Cooking up a homecoming in Oak Bay

Executive Chef Jeff Keenliside has come home to the Marina Restaurant

Executive Chef Jeff Keenliside is once again making Oak Bay’s Marina Restaurant his home base.

Four years after he left the Marina Restaurant, Jeff Keenliside has returned, ready to make the place his own.

“We are absolutely delighted that Executive Chef Jeff Keenliside has come home to the Marina Restaurant,” said manager Jennifer Gidora. “In just a few short weeks he has already launched a new menu that features a wide variety of fun and inventive dishes like fish monger’s stew, lamb curry, a ploughman’s lunch and miso cured sablefish.”

Keenliside has lived most of his life on Vancouver Island, working in kitchens while pursuing post-secondary education until landing at the Aerie Resort where he started his apprenticeship.  He finished at Café Brio under Sean Brennan, building a strong foundation in local food, seasonality and menu composition.

“The most important thing I’ve learned over the years is that innovative cooking can come from applying traditional methods to local, seasonal products presented in a modern but natural way,” Keenliside said.

Keenliside joined the Marina Restaurant in 2005, and received honours as Vancouver Island Chef of the Year. He also helped his pastry team achieve top honours two years in a row at the Grand Marnier Challenge. He was vice-president of the Island Chef’s Collaborative and helped organize its first annual event, Defending Our Backyard, recognizing the relationships between local producers and top local restaurants, Gidora said. Keenliside was also asked to sit on the apprenticeship advisory board at Camosun College to help define the changing needs of the education component for the industry.

“I am very excited to be back at the helm of such a beautiful kitchen and I look forward to maintaining the Marina Restaurant as a culinary destination for years to come,” Keenliside said.