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Self-taught chef, Jefferson Alvarez left his home country of Venezuela at age 16 for Ottawa, where he attended Le Cordon Bleu Ottawa Culinary Institute. His wanderlust and ambition shortly took him to Toronto to work at Centro under illustrious chefs David Lee and Mark Thuet.
Determined and hard working, chef Alvarez decidedly absorbed as much knowledge around Toronto and had experiences at Pangea, Adega and Scaramouche, Canoe under famed chef Anthony Walsh, Aquavit and Morimoto. Alvarez took his first Executive Chef role at Tomi-kro.
Alvarez’s career in Vancouver hit a high point in 2009 when the Globe & Mail called the now closed Divino Wine Bar—where he was executive chef—the best wine bar in Canada. He then went on to lead kitchens at Fraîche in West Van, Secret Location in Gastown—where he created 300 unique dishes in 30 days—and now delivers the Latin American flavours of his youth in his own restaurant, CACAO Progressive Latin.
How do you define creativity and apply it in your life and career? Creativity is not copying, is evolution. For me, it is a way of life. It is failing to succeed and inspire others. I breathe creativity in my life. I need it to be creative to be where i am right now.
Where do you find your best creative inspiration or energy? I get inspired by nature and also unknown ingredients.
What’s one piece of creative advice or a tip you wish you’d known as a young person? No matter what anyone says, no matter the failure, keep creating and keep failing and the rewards will show
Who (living or dead) would you most enjoy hearing speak at CreativeMornings? Salvador Dali and Ferran Adria
What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done? Move to a country without speaking the language at 16 (Canada)
What did you learn from your most memorable creative failure? A memorable success.
What’s your one guilty creative indulgence? See people enjoy my creativity
What keeps you awake at night? An idea that I can’t create yet.