jeff massey

Meet Chef Jeff Massey

Meet Chef Jeff Massey

As seen in the Vancouver Sun on August 5, 2017

Meet the Chef: Jeff Massey of Restaurant 62

written by Randy Shore

Chef Jeff Massey has helped make Restaurant 62 one of the Fraser Valley’s go-to, fine-dining establishments. Massey learned his chops in Yaletown at Cioppino’s Mediterranean and the  Glowbal grills among others, and has since established Abbotsford’s R 62 as a farm-to-fork pioneer.

Q: What motivates and inspires you as a chef?

A: I am very inspired by working with the cooks and chefs here at the restaurant. It has been a lot of fun developing them from young cooks to really great cooks, and even better thinkers. Often young staff come in with little training and are enamoured by the kitchen. I love to work with them and get them to really think about food and plating and preparation. I take away all of the recipes and methods and turn them into skills and techniques that work for each individual.

Q: How would you describe the type of food you like to cook?

A: I really love to cook simple food. Layering simple flavours that really complement each other to enhance the dish. My favourite things to work with are simple, too. Sea salt, olive oil, fennel, sherry vinegar, fresh fish and scallops. In season, vegetables and fruits make up a huge part of what I do.

Q: What might diners not know about you?

A: In 2011, I was recognized in Western Living Magazine in their “Top 40 Foodies Under 40.”

Q: Describe a couple of your most recent creations.

A: I have been slow-cooking some amazing beef briskets. A deep sear on the surface adds such a rich flavour to the densely marbled meat of a brisket. A good dose of sea salt and a simple shallot, garlic and herb blend rubbed all over before heading into the oven for about six hours. Paired with parsnip puree and some aged blue cheese … ridiculous.

Q: What’s your favourite local product and how do you use it?

A: Rabbits are one of my favourite products and they are found right here in the Fraser Valley. We get whole fresh rabbits delivered from a small family farm in Popkum, just outside Chilliwack. They are such a beautiful product to work with. Large saddles that are so tender and sweet. We always incorporate the legs in some way to make each plate an entree that showcases the entire rabbit, often including the kidneys.

Q: If there’s one important piece of advice you might have for cooks, what might that be?

A: Taste your food. Always. During preparation and just before serving. Once you’ve tasted it, adjust. Use your senses to make sure it is what you’re looking for. Keep it balanced. Hot, sour, salty, sweet, these should all be complementary and one not too strong in any way. Too much of one throws the flavours of the dish out of whack.

Recipe: Pan-Roasted Ling Cod with Nettle Pesto

4 ling-cod filets (about 2 lbs., 908 g)

1 tsp (5 mL) fine sea salt

1/2 tsp (2 mL) pepper

2 tbsp. (30 mL) canola oil

The vegetables

8 patty pan squash, split

1 yellow zucchini, cut into chunks

16 cherry tomatoes

4 golden beets

8 radishes

2 tbsp. (30 mL) extra virgin olive oil

1 tsp sea salt

Preheat oven to 350 F (180 C). Pat filets dry with paper towel. Season both sides with salt and pepper. In a large, heavy-bottomed frying pan on medium high heat, sear fish on one side until golden crust forms. Turn filets and place in oven until firm to the touch, about 8-12 minutes depending on thickness of fish.

Wash and cut vegetables to roughly the same size. In a bowl, toss vegetables in olive oil and season with salt. Spread vegetables evenly on a sheet pan and bake until soft and lightly browned, about 15 minutes.

Makes 4 servings.

Stinging-Nettle pesto

3 cups (750 mL) tender nettle tops

1/4 cup (60 mL) Italian parsley

1/4 cup (60 mL) fresh basil

1/4 cup (60 mL) toasted pumpkin seeds

1/4 cup (60 mL) extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup (60 mL) Parmesan cheese

2 garlic cloves, peeled

1 tbsp. (15 mL) capers, drained

Juice and zest of one lemon

1/2 tsp (2 mL) sea salt

1/4 tsp (1 mL) black pepper

Wearing gloves, pick and rinse nettle tops. Fill a large bowl with water. In a large pot on high heat blanch nettles in 2 quarts (2 L) boiling water seasoned with 1 tbsp. salt for 30 seconds. Drain and immerse in cold water. Remove from cold water and press-out excess moisture. Combine all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until smooth. Taste and season with salt and pepper, if desired.

Makes 1 cup (250 mL).