Gus Stieffenhofer-Brandson in the garden.
Gus Stieffenhofer-Brandson in the garden.
© Sarah Annand

Expert of the week

Gus Stieffenhofer-Brandson

Canadian chef passionate about locally farmed, foraged, and fermented foods.

Updated on Jun 10, 2024 | World of Mouth team

Gus Stieffenhofer-Brandson is the chef and owner of Published on Main in Vancouver, Canada. Gus combines his appreciation for the bounty of British Columbia with his passion for locally-farmed, foraged and fermented foods, guiding Published on Main to international acclaim. Born and raised in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Gus spent a big part of his time growing up either in the garden at home, or out at his grandparents farm. He’s always had an incredibly close connection with food, and from an early age, felt most at home in the kitchen.

Gus’s culinary career has taken him to several Michelin-starred restaurants in Germany, Copenhagen’s famed Noma, and The Pear Tree Restaurant in Vancouver where he worked with well-respected chef Scott Jaeger. Gus can often be found collaborating with other chefs across Canada, such as cooking on a river at RAW:almond. When he’s not cooking, Gus loves foraging in nearby mountains.

Gus, tell us about your current projects.

I'm mostly consumed by my work in the restaurant, but I’m often found foraging for wild mushrooms or other edibles if I'm not working. Published is a contemporary west coast restaurant, serving both a tasting menu and an extensive a la carte. Our menu is not bound by any limitations, but is focused on highlighting the vast array of incredible ingredients available to us here. From our oceans, forests, and farmlands, we serve what we can fresh, and pack down, ferment, pickle, freeze and dry the best of what's in season to last into the slimmer winter months.

"Our menu is not bound by any limitations, but is focused on highlighting the vast array of incredible ingredients available to us here. From our oceans, forests, and farmlands, we serve what we can fresh, and pack down, ferment, pickle, freeze and dry the best of what's in season to last into the slimmer winter months."

Tell us about the restaurant scene in Vancouver.

Vancouver is small big city. We are definitely deserving of international recognition, with so many talented chefs showcasing all the brilliant produce we have available to us here.

© Sarah Annand

What are your three favorite restaurants in Vancouver and why?

Typically on my days off I mostly want southeast Asian food, lots of herbs, and a high level of seasoning. My three favorite restaurants in Vancouver are L'Abbatoir (some of the finest cooking around), Fat Mao Noodles (my number one day off noodle spot, it always satisfies), and Mr Red Cafe (their papaya salad and Vong village young rice cakes are the best).

What’s a new restaurant or hidden gem in Vancouver that you think is doing great things?

Elephant is probably the most undersung hero, where Justin makes the most infuriatingly delicious food. All his weird sauces and condiments, it’s so tasty.

What’s your favorite kind of restaurant and why?

I like a restaurant that has variety. I like to try a lot of different things, and I want to keep engaged.

© Tanya Goehring

What are your three favorite food cities and your favorite restaurants in those cities?

I think Chicago, San Francisco and New York all have just such great restaurants. On recent trips, I have had so many stellar meals, from Michelin-starred dinners, to small burger joints or pizza, there’s always something new to dig into. In New York, Wildair is a super fun room and clever dining experience, with delicious food and drink. Atera is an very immersive experience in a beautiful space. They have a lot of finesse, and I love the interactions with kitchen team. The Four Horsemen has one of the greatest Dungeness crab dishes I’ve ever had. Love the vibe. If I lived in NYC I’d be a regular.

In San Fran, Kiln is one of the great dining experience I’ve had lately. Very cool minimalist space, where the food is the obvious spotlight, but I was also super impressed with the non-alcoholic beverage pairing. Menu is a fun tour, non-stop tasty bites delivered by the kitchen team. I loved how quickly and efficiently we moved through nearly 20 servings. State Bird Provisions is one of the most fun and unique restaurants out there. Other standouts for me in San Francisco are Birdsong (tasting menus of Pacific Northwest heritage cuisine), San Ho Wan (modern take on Korean charcoal BBQ), Ernest (global flavors, seasonal local ingredients), Saison (a pioneer of fine dining using open wood fire cooking), and Tony’s Pizza Napoletana (several styles of award-winning pizza).

In Chicago, Smyth probably has the most delicious and interesting food I’ve had in years. I also like Boka (a Chicago institution), Au Cheval (a high-end take on classic diner food), and Kasama (Great Filipino food and pastries).

What is your favorite dish and where is your favorite restaurant to have it?

I think a bowl of spicy boat noodles at Fat Mao is one of my all time favorites. It will cure what ails you!

Who is an up-and-coming chef you are keeping an eye on?

Connor Sperling, my recently departed Chef de Cuisine. He is currently staging around California, and will be doing some traveling, but I think his next post will be something huge.

Who is a food expert whose restaurant recommendations you’d like to see?

Stuart Brioza from Progress / State Bird / Anchovy Bar. I love his style, and would love to see where he eats on casual days off.

Find Gus Stieffenhofer-Brandson on Instagram: @muchogustos

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