New Restaurant, new cook

The View Bistro & Lounge opened Tuesday July 22 and offers a fresh menu made entirely by the new top chef.

Joel Smith is the new top chef at The View Bistro & Lounge. Nyrecha Kalt and Kelsey Ouellette are the two new floors managers for the restaurant.

The smell of food is lingering in Fort St. James since the opening of a new restaurant in town.

The View Bistro & Lounge is now officially open as of Tuesday July 22, as a long-awaited new place to eat for residents and tourists alike. The new dine-in eatery offers contemporary western bar & grill type food and an extensive drinks menu. Joel Smith, 36, manages the restaurant as top chef and is proud to have personally created the updated menu.

“I like the craft of building something successfully and I’m a people pleaser. I also like the instant gratification [of being a chef],” said Mr. Smith.

Coming to Fort St. James from Calgary, Alberta, Mr. Smith has been cooking for 20 years. After attending the Alberta Institute of Technology for cooking, he obtained his Red Seal, a highly-respected universal certification recognizing prestigious ability in a trade, in this case cooking.

For him it started in high school as a way of making extra money. He worked in a local restaurant cooking and washing dishes and it just snowballed from there.

“I have a pretty short attention span so I can’t do a desk job, I needed something to channel that,” said Mr. Smith.

Having herd of the job opening at The View through a friend-of-a-friend, Joel was a perfect candidate and got hired to go into business with Scott Cameron, co-owner of The View Hotel.

“He’s an amazing cook, great personality and a real team leader. We’ve recently hired over 50 people in staff and he’s definitly good at training, taking the time to get everyone up-to-date with the quality of service were trying to deliver,” said Mr. Cameron.

Erica Prosser, 23, is a restaurant server supervisor and has been serving for over five years at various restaurants.

“The opening day ran a lot smoother than I though an opening day would. There’s been a lot of praise about the food. Everyone says it’s delicious,” said Ms. Prosser.

During the recent remodelling of the hotel, not only was the restaurants menu revamped, the entire restaurant was also re-done and now caters to guests with modern decor and a distinguished feel.