Nathin Bye, Wildflower Grill

In the late nineteenth century, French novelist Marcel Proust participated in an exercise which could be thought of as the Facebook of its era—he answered a questionnaire about his personality in a friend’s Confession Album.

Proust’s answers have been published, in one form or fashion, for more than a century. Several have used the questionnaire for their own devices, the most notable being Vanity Fair Magazine’s Proust Questionnaire featuring caelebrities. The Tomato now gives it a culinary twist.

Chef Bye went to the Canadian Culinary Championships 2009 in Vancouver as the youngest competitor (26) in the history of the event. Nathin wowed competitors and judges alike with his fresh culinary vision and ability to thrive in the event’s pressure cooker atmosphere. Sadly, he finished out of the medals, an annoying half point from the podium. His current position as executive chef of Wildflower Grill (part of the Lazia Group) is a perfect fit for his drive to create innovative cuisine.


Right here.

Years cooking?


Where would you like to live?

Right here.

Your favourite food and drink?

Lasagna, Voss sparkling water.

What would you be doing if you weren’t cooking?

Teaching English or cooking.

What do you most appreciate in your friends?


Your favourite qualities in a dish?

Visual drama.

A cook?

Show up on time. Ingenuity and innovation, good brain-storming skills—cooks excited about food is how our industry moves forward.

A wine?


Who would be at your dream dinner table (dead or alive)?

If I was cooking? Daniel Boulud, Thomas Keller, Grant Achatz.
If I weren’t cooking? Bach, Ghandi, Salvador Dali, Leonardo da Vinci.

Who would cook?


Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

Are we 100 per cent satisfied?

Current culinary obsession/exploration?


Meaningful/crazy cooking experience?

Crazy was my first Mothers’ Day Brunch buffet at JPL. I was working in the pastry shop—my hands were numb from cutting squares. I had no idea of quantity until that day.

Meaningful was Gold Medal Plates, being the youngest competitor on the national stage.

Complete elation was the 2004 Culinary Olympics. That year was an emotional and physically-punishing journey which pushed me to be a perfectionist.

Best (cooking) thing that ever happened to you?

Being able to cook with Rob Feenie at Gold Medal Plates—he’s one of my idols. To be able to mentor apprentices.


Finding a unique way to let high-quality ingredients considered ordinary, like beets or carrots to shine. Simple and fresh.


Nigel Webber (NAIT), my mother.

Favourite casual cheap and cheerful/afterwork food?

It’s super-late when I finish, so I usually head to Joey’s for gyoza.

What’s next?

I’d like to write a book—a cookbook with stories.