A restaurant owner slash O's best bud chats with us about the pursuit of good food, the meaning behind meat-centric, off-cut farmhouse fare and how opening up shop in the downtown east side is the bomb.
Who: James Iranzad
Where: Vancouver, BC
What: Owner of Wildebeest
Believe: You should try the veal
Q: Wildebeest is a great name, how did you come up with this?
A: My son said the word when I asked him what his favourite animal was one day. I visualized the word and loved it, texted it to Josh and he confirmed it was the one.
Q: If you could use 3 words to describe Wildebeest they would be?
A: Honest, brave, delicious.
Q: Your chef David Gunawan is working closely with the local farmers/purveyors, what are some of the unusual veggies you are commissioning to serve?
A: We take quality over the unusual but have worked with some uncommon ones already. Kohlrabi, celeriac, and parsley root come to mind, all of which are delicious.
Q: I love this idea that you even have wine on tap, whats the story behind this?
A: It's a brilliant way to serve wine meant to be enjoyed young. It avoids bottle shock, bottle variance, and is much better for the environment than bottles, labels, and corks. It works like a keg, and I feel this current trend is just the beginning, and we're proud to be a leader in the movement.
Q: What is the biggest challenge of being a restaurant owner?
A: Building a great restaurant is demanding to the point that maintaining balance in your life is always the hardest part.
Q: Best business advice you have ever received?
A: Without being too specific, a friend told me once to never be afraid of making difficult decisions, even if they affect others. Consider all points and views, be thoughtful and calm, then act with purpose.
Q: How do you define a well designed restaurant?
A: One that works as well logistically as it looks.
Q: Your favorite restaurant of all time?
A: An impossible question. Some I love for the memories they conjure, some for their courage, others for design or service, too many for their food. I have yet to find one that satisfies all such criteria, but then that's what I remain motivated to create.
Q: Food buzzwords you hate?
A: "Foodie", "gourmet", most buzzwords really. Too often they're about salesmanship and not the proper craft and care of what it is we do.
Q: Your last meal would be what, where and with whom?
A: That would depend on when it's my time to go, but it would be at home with my family for sure.