Vancouver, British Columbia
1535 W. 6th Ave., Vancouver, BC | 604-620-2070

Of all the utensils in your arsenal at the Farmer’s Apprentice, the most crucial to master is the spoon. Each small plate – more often, actually, it’s a bowl – conjured by owner David Gunawan is a precise jumble of textures and flavours. Springy shimeji mushrooms, torched daikon and spoon-tender, sake-marinated sablefish come together with a splash of smoky apple dashi. Digging in is a sort of black magic.

Dinning at The Farmer's Apprentice
Fresh Pasta at the Farmer's Apprentice
Various Dishes at the Farmer's Apprentice
Restaurant the Farmer's Apprentice
Vinyl Playing at the Farmer's Apprentice
Restaurant the Farmer's Apprentice
The staff dines at the Farmer's Apprentice
Restaurant the Farmer's Apprentice
Restaurant the Farmer's Apprentice

The carrot risotto on Gunawan’s season-driven menu is another good illustration. A creamy bowl of golden-hued rice is studded with poppy English peas that have barely been touched. It’s drizzled with brown butter and topped with crunchy buckwheat and a salsa verde made from carrot tops, giving the meatless dish a bit of nose-to-tail cred. Gunawan, sporting a “Smoking Kate Moss” T-shirt he claims to have borrowed from his girlfriend, carries the bowl to the table with a humble shrug.

The girlfriend, a chef named Dara Young, manages the 30-seat room that my date describes as “idealized countryside.” White wood and abundant vases of wispy wildflowers evoke a moneyed, agricultural seaside town in northern Europe – or, let’s face it, Greater Vancouver, which provides Gunawan with a bounty of small farmers and fishermen who arrive at his door in South Granville.

Dish of the Year

The Farmer’s Apprentice chef de cuisine, Jack Chen, breaks down this winning combination, described on the menu simply as “snow peas, new potatoes, harissa, crème fraîche, coffee.”
Hover over the hotspots below to read more.

Dish of the Year at Farmer's Apprentice

The chef’s stage at Belgium’s In De Wulf during a recent European sabbatical might explain his pastoral romanticism. But his Indonesian and Chinese heritage pushes the cooking broader. The crucial antidote to the sting of the Szechuan vinaigrette on the brisket and tripe salad is served up in a glass – a Belgian-style saison, brewed locally by Four Winds. As with a good puzzle, the ultimate pleasure comes not in intellectualizing why each piece fits, but in finishing.