine I got really into reality TV. The trashier, the better.

What’s for breakfast at home? On weekdays, I just have coffee. On weekends, coffee, a spicy Caesar, and potato rösti with fried eggs.

Three books that made an impact on you in your formative years? The French Laundry, Quay: Food Inspired by Nature, and Manresa: An Edible Reflection.

A character from a movie that you’d love to share a meal with? Brad Pitt’s character in Legends of the Fall. Big man crush, maybe it’s the hair.

What trend have you followed that you now regret? Turning things into powders with maltodextrin. Or agar pearls. I also had one summer where I wore tank tops…big regret.

Your go to, no-frills place for dinner? It is not necessarily no-frills, but Nook in Kitsilano for pasta, pizza and a glass of wine is always my go to.

Shoe of choice? In the kitchen, Birkenstock clogs. Outside of the kitchen, New Balance sneakers.

Do you remember the moment you knew you wanted to become a chef? I have always really loved food, but this happened purely by accident.

The ingredient/dish you’d like to see more customers be brave about trying? Geoduck: the good-time clam!

Your favourite curse word? I use “Fuck” as an adjective.

The most beautiful place in the world? I haven’t had the opportunity to travel very much. For me, the Sunshine Coast around Savary Island.

On a perfect day off, what are the top three things you’d like to see happen? Wake up early for a round of golf, maybe go swimming in a lake, and then have a barbecue with friends.

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