Men of Vancouver (MofV) is a monthly editorial featuring the most stylish and professional men in Vancouver. Style by Sarai recently interviewed Chad Clark for this exclusive in-depth photo editorial.
How did you get involved in the restaurant industry?
I was working at Holt Renfrew and had worked in high end retail for about five years when I joined the team at Feenie’s restaurant because I was looking to do something different.
What challenges have you faced with starting new restaurants?
Opening restaurants, like any business, is a huge risk, because you never know how it is going to go. That in addition to running such an operationally dynamic business under the public eye makes it a very unique challenge. There are many moving parts in a restaurant and even more that could potentially go wrong – and in the beginning, they often do. Opening a restaurant is a very specific skillset, one that is hugely addictive.
What do you enjoy most about being the GM of Hawksworth Restaurant?
The people. I have a team of almost 140 employees and management and we serve an average of about 650 – 800 people a day, it is so much fun to see so many faces every day.
Where do you see yourself in five and 10 years?
I don’t know exactly where I see myself, hopefully Vancouver, with holiday property somewhere. I have been so fortunate to have had the opportunity to live in some incredible places because of my job, but Vancouver is still one of the most incredible places to live. Professionally, I hope to be working in my current industry, but in a more corporate capacity. I love what I do and feel so lucky to be doing it, I just want to be able to share and mentor as many young aspiring restauranteurs and professionals as possible.
Where does Vancouver stand in comparison to some of the other cities in North America when it comes to food, ambiance and service?
Since starting at Hawksworth Restaurant, I have learned the importance of staying current with what is going on around the world. Chef Hawksworth has a passion for food and has been generous enough to allow myself and members of the team to travel to destinations such as Hong Kong, Singapore, Tokyo, LA, San Francisco, New York, Toronto and Montreal to see what is going on in major centres around the globe.
Vancouver has developed such a beautifully unique and diverse dining scene, that you really can’t compare it to any other cities. I personally believe that the general level of service, execution and quality are much higher than the average city yet with a nicely relaxed west coast sense of style. Given the fact that we are a relatively small city, as far as the population is concerned, we have a huge number of great restaurants. In addition to that, we have an beautifully diverse cultural landscape. Because of this fact, both as patrons and restauranteurs alike, we have exposure to a vast array of ingredients and cooking techniques. Finally, add that to the perfect climate and environment for fresh & local produce and world class seafood, it’s hard to go wrong.
I am so proud to be involved in this quickly evolving community and can’t wait to see where our league of outstanding industry professionals evolve it to.
Outside of work, what do you do in your spare time?
I am a classically trained singer who loves to be active and quite social. I love a party and an excuse to dress up. I attend recitals put on by the Vancouver Recital Society, Ballet BC, Vancouver Opera. I love to eat out and drink and can often be seen at my favourite haunts (L’Abattoir, Nook, Tavola, Miku, Espana, to name a few). I attend a great deal of the Social Concierge Events (Diner En Blanc, The Horse Races and Elyx Jazz nights). I am on several boards and enjoy fundraising and organizing events for organizations such as the Vancouver Recital Society, Vancouver Opera Young Patron Circle and CANFAR Legacy Group.
I am currently training for the BMO half marathon, so I spend a couple days a week running as well. One other thing I do in my spare time is plan weddings. Yes, I have a hobby wedding planning business, my guilty pleasure. It is one of the most important days in a couple’s life and I absolutely love the process of guiding a couple and their family through the process.
How long have you been singing what genre of music do you sing?
I have been singing for most of my life and started as a boy soprano in elementary school singing in the Catholic church. My first “big break” was the role of the Tin Man in my grade 7 production of The Wizard of Oz. I have performed in musical theatre productions of the King & I, Bye Bye Birdie and Godspell. I sing jazz and funk with the Max Zipursky trio and formerly the Brian Horswill trio and have most recently performed at venues such as the Vancouver Club, 1181 & the Shangri-La. I am also a section lead for the semi professional North Shore vocal group called Espiritu, which I have been singing with on and off for the greater part of 8 years, under the direction of Gillian Hunt, my musical mentor.
I am currently working as the Barytone soloist for a production of Gabriel Faure’s Requiem with Lions Gate Sinfonia to be performed in North Vancouver, on Saturday April 5. I am so excited for this, it is one of my favourite works!
What are your thoughts on the arts scene in Vancouver?
The Vancouver art scene is definitely still growing. We have a number of organizations that are bringing some incredible art to the city and I do my best to support. When I speak of Art, it is mostly in the music scene, but I do my best to diversify my attendance and try to go to as many productions put on by the Vancouver Art Gallery, Ballet BC and the Rennie Gallery as well. Music on Main, VRS, Vancouver International Song Institute are also some organizations responsible for introducing some world class talent to our fair city, so much so, that many Vancouverites have no idea how good it actually is.
The one challenge that Vancouver faces as far as the arts are concerned is that we have so many incredible out door activities and things to do, that people don’t often choose to invest their time and funds to the arts. People complain that the culture in Vancouver lacks, however people don’t go to anything! I urge the people of Vancouver to attend something cultural at least once every few months! Go to a play, musical or show, anything! If we all made a bit more of an effort, that arts in our city would flourish, so do your part and participate.
What do you enjoy most about the Vancouver Art Gallery?
I have a wonderful relationship with the Art Gallery of Vancouver, not only as patron, but as a neighbour. I have produced a huge number of events there and have enjoyed working with the incredible team on their major fundraisers and other events. My brother married his beautiful wife Amanda there, it was one of the most magical days I have ever experienced, so I have a personal attachment to the venue as well.
What charitable organizations do you work with?
I have been a member of the board for the Vancouver Recital Society, one of the most prolific non-profit classical music organizations in the world. Leila Getz is the founder and artistic director of this 33-year-old organization and it is world famous for discovering new talent. Leila is responsible for bringing talents such as Isabel Bayrakdarian, YoYo Ma, Lang Lang, Murray Perahia and Renee Flemming, just to name a few.
I am the (newly appointed) chair of the CANFAR Legacy Group. It is an important new initiative bringing together Vancouver’s business and community leaders, to focus on an important common goal of giving back to our community. The Legacy Group’s goal is to create a fund to be used specifically for research, awareness and social programming devoted specifically to revitalizing HIV prevention programs for young gay males.
Finally, I am a committee member of the Vancouver Opera Young Patrons Circle. This is an initiative to help cultivate the young professionals and members of the community in the arts and cultural scene of Vancouver. We are endeavouring to engage the philanthropes of tomorrow and re-energize the arts community through events, openings and education.
How did you get involved with these cause/organization?
I am so grateful to have an incredible network of people around me who have provided me with these opportunities. I truly believe that it is important to make sure one gives back to their community. I have been invited to participate in these organizations by friends and acquaintances.
What does a typical weekend look like for you?
“Typical” is a relative term…my weekends are typically atypical. From skiing (which I have yet to do this season, sadly), to singing, to work, my weekends are all over the map. There is always a nice meal, brunch followed by shopping and a if I am lucky a show. I would be called out if I didn’t mention having drinks, and often too many of them, at one of my favourite watering holes, 1181.
What do you recommend everyone to try when they’re at Hawksworth Restaurant?
I always encourage people to go outside their comfort zone and try something they wouldn’t usually try. The menu at Hawksworth is always outstanding and we execute food on an exceptional level, so I tell people to abandon what they “like” and just try something totally different.
What’s your drink of choice at Hawksworth Restaurant?
It is a 3 way tie – Hotel Georgia, Paperplane or the Vesper.
How do you think people would describe your style?
People most often comment on the fact that I look “sharp.” I probably spend more time in a suit than most put together, especially in Vancouver. I love layers and accessorizing in a classic and sophisticated way (despite how unsophisticated I can potentially behave). I am pretty much always “dressed” and never just throw on sweats and a t-shirt. My casual, is often considered dressier that most.
What does style mean to you?
It is an expression of self and your ability to reflect a certain image through what you wear and how you wear it. Everyone has style, but many people just don’t understand how to access it. Dressing well is a skill and people neglect to consider that it takes time to learn it. I think style is not only about clothes, but about the confidence that they give you when you wear them.
THANKS CHAD CLARK, FOR BEING A STYLISH MAN IN VANCOUVER!
MEN OF VANCOUVER TEAM
producer / editor / stylist
STYLE BY SARAI
MATTHEW CHEN PHOTOS
hair & makeup
EMILY CHENG MAKEUP & HAIR
Men of Vancouver is a monthly editorial featuring the most stylish and professional men in Vancouver. MofV is currently being released exclusively on Vancity Buzz.