Interview: Chef Morgan Lechner of British Columbia’s Pier 73

Pier 73 is one of Richmond’s most popular restaurants

I met Chef Morgan Lechner, 40, when he was searching outdoor markets for fish for his restaurant, Pier 73, at the Pacific Gateway Hotel in Richmond, British Columbia, Canada. Chef Morgan uses sturgeon in his fish and chips, and they’re so famous that I had to try it. He is justifiably proud; it was tender and tasty.

The Daily Meal: How did you get into cooking?
Chef Morgan Lechner:
Six years old I made the call. Started cooking at 15, never looked back.

What keeps you in cooking?
People I get to work with, and the enjoyment I get from eating and cooking for people.

Do you prefer a particular style of cooking?
I like independent family-owned local business; local food, sustainable food, ethical food. After that, Pacific Northwest, if that is such a thing. It all starts for me with French cooking, but constant study of all ethnic foods. I really just like eating food, good food!

What kind of atmosphere do you try to create in the kitchen?
Fun. Hard working. That’s it. Laugh, joke, learn, and work hard. Follow our rules, everyone will have a great time.

What do you look for when you hire other chefs to assist you in the kitchen?
We want guys who are eager to learn, change, learn more, and change again. Great attitudes only need apply.

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What is your favorite spice? How do you use it?
I think it’s our own spice. It’s damn good on everything. We call it “fish spice,” but it’s used from Caesar to popcorn dressing, to curing, to steak and pork grilling. We made it all-purpose. It could be famous, most people say.