The Fairmont Empress,
Victorian Charm and Regal Splendour
CHEF DAVID HAMMONDS
Kitchen Size: Five Kitchens, 12, 000 sq ft
Kitchen Staff: 65
Volume Meals/Day: 4000 (during high season)
Favourite Food: Bacon and Eggs (English style)
Signature Recipe: Fresh West Coast Halibut
Hobbies: Hockey, Family time
Cooking Philosophy: Teamwork within the kitchen is the
key to a success. It is important to listen closely
to all your chefs to help you make the right decision.
Born in Wolverhampton, England, trained at Halesowen
Catering College in England, Hammonds apprenticed at
Gleneagles Hotel, Scotland, internationally famous for
their historic Golf Courses. After Gleneagles, he was
a member of the opening team for the Birmingham Metropole
Hotel at England’s National Conference Centre.
Hammonds crossed the open waters to lead the opening
team for the King Edward Hotel in Toronto, Ontario,
then crossed the continent to be appointed Executive
Chef of the Delta Mountain Inn in Whistler, B.C., which
he helped open in 1982. This was just a "West Coast
warm up" for Hammonds and what awaited him on Vancouver
In 1984, Hammonds joined the Fairmont Empress in Victoria,
B.C. and started to lead them into a culinary success
story. In 1989, The Fairmont Empress underwent a $45
million dollar restoration. As Executive Chef for The
Fairmont Empress for 17 years, Hammonds admits that
his involvement in the reopening of the grand old lady
was one of his biggest challenges. More restorations
were followed by the renovation of Kipling’s restaurant
in 1997 and the Bengal Lounge in 1998.
To Hammonds, the success of any operation depends on
the team. He believes everyone should have input. "You
must listen closely to all your chefs to help you make
the right decision for the kitchen," says Hammonds.
"I try to get everyone’s input on new menus
and kitchen changes."
This working philosophy has served him well throughout
his career, which is studded with several large-scale
accomplishments, including meeting and cooking for Her
Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II and Prime Minister Chretien
during the XV Commonwealth Games in 1994.
The Empress Room, with its lush tapestried walls and
carved mahogany ceiling, features seasonal menus which
showcase the best cuisine British Columbia has to offer.
The renowned Bengal Lounge, restored to its unique colonial
character, attracts guests to its famous curry buffet
luncheon and evening cocktails. Kipling’s, a family-style
restaurant, offers an all-day buffet and a popular Sunday
brunch. The Victorian tradition of Afternoon Tea is
hosted in the regal Tea Lobby and is internationally
known as a "must do" when visiting Victoria.
In addition, David and his team handle all the food
and beverage requirements for the Victoria Conference
Centre, which is attached to the hotel and boasts 40,000
square feet of meeting space.
"It is important that we promote fresh, regional
products in all our menus," says Hammonds. "While
The Fairmont Empress is famous for our Afternoon Tea
service, we strive at being the most innovative culinary
team in Canada. We have the local ingredients and the
talent." This year Chef Hammonds will be leading
the Fairmont Hotels & Resorts Culinary Apprenticeship
program in supporting young Canadian Chefs in the industry.
There is a complement of 65 chefs working in David
Hammonds Culinary Team. Together, Hammonds and his team
are inspired to create meals that celebrate local cuisine
while reflecting the distinctive personality that has
defined The Fairmont Empress since 1908. His team of
65 cooks in 5 kitchens generates over $13 million in
foods sales each year.
EXECUTIVE CHEF DAVID HAMMONDS AT
Studied at Halesowen Catering College in England
Apprenticeship at Gleneagles Hotel, Scotland, and Birmingham
Metropole Hotel at
England’s National Conference Centre.
17 years Executive Chef, The Fairmont Empress
2 years Delta Mountain Inn, Whistler, BC
2 years King Edward Hotel, Toronto, Ontario
ASSOCIATIONS & CERTIFICATIONS:
Member of Victoria Academy of Chef’s and Cooks
Member of Canadian Federation of Chef’s
THE ICING ON THE CAKE...
Empress Pastry Chef
Pastry Kitchen Staff: 12 during peak season
Favorite Food: Falafels
Signature Recipe: Chocolate PB&B cake (Peanut butter
sponge soaked with rum, fresh banana’s layered
with chocolate mousse)
Industry Influence: Ted Hara, Executive Pastry Chef,
Pan Pacific Hotel
Cooking Philosophy: Introducing non- traditional ingredients
and allowing a new experience of flavour without the
Born and raised in Victoria, Ken Harper joined The Fairmont
Empress as an apprentice chef in 1986 after completing
his scholarship in Camosun College’s Culinary
In 1988, during The Fairmont Empress’s six-month
renovation closure, Harper joined the award-wining culinary
team of the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel. With a taste
for new experiences, he was then promoted to Chef de
Partie and moved to the Fairmont Chateau Whistler Resort.
Three years later, Harper moved to Vancouver and became
Chef de Partie at the Pan Pacific Hotel where he honed
his skills for three-and-a-half years.
In 1997, Harper came home to The Fairmont Empress, this
time as an award-winning Pastry Chef.
"I believe in using contrasting flavours in my
pastry preparation," says Harper. "Bringing
non-traditional ingredients and combinations into the
pastry arena and contrasting them with traditional ones
gives me the chance to develop unique and exquisite
"The secret to a fantastic dessert is not to be
too rich or too sweet and enjoy it", says Harper.
While working at the Pan Pacific Hotel in Vancouver,
Harper had the opportunity to work with Ted Hara, Executive
Pastry Chef. "Hara’s high standards taught
me be to be extremely conscious of the food I create
and serve. The presentation can be complex, however
the taste, texture, consistency and balance has to be
perfect in order to create memorable and luxurious dessert"
says Harper. "The biggest compliment I can receive
is a ravaged plate."
While Afternoon Tea is a legend and tradition to The
Fairmont Empress, Harper’s pastry team prepares
desserts and pastries for all four outlets including
an extremely important venue, the award winning Empress
Dining Room. The Fairmont Empress pastry team also provides
all breakfast and dessert items to the Victoria Conference
Centre. "From fine dining to Afternoon Tea to a
croissant in a guest room, I depend on my team to make
it happen," comments Harper.
PASTRY CHEF, KEN HARPER AT A GLANCE
Graduate of Camosun College’s Culinary program
Pastry Chef, The Fairmont Empress 1997- present
One year Assistant Pastry Chef, Edmonton Convention
Three and a half years Chef de Partie, Pan Pacific Vancouver
Three years Chef de Partie, Chateau Whistler
One year Second Cook, Fairmont Banff Springs
Four years Apprentice, The Fairmont Empress
Team Canada, 1997 Glasgow Culinary Grand Prix, World
Team Alberta, 1996 Berlin Culinary Olympics, Gold Medal
Best Individual Pastry Entry, 1994 Luxembourg Culinary
Silver Medal in 1992 Frankfurt Culinary Olympics
Gold Medal in 1991 Calgary competition
ASSOCIATIONS & CERTIFICATIONS:
Canadian Federation of Chefs and Cooks/Victoria Chef’s
Vancouver Island Chef’s Collaborative
U.S. Pastry Alliance