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Railtown Cafe's Tyler Day helps you feed a crowd without breaking the bank.
Behind the service doors of Vancouver’s Railtown Cafe you’ll find Tyler Day’s catering kitchen. The café’s relaxed but vibrant atmosphere is filled with people craving made-from-scratch sandwiches, seasonal soups and build-your-own salads, and the wooden tables, along with red metal chairs, give it a lively, cool vibe. The catering kitchen, though also vibrant, is not quite so chill. This is where a team of 23 full-time cooks, 60 part-time cooks, partner Dan Olson and chef Day make things happen.
As you pass the first walk-in fridge, a cook is making a big batch of chimichurri. Céline Dion’s “Because You Loved Me” plays on thestereo, and while Day would prefer listening to Bob Dylan, there are a lot of different personalities in the kitchen, resulting in a pretty eclectic mix of music.
“What I love,” says Day, “is how different every day is.” Being a caterer, compared to being a restaurant chef, means being able to adapt. From a wedding to a barbecue or from a social cocktail party to a plated dinner, every function is unique. “They’re all nice for their own reason,” says Day. And the menu they offer at each event is unique as well. Day and his sous-chefs get inspiration from what’s in season and what they feel like eating. “If something sounds good and my mouth starts watering when I’m thinking about it,” he says, “then I might put it down on paper.” And, eventually, on your plate.
Chef Day moves fast but gracefully, as someone who’s not only comfortable with but also thrilled by his environment—a guy whose passion for food continues past his 17-hour days, who comes home to make his own pasta from scratch. And in the meantime, he and his team will be opening three new Railtown Cafe locations around Vancouver in the next eight months. That, combined with the holiday season on the doorstep, will keep him busy for a while. He could be catering a wedding, cooking in front of a customer or, his personal favourite, barbecuing. But there are two things that will always be present: food, and his love for it.
Tyler’s Go-To Recipes for Feeding a Crowd
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