Sophie Fenlon, Executive Chef at Vis a Vis Bouchon Bar and the Penny Farthing Public House. (Don Denton/Boulevard Magazine)

Meet Sophie Fenlon, Executive Chef

Try her food at Victoria’s Vis À Vis bouchon Bar and the Penny Farthing Pub

  • Aug. 23, 2018 12:00 p.m.

Quick Facts:

• Born in Stroud, England — a small town in the Cotswolds — and moved around around a lot as a child, eventually settling in Canada.

• Trained at Vancouver Culinary Institute, and apprenticed for three years under Chef Lee Parsons at the Wedgewood Hotel in Vancouver.

• Nearly two years at Vis à Vis and Penny Farthing.

• Before that: “After completing my Red Seal, I moved to London, England where I worked at the Ritz, and most memorably, Trinity Restaurant in Clapham. Coming to Victoria I tried to find what to do next. I worked at OLO (back when it was called Ulla), Wild Mountain and even tried building my own business of in-home dining called Duet Dinners. Eventually I decided it was time to take a big step, and challenge myself. So here I am.”

1. What are you best known for as a chef?

I move fast. I’m loud. I sing — a lot.

2. What are the 10 or so most important ingredients in your pantry?

My top 10 thing to always have on hand, and which I believe are the basic ingredients to almost all well-balanced dishes are: butter, kosher salt, lemons, fresh herbs, chicken bones, onions, garlic, brown sugar, olive oil and sherry vinegar.

3. Favourite dish to cook and eat on a warm, FALL day?

A big pot of mussels and spot prawns, with ridiculously crusty bread and way too much butter.

4. What’s your go-to item when sampling other chefs’ fare?

When I dine out I usually go for anything I can share; therefore, I can try more things on the menu. I love quality in food, so I do tend to seek out restaurants that are trying to bring more business to the local farms here on the island.

5. Hobbies?

I really like to incorporate as much music as possible into my free time. On top of that, I enjoy the time I have with friends and family, and my most valued hobby — the art of conversations.

6. Can you share an easy, seasonal recipe for a quick bite in the fall?

Roasted Squash Bruschetta with Goat Cheese

  • 1 squash of choice
  • white pepper to taste
  • 1 shallot, brunoise
  • a few basil leaves – cut
  • 1 tsp sherry vinegar chiffonade
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • a few pieces of your favourite crusty bread cut into crostinis
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • quality goat cheese

Roast the squash pieces in a splash of olive oil and salt until golden and soft. Let cool to room temperature and mix with the shallots, vinegar, sugar, garlic, salt, pepper, oil and basil. Spread the goat cheese on your crostini, and top with the squash mixture.

– Story by Susan Lundy

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