Chefs Spotlight Series: Chef Castro Boateng House of Boateng Cafe

Chefs Spotlight Series: Chef Castro Boateng House of Boateng Cafe

Photo courtesy of Jason Schultz

In our Chef Spotlight Series, we were able to catch up with House of Boateng’s namesake, owner, and chef Castro Boateng.  Chef Castro was born in the West African country of Ghana and moved to Canada when he was nine years old. He studied Culinary Arts at Humber College in Toronto and worked under European Master Chefs Stewart Cameron and Colin Watson at the prestigious Turnberry Resort, in Scotland. From there, he spent time at the Fairmont Southampton Princess in Bermuda, then Chef de Cuisine of Eden, the five-diamond restaurant at the Rimrock Resort Hotel in Banff, Alberta. He moved to Vancouver Island and became Executive Chef at the Aerie Resort on Vancouver Island before he and his wife opened their catering business and their Langford restaurant in 2018.

If there are three ingredients that you couldn’t live without, what would they be?

Citrus, spices, onions 

Where do you find inspiration for your dishes?

Old notebooks from all the places I have worked. I have been taking notes and creating dishes since day one. I love travelling so I am also looking for inspiration when I travel.

What do you love most about your job? What do you hate the most?

I love the challenge of running a business, I love meeting new people and sharing our food. I love finding new ingredients I haven’t used.I hate what it costs to run a food business.

What is your favourite thing to do on your day off?

I like to watch football (soccer) and hang out with my kids.

Can you share a great food memory?

The meal I had when I first arrived in Canada: BBQ chicken. At nine years old, this was the best meal ever! 

What is your favourite unsung ingredient that you think more people should cook with?

Confit garlic

If you left Vancouver Island to cook elsewhere, where would you go and why?

On the coast of Ghana. I want to take all the dishes I have been creating here and adapt them to ingredients in Ghana. That is where I will be moving to next!

If you could cook a dish for anyone alive or dead, who would you cook for and what would you make?

I would cook for Dave West, my high school basketball coach. It would be our African bowl, he would have loved it. I wouldn’t be where I am today without him.

How do you design your menu? How often do you change it?

I usually see what dishes are selling the most, what dishes aren’t selling, seasonality. It’s so hard to change our brunch menu now as our guests have fallen in love with the menu. Every time I change a dish I get people requesting it back. This year we will be offering more brunch specials to keep the menu fresh. We change our dinner menu four times a year.

What do you love most about your community?

How supportive and kind they have been to us and how many friends we have made.

Recipe: Local Artisan Greens with Raspberries, Young Coconut, Curry & Vanilla Dressing 

• ½ cup curry powder
• 2 tbsp turmeric powder
• 3 cups of vegetable oil 
• 1 vanilla bean 
• ½ cup white balsamic vinegar 
• 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
• 1 tsp Honey
• 1 tbsp preserved lemon
• salt to taste
• 2 young coconuts
• 3 Avocados Large
• 1lb Mixed Greens
• ¼ lb fresh raspberries
• a few edible flowers (optional)
• ¼ carrot julienned (optional)

  1. Combine turmeric, curry powder and 1 cup of oil in a small saucepan. Place on a very low heat to simmer, stir using a wooden spoon
  2. Cut Vanilla bean in half, scrape off the seeds with the back of a small knife. Add both the seeds & pod to the spice mixture
  3. Stir and continue to simmer on low heat for 6-8 minutes to make a paste. Set a side to allow the paste to cool (you will have more paste then you need for the recipe)
  4. To make the dressing: combine 2 tbsp of the paste, vinegar, Dijon mustard, honey, preserved lemon, salt & pepper into a blender. Start the blender for 15 seconds so all the ingredients combine. 
  5. On low speed, slowly drizzle the oil to create an emulsion. Dressing should be emulsified 
  6. Save the remaining paste for later use. Best to cover the paste with a few tablespoons of oil then place it in the fridge 
  7. Cut the top off the young coconut by using a large sharp chef’s knife. Note – the key is to angle your knife slightly downwards towards the coconut. Take your time and cut five corners off the top. Drain the coconut water and drink the water (if you have made it this far, you deserve to drink the coconut water!) 
  8. Scoop out the coconut using a tablespoon and remove any excess shell. Julienne the coconut and set aside. 
  9. Remove the pit from the avocado, carefully remove the avocado from the skin, then cut into small size cubes.
  10. Peel & Julienne Carrots if using. 

To serve, place some of the dressing on the bottom of a bowl. Add the avocado. Toss the greens with the coconut, lightly drizzle some of the dressing on to the greens. Place the greens in the bowl garnish with raspberries, edible flowers & Julienne carrots 

Responses and recipe courtesy of Castro Boateng, House of Boateng Cafe

Written by Lauren Gaultier of @winethenfood

Written by

Lauren Gaultier

Guest Writer