As the executive chef at Hockley Valley Resort and Adamo Estate Winery, Iniyan Vijay combines his love of fresh ingredients with a wish to savour traditional Italian cuisine.
“New ideas and concepts we have always worked on, keeping our tradition in mind. That’s why I feel we have been very successful,” says Vijay, who joined the Orangeville-area resort’s kitchen in 2013.
When Vijay was looking for a job after graduation from Georgian College, he says the restaurant was not his first choice.
“That changed during my stage (internship) when I saw what they were doing and it just made me realize that this is what I want to do," he tells BarrieToday.
Vijay started as sous chef for A La Carte Outlets at Hockley Valley Resort and hasn’t looked back since.
“It's amazing that I have continued progressing and learning and continue to get support to do what I love,” he says, while also adding a special thanks to his general manager, Ken Murray.
Vijay says part of the restaurant's success can be attributed to its farm-to-table concept.
“Our ingredients are sourced from our kitchen garden, which is not all that common," he says.
The restaurant also has all the charcuterie made in-house.
“That gives a lot of pride to me as a chef," he admits. "That's what makes us unique. We are a hidden gem.”
With international experience, including at five-star hotels around the world, Vijay says he brought flavours from all his travels, but added the collaborative work is what makes a difference.
“More than my personal touch, it’s about the team, the family I work with," he says. "We all create this together and that makes it even more personal for me.”
A graduate of the culinary program at Georgian College, where he studied from 2011 to 2013, Vijay is circling back to start teaching in the college’s culinary management program this year.
Since his graduation, Vijay says he has had many unique opportunities. These include being recognized by Feast On Ontario as a top local chef and working on television with celebrities like Tim Bolen and Chef D (Darryl Fletcher).
As for his student experience at Georgian College, which included a summer job at the Michelin star L'Alsace à Table in France, Vijay was impressed by the instructors and the way they teach.
“I felt there was more human touch in the world of pure technology," he says. "The teachers took pride in what they taught and that's why I feel I am where I am.”
Vijay says his college experience was unforgettable and the memories will last forever.
“I’m so happy to be back to school to share what I have learned," he says.
For more information about A La Carte Outlets at Hockley Valley Resort and Adamo Estate Winery, click here.