Widely regarded as one of Vancouver’s preeminent professionals in the practiced art of inspired hospitality, industry stalwart Steve Edwards, 36, recently took the reins as Director of Operations at Boulevard Restaurant & Oyster Bar, which opened in July at the Sutton Place Hotel in the heart of downtown Vancouver. Prior to joining Boulevard, Edwards served as restaurant director at internationally acclaimed Whistler restaurants Araxi and Bearfoot Bistro as well as GM and Wine Director at Cibo Trattoria and UVA Wine & Cocktail Bar in Vancouver.
Elevator Pitch: Describe your business in a nutshell.
Boulevard Kitchen & Oyster Bar is a new restaurant that presents subtle, unexpected and playful approaches to cuisine, service and style. The cornerstone of Boulevard is Executive Chef Alex Chen’s seafood-focused menu, which is grounded in classical technique and training and artfully infuses West Coast flair and creative hints of his international influences. Paired with exceptional service, a wide-ranging selection of wine and cocktails and true European ambiance in a traditional-yet-modern setting, Boulevard offers breakfast, lunch, dinner and late-night service seven days a week, as well as weekend brunch. As director of operations, I lead an incredible front-of-house team that includes such notable names as Brian Hopkins (Maître d’), Lisa Haley (Wine Director), Justin Taylor (Bar Manager) and Robert “Oyster Bob” Skinner (Oyster Specialist).
Why did you start working at the company? What was your inspiration for this career route?
After running successful restaurants in Whistler and Vancouver, I took on the role of Director of Operations at Boulevard because it was an excellent opportunity to advance my career in a very supportive environment. My career choice aligns with my passion for restaurant operations and my love and appreciation for food and wine.
What is the best part of what you do on a day-to-day basis? The most challenging part?
The best part of my job is being able to carry a project from its inception all the way through to rollout. I love being at the helm of a restaurant that has so many moving parts and overcoming whatever challenges are presented to me.
Where do you see your business going in five years?
In five years I see Boulevard Kitchen & Oyster Bar having firmly established itself as a truly iconic restaurant in Vancouver.
What does success look like to you?
My true measure of success is fully realized when the people around me are happy, and that includes guests, my team and shareholders.
What is the most memorable milestone in your career?
There are a few moments in my career that really stand out: experiencing the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Whistler while Restaurant Director at Araxi, and then being a part of FOX’s Hell’s Kitchen with Chef Gordon Ramsay at Araxi as the grand prize of the show’s sixth season; producing and executing “Masquerave,” one of Whistler’s marquee events during the Cornucopia Festival of Wine & Food, at Bearfoot Bistro; and helping to reinvigorate Cibo Trattoria as General Manager and Wine Director.
Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
Follow your passions, put your head down, work hard and prioritize – but also don’t forget to have fun and take advantage of great opportunities whenever they are presented to you. And always enjoy the company of your loved ones.
Do you support any charities? If so, which one(s) and why is that important to you?
I’m a proud supporter of a number of charities, both personally and professionally, including A Loving Spoonful, the Dr. Peter AIDS Foundation and the Canadian Diabetes Association. I think it’s vital for young professionals to make a commitment and give back to the community.
What is Notable to you?
Dedication to one’s chosen field and a desire to be the very best at what you do.
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How do you keep active, energetic, and vibrant?
I keep active and energized by playing beach volleyball, snowboarding, running and going to the gym – and ‘exercising’ my passion for wine as well!