‘Taking a good piece of meat and making it more delicious’

These were the prophetic words of Chef David Gunawan, owner of Farmer’s Apprentice Restaurant in Vancouver. David cooked a private dinner for a group of friends in Vancouver recently. The main course was described as “Thirty Days Dried Aged Pork, Blackcurrant Jus.” It was one of the most delicious pieces of meat I’ve eaten in a long time.

The pork was from a farm in Kamloops, a town in south central British Columbia, called North Thompson. David has worked with owner Jon Klop for five years. This particular breed was a cross between Duroc and Berkshire.

Chef David explained, “Through trial and error we figure out a combination of the breed, how long till we wean them, how much whey, grains, etc.

 The last time I ate pork this good was from Cumbrae’s butcher in Toronto. It was called Niagara Gold, and the young pigs were reared on the whey from Niagara Gold cheese. Cumbrae’s owner, Stephen Alexander, said, “Keep in mind, I strongly believe that genetics is only half the equation. To get great results, you need a good feed program and living environment.” 

At a time when so many restaurants are trying to figure out how to be successful, it’s encouraging to know that obsessive dedication to growing and sourcing the very best meat is still practiced and is one of the key differences between a great restaurant and a good restaurant.