Chef Spotlight Series: Sarah Maw, Friends of Dorothy (FOD)

Chef Spotlight Series: Sarah Maw, Friends of Dorothy (FOD)

sarah maw friends of dorothy

There’s no place like Friends of Dorothy, a delicious & delightful lounge in lower Johnson where cocktails and fabulous entertainment meet upscale dishes. Leading the kitchen of this brilliantly colorful and zany place is Chef Sarah Maw. Sarah is young, female, and queer, which makes her an anomaly in the world of chefs. She’s an ambitious Chef who regularly enters culinary competitions, and motivates her team to get creative in the kitchen! We caught up with Sarah as part of our chef spotlight series to learn more about her and how to make her perfect Lamb Merguez Meatball! 

What inspired you to become a chef? 
My inspiration started from watching my nana cook in her kitchen. Growing up my family and I would go to my grandparent’s house for dinner or lunch and my nana would always cook a massive meal for us from scratch. As a child, I loved to hang out in the kitchen and watch what my nana was making that day. I had always been a creative kid and loved to cook so becoming a chef was a perfect match.

What was your first restaurant job?
My first restaurant job was at the Delta Grand Okanagan. I started my culinary journey by apprenticing there for 5 years.

Were there any obstacles that you had to overcome to become a chef?
Being promoted in this industry to sous chef positions or other higher positions at a very young age and being a woman was always an obstacle when it came to gaining the respect of others in positions of authority. 

What was the best meal you ever had? Where did you enjoy it?
Would be a multi-course menu in Maranello, Italy at La Cicala. The mains consisted of simple, yet exquisite dishes such as chicken tortellini in broth, tagliatelle with ham and Parmigiano Reggiano, to pumpkin risotto with gorgonzola cheese and balsamic.

How would you describe your style of cooking?
Global comfort food. I like to offer a menu that gives you a taste of different cuisines. My cooking style became what it is today from learning from all different types of chefs and friends and travelling to different places around the world trying dishes from their cuisines. 

How do you motivate your team in your kitchen? 
I love to motivate my team through creativity. If you don’t let your cooks experiment with different recipes or dishes their job will become stagnant. I encourage all my staff to come up with new creative dishes they would like to feature or even see on upcoming menus. 

What is the best advice you have been given/ what is your motto you live by?
Write everything down. Keep notes of everything you learn, you will regret not remembering them later in life. 

What are your passions and interests outside of cooking?
I really enjoy getting outside whether it be hiking or kayaking.

What is an achievement you are proud of in your career? 
Friends of Dorothy was voted Tasting Victoria’s Best New Restaurant 2022. All of us at Friends of Dorothy were very excited to see that Victoria is loving what we are bringing to the table not only for the LGBTQ community but for everyone who wants to come out, have a great time and eat some delicious food. In 2020 I assisted in gold medal plates representing the Okanagan. Throughout my career I have competed in over 9 different competitions. I plan on competing in many more competitions this year!

What’s your favourite local restaurant to eat at?
My favourite place to grab a bite to eat would be Wind Cries Mary. I like to sit at their bar and get their wild albacore tuna dish and a hand-crafted cocktail.

Friends of Dorothy was voted Best New Restaurant (category sponsored by Capital Daily) in the 2022 Best Restaurant Awards Presented by Portofino Bakery. Download your free e-guide to check out the winners.

Recipe: Lamb Merguez Meatballs and Basil Pistou 

Lamb Merguez Meatball Recipe
Yield: Makes 18-20 Meatballs

• 1150g Ground Lamb
• 20g Salt
• 3g Sugar
• 1.5g Cayenne
• 9g Garlic
• 2.5g Black Pepper
• 8g Paprika
• 8g Oregano
• 30g Red Wine
• 30g Ice Water

1. Weigh out all ingredients on a kitchen scale for accuracy. Once all the ingredients are properly weighed emulsify all ingredients in a mixer with the paddle attachment. 
2. Weigh out meatballs to 60g balls on a sheet pan with parchment paper. Cook at 320F for 15-20 minutes or until the meatballs reach 145F. 
3. Serve meatballs in your favourite tomato sauce and Basil Pistou. 

Basil Pistou:
Yield: Makes 1 Cup

• 3 Cups Fresh Basil
• ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
• ½ teaspoon of salt
• 1 teaspoon lemon juice
• 1 garlic clove  

1. Blend garlic in the food processor until it is at a minced stage. Add the rest of the ingredients except oil into the food processor. 
2. Once they are blended slowly add all the oil until pistou reaches desired texture. 
3. Serve on top of meatballs with shaved parmigiano-reggiano.

Photos were taken by Meg Froehler and responses and recipes courtesy of Sarah Maw, Friends of Dorothy
Written by Amy Ayer of

Written by

Amy Ayer

Guest Writer