Rosario Resort and Spa has announced the hiring of Chef Raymond Southern as Executive Chef.
“We are excited to have attracted such a talented chef to Orcas Island and look forward to him contributing to what is already a great culinary destination” said General Manager Christopher Peacock.
Chef Southern grew up on a small farm just outside of Vancouver, BC surrounded by all things fresh from the garden. Picking beans, potatoes, corn, tomatoes, and gathering fresh eggs were a daily routine.
“Where ingredients are concerned, I want to bite into a carrot so fresh that it takes me back to my childhood on our farm pulling carrots out of the ground, brushing the dirt off and eating them right there in the field,” he sais.
His early introduction to farm freshness and a few part time jobs at some wonderful restaurants during his early years started him on the path to his dream job as a chef.
“I’m lucky I never had to choose a career. I walked into my first kitchen when I was 14 and I’ve been hooked ever since,” Southern said.
After culinary school he completed his apprenticeship at the famous William Tell Restaurant, followed by a stint with Chef Bruno Marti at La Belle Auberge. From there he worked my way up to Executive Chef at Umberto Menghi’s Al Porto Restaurant in Vancouver’s Gastown District. His love of travel took him on his next journey as an Executive Chef with Holland America Line, working on ships and experiencing cuisines from all over the world. He has worked for Westin Hotels and Resorts in Grand Cayman and St. Maarten in the Caribbean, and lived in Lima, Peru for several years.
Southern’s accolades include Chef of the Year, Grand Gold, 5 Gold Medals, and 1 Silver Medal at the Cayman Islands National Culinary Salon, Top Apprentice by Canadian Federation of Chefs de Cuisine, and an appearance with Team Canada at the World Culinary Exposition in Luxembourg. His dream of returning to the Northwest has now brought him to Orcas Island and Rosario Resort and Spa, where he is using the culinary skills he has developed all over the world to create great meals at The Mansion Restaurant.
“I have spent much of my time here already getting to know the local farmers and producers and will be busy preparing meals with their products in our kitchen,” Southern said.
When he’s not cooking you can usually find chef together with his wife and two furry dogs walking on a long peaceful trail somewhere on the island or playing a good game of fetch in the dog park.