Our Chef spotlight series brings us to The Hallway. Opened during the pandemic, this social gathering sanctuary boasts a large handcrafted cocktail menu, and the best West Coast cuisines with almost entirely BC sourced ingredients with every part of their menu made in-house. Leading the kitchen is Chef Harris Bredin. Chef Harris started his first job as a dishwasher and from that first moment, he was hooked to life in a kitchen. Working his way up to a kitchen manager position, he moved to Montreal to gain experience cooking at places like Taza Florez tapas restaurant. After getting his Red Seal Chef certification he joined the kitchen crew at the beloved (and missed) Veneto with Chef Jamie Huynh before moving to The Hallway. Since taking the helm of The Hallway, Chef Harris has drawn inspiration from all the Chef’s he has worked with to create an elevated dining experience and cultivated a close team at the restaurant.
Who or what inspired you to become a chef?
That would have to be my mom, growing up she was always a great cook, and an adventurous one. I’m told growing up I was always her harshest critic.
What inspires your menus?
Basically, the ingredients do. I try to find good local products within BC and then will build a dish around that to showcase them. I get all my seafood from Finest at Sea and the meats from Acecard and local farmers like Ultimate Microgreens. I also have to give credit to all the great chefs and mentors I’ve had along the way. We are always running new features to find out what works and what doesn’t. If a feature sells out in the first few hours then we know it’s a hit and it has a home on the next menu. Our regular menu changes every three months.
How do you lead and motivate your team in the kitchen?
Mutual respect. Even a dishwasher, you treat them like a human being. A lot of people treat each other based on their standing in the kitchen, but we are all here working a hard job and we all deserve respect. We do have a system and professionalism, but we also joke around and have fun in the kitchen. However, when it comes to food we are very serious.
If there were three ingredients you couldn’t live without, what would they be?
Garlic, Sherry Vinegar, Maldon Salt.
What is a motto you live by?
Work harder than the guy next to you.
Basically, it means if you want to move up in this industry you need to have a strong work ethic. The skills can be taught and come with time, as long as you work hard you’ll progress. It’s what I look for when hiring people for the kitchen. We have to work together to make the kitchen work, we are a small team and everyone is here because they work hard.
What is your favourite thing to do on your day off?
A good home-cooked meal with my family, then a poker game with the lads. I really like to go fishing on my days off over at Matheson Lake. This is such a social job, and we’re always so busy that generally when I have time off I like to unwind.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Executive Chef of a hotel with a really nice restaurant working 9 to 5. You have one foot in the kitchen at that point, and it’s still your menu but working days would be nice.
If you left Vancouver Island to cook elsewhere, where would you go and why?
I would probably go back to Montreal. It has such an amazing food scene and really really good cheese.
What are you most proud of?
I’m proud of the balance in my dishes. I make sure that each dish has all the components in it; salt, fat, some crunch, and some acid. What I do with my menu is trying to find a balance for every dish. We are very seafood forward with being so close to the ocean.
What’s your current favourite local restaurant to eat at?
Stage Wine Bar in Fernwood. They’re doing great things!
Recipe: Seared Albacore Tuna with Kimchi and Ponzu
Ingredients for Tuna:
• 1 large tuna loin
• Enough black and white sesame seeds to coat
• Korean Chili Powder to taste
1. Remove the belly from the loin and coat the loin generously with sesame seeds and Korean chili powder.
2. Sear tuna in canola oil on high heat in a large pan for 10 seconds a side then cool in the fridge on a wire rack.
3. Slice into 1-inch segments and top with Maldon salt before serving.
Ingredients for Ponzu:
• ½ cup orange juice
• ½ a lemon, juiced
• ¾ cup soy sauce
• 2 tbsp mirin
• ½ cup katsuobushi
• 1 piece kombu
1. Combine all ingredients and refrigerate (3 days minimum)
2. Strain out katsuobushi and kombu
Ingredients for Kimchi:
• 1 head Nappa cabbage
• 200g carrot julienne
• 200g daikon batonnet
• 5 green onion 1-inch cut
Ingredients for Paste:
• 100g Ginger grated
• 1 Large Asian pear
• 1 Large Asian pear
• 80ml fish sauce
• 60g chili flakes
• 175g chili paste
• 6 garlic cloves
1. Salt cabbage in a mixing bowl.
2. Let sit for 1.5 hours.
3. Rinse thoroughly then strain.
4. Blend paste in a food processor or blender.
5. Massage the paste into cabbage, carrot, and daikons.
6. Ferment in jars for 7 days.
7. Open jars daily to release build-up gas.
8. It’s very important to allow the gas to escape.
*Serve the tuna on a plate beside the kimchi drizzled with ponzu and topped with Ultimate Microgreens.