Throughout his career, executive chef Javier Alarco has cooked for the rich and famous, cruised the high seas, and produced food in notable establishments around the globe. At the core of his success lies an affinity for the kitchen and a passion for food.
Javier obtained his degree in culinary/hotel management, graduating in the top five in his advanced culinary class from Toronto’s George Brown Culinary School. He spent the next few years apprenticing at some of Toronto’s renowned kitchens, including the Westin Harbor Castle Hotel, The Plaza Hotel Admiral, and the Toronto Airport Marriott Hotel.
Then, he went abroad to Hong Kong’s Mandarin Oriental, where he trained under executive chef Maurice Thuret at La Parot restaurant. He returned to Toronto for another year before embarking on a near decade-long overseas jaunt to refine his craft. Some of his exotic employers included Little Dix Bay Resort on Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands and the Isrotel Sport Club Hotel in Eliat, Israel
Javier later returned to North America as executive sous-chef at the Grand Hyatt San Francisco. Now, as executive chef of the 645-room Hyatt Regency Vancouver, he leads a team of 40 cooks and chefs, while overseeing restaurant, room service and catering operations.
Javier attributes his success to a passion for the kitchen and a compelling desire to keep learning. “I pushed myself hard, went after the right education, and chose learning over earning,” he says. “I often stayed after work on my own time to learn more and soak up the knowledge available to me from others. In my early career years, I made myself available to work voluntarily in Europe alongside some of the continent’s finest chefs and culinary leaders.”
He says that working in the kitchen is hard, physical work, much less glamorous than what may be portrayed on television. You must be willing to work hard, and to work your way up. It can be an exciting career filled with a lot of opportunities and experiences, and the rewards will come if you are truly driven by a love of the trade and a passion for the kitchen.