Chef Angus An began his culinary training shortly after completing a fine arts degree at the University of British Columbia. Enrolling in New York’s prestigious French Culinary Institute (FCI), and graduated top of his class. During his time in New York, Angus was given the opportunity do an externship program with Jo-Jo, Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s first restaurant.
Upon completion of FCI, Angus moved to Montréal, nicked named “Paris of North America” Angus was able to fully immerse himself in French cuisine and culture. It was in Montreal where Angus met his first mentor, Chef Normand Laprise of the famed Restaurant Toqué. Chef Laprise’s produce-driven cuisine inspired Angus and allowed Angus to have freedom to create dishes for his menu. It was at Toqué Angus learned the importance of simplicity, the discipline that is required to execute a minimalist style of cuisine. After several years at Toqué, and mastering the art of whole animal aging and butchering, Angus packed up his knives en route for Europe.
Angus travelled to London and staged in many Michelin Starred restaurants such as The Ledbury, The Fat Duck, La Manior aux Quat’Saison, and Nahm. Angus decided to join the team at Nahm and work under Chef David Thompson and started exploring Thai food. The Thai Cuisine that Chef Thompson offers, one that is complex with layers of flavours, combined with century old recipes was eye opening for Angus. At Nahm Angus was able to learn about seasoning, and balancing intense flavours, hallmarks of Thai cuisine.
Chef An returned to Vancouver in 2006 in plans to open his first restaurant, Gastropod, with his wife Kate. Gastropod was opened to much critical acclaim, wining Best New Restaurant in almost every field, and received rave reviews from local, national, and international critics, including an invitation to cook at the prestigious James Beard House in March 2008. At the time Angus was only one of four Vancouver chefs to ever be invited, and the youngest at the age of 27. Gastropod was also named Top 200 restaurants in the world by Zagat in 2008, and featured in news papers in both the US and the UK. The Cuisine of Gastropod was pioneering for Vancouver, offering modern techniques, and minimalist cuisine where the ingredient spoke for itself. Gastropod was a restaurant that supported local farmers, sustainable seafood, and believed everything should be made in house. Gastropod was proud to have a plot in the community garden, the first and only restaurant to ever do so, and also a vibrant herb garden in the back alley. When the economy turned in 2009 Angus saw the opportunity to rebrand and find a new challenge. Opening a Thai restaurant was something that Angus had wanted to do for a long time, introducing authentic Thai flavours, with modern techniques, and local ingredients.
In spring of 2009, Angus successfully rebranded his restaurant to Maenam. A Thai restaurant that offers the best of Thai flavours combined with atmosphere, balanced beverage program, and unique dishes that respect both Thai tradition and modern cuisine. Maenam was opened to great success, wining Best New Restaurants in several fields, and claiming Best Thai Restaurant Award from Vancouver Magazine 3 years running. Maenam garner attention from national and international critics, named top 25 restaurants in Canada by En route Magazine, called one of the best Thai Restaurants in North America by the Georgia Straight, as well as several features in the New York Times and Starchefs.com. Angus wanted to combine all of his training and balance it delicately into Thai Cuisine. All curry pastes and sauces are crafted in-house, using local, sustainable, non-medicated ingredients wherever possible. Creating new dishes that represent both Thai tradition and his modernistic approach to food, Angus received another invitation to cook at the James Beard house in person by the Vice President of James Beard Foundation Dr. Mitchell Davis, to present Modern Thai Cuisine. Angus spends 3 to 4 weeks a year in Thailand researching new flavours, and revisiting old ones to try to continuously evolve Maenam’s cuisine. Chef An is a big part of his community, giving time to teach Thai cuisine in local cooking schools (Northwest Culinary Institute, quince, and the Dirty Apron), and competing in the Nationwide Gold Medal Plates culinary competition in 2009 and 2012.
With his fine arts background, Angus sees food as a fine balance of arts and science. A flavour driven chef, where all dishes must taste as good as it looks. He dabs in modern cooking techniques only if it benefits the end result, never for show. Angus believes his cuisine is built on technique, flavour, balance, tradition, innovation and presentation.
Awards and Achievements
- Vancouver Magazine’s 27th annual Restaurant of the Year (Maenam) 2016
- Best New Fine Dining Restaurant, VanMag Awards (Gastropod) 2007
- Mclean’s Top 50 Restaurants in Canada 2012
- Canada’s Top 100 Restaurants 2015, 2016
- Best Design, VanMag Awards (Gastropod) 2007
- Top 200 Restaurants in the World, Zagat’s guide survey (Gastropod) 2008
- Food rating of 26 from Zagat’s guide (Gastropod) 2008
- The Next Generation Top Chefs, VanMag (Angus An) 2008
- James Beard Foundation Dinner, Invitation (Angus An) 2008
- Gold Medal Plates, Top culinary competitor (Angus An) 2009
- Food rating of 27 from Zagat’s guide (Maenam) 2009
- Best New Restaurant, VanMag Awards (Maenam) 2009
- Best Thai Restaurant, VanMag Awards (Maenam-Gold *Longtail-Silver) 2009, ’10, ’11, ’12, ’13*, ’14*, ’15*, ’16*
- Where to Dine Awards for Best Other Asian (Maenam) 2009, ’11, ’12, ’13, ’16
- Tripadvisor 4/5 star rating (Maenam) 2012, ’13, ’14, ’15, ’16
- Vancouver International Wine Fest, wine list award, silver (Maenam) 2012
- Featured in Where Chefs Eat Guide by Phaidon Publication (Maenam) 2013, ’14
- Featured in 36 hours Guide by The New York Times (Maenam) 2010
- James Beard Foundation Dinner, Invitation (Angus An) 2008, 2013
- Gold Medal Plates, Top culinary competitor (Angus An) bronze finish 2013
- DiRona award, Distinguished Restaurants of North America (Maenam) 2012, ’13, ’14, ’15