There's a new television star in Whistler and his name is Jimmy Stewart.
The sous chef from the Bearfoot Bistro is one of the competitors in the next season of Top Chef Canada.
Stewart, 23, went up against 16 people in the popular Food Network show that will air on Monday nights starting March 12. The food industry workers on the show competed for a grand prize of $100,000, along with kitchen appliances valued at $30,000.
Stewart was born and raised in North Vancouver. In his relatively short career so far he has worked at some very reputable restaurants, including: Lumiere in Vancouver, Gordon Ramsay's Maze in New Yrok City, the Ledbury in London, U.K., Colborne Lane and Origin in Toronto and DB Bistro in Vancouver.
He met one of his biggest culinary influences, chef Dale MacKay, at Lumière. The pair re-united again when Stewart worked at DB Bistro. MacKay is the season one champion of Top Chef Canada.
Stewart says on his audition video, which can be viewed through YouTube, that he lives with his mother and he is a big fan of the Vancouver Canucks.
According to Stewart, MacKay is a personal mentor of his.
"He sent me off to England to go work in other restaurants and I wouldn't be the cook that I am today if it wasn't for him allowing me to do these kinds of things," says Stewart.
The Whistler resident went to England to work at Ledbury while Lumière was being renovated.
"It was one of the greatest and hardest years of my life," Stewart says. " I worked unbelievable hours for days on end and I am going to bring that attitude to Top Chef. I'm not going to be an arrogant dick, but I'm going to work harder than anyone else that is for sure."
Bearfoot Bistro owner André Saint-Jacques says the episodes will be shown at the Bistro and to celebrate the season opening episode Executive Chef Melissa Craig will work with Stewart to create a special menu.