Chef's choice: Pub food perfection
Growing up, Ladner's Garrett Wilkinson had never envisioned a career in the kitchen.
As a shooting guard on the DSS Pacers basketball team he was more concerned with hitting that long-range three-pointer. And on the pitching mound with Ladner Minor Baseball's first provincial championship winning team he was focused on striking out as many batters he could.
But the soon to be 20-year-old has managed to find a vocation that taps into his love of intense situations experienced as an elite athlete.
As kitchen manager at the Rusty Anchor Pub at Captain's Cove Marina (6100 Ferry Rd.), he is welcoming the challenge of serving up a host of scrumptious pub food in a picturesque spot overlooking the water.
“I enjoyed all the pressure here, taking control and having to lead everybody, and making sure everything goes out properly,” Wilkinson says. “I grew up playing sports at a pretty high level, so I'm used to being in the spotlight.”
One of the crowning touches of working in a fast-paced environment is the feedback he receives.
“It's that great feeling, the satisfaction when someone sticks their head in the back of the kitchen and says, ‘That was an awesome meal.’ You don't get that in a lot of jobs.”
But it happened quite recently for Wilkinson who got a nice word and thumbs up from three customers visiting from Australia who praised his current signature dish—steak and prawns.
“These guys said it was the best pub food they ever had. And they were in their 40's and have likely traveled a lot, and as Australians are probably not strangers to steak and prawns.”
One of the secrets to the dish is the way the prawns are prepared.
“They are poached in butter with a good amount of garlic,” Wilkinson explains. “They never see the water or the frying pan, and just come out with this really rich, intense flavor.”