A conversation with Kreg Graham

An introduction to our Executive Chef

Chef Graham brings more than a decade of hotel and kitchen leadership experience from around the globe to the 100-room seaside Oak Bay Beach Hotel and oversees the hotel’s six food and beverage outlets. Prior to joining the Oak Bay Beach Hotel, Kreg was the Executive Chef at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler.

Twelve Questions for Kreg

What do you consider your greatest personal achievement?
Becoming a Father to my 2 beautiful, smart daughters.

What do you consider your greatest professional achievement?
Working as a Chef abroad and in an international kitchen where English wasn’t the first language spoken and communication was a challenge.

Which living person do you most admire?
All mothers out there.  I admire mothers the most because I believe they have the hardest job in the world.  They have the most important job in the world with the longest hours.

Who are your heroes in real life?
Passionate farmers who put their heart and soul to their produce with love.  It seems to be a fading industry and one that is so very important.

What is your favourite food experience?
I love street food especially in southeast Asia; the authenticity of flavour, the noise of the busy streets, the smell, the experience of being able to speak to the person who’s cooking for you. Take away the white linens, the need for a reservation, the formal vibe of a restaurant.  Strip it all away and let the flavour of the food speak for itself.  Many of the best dishes I’ve had has come from a local street vendor wherever I lived or travelled.  I’m always up for trying new dishes, foreign tastes. These experiences have helped my creativity when it comes to menu planning and adding flair to traditional dishes.

Which word or phrase do you most overuse?
To be 100% honest, the F* word.  I need to work on that.  I should just say Fudge.

If you could change one thing about the food & beverage industry, what would it be?
I wish that more people would take the time to enjoy and appreciate a dining experience rather than rushing.

What is your most treasured possession?
My photo collection.  A side passion of mine is photography.  I’ve built a pretty good portfolio of photos I’ve taken from travelling and taking a million photos of my family.  I treasure these the most.

If you were not in the Pacific Northwest, where would you like to live?
In the South Pacific, specifically Hawaii. I love the culture, the people, the slower pace of daily Island living, and being surrounded by water.

What is the quality you most appreciate in your kitchen staff?
Their positivity, persistence and resilience.

What is your motto in keeping a work-life balance?
You can’t do a great job if your job is all you do.  At the end of a long day… eat a cookie!