After two years as executive chef at the Metropolitan Hotel Vancouver and its restaurant, Diva at the Met, Hamid Salimian is taking his career into the classroom. He will be leaving Diva at the Met in June to teach full-time at Vancouver Community College’s culinary arts program.
“I’ve been thinking about it for a while,” Salimian told the Georgia Straight by phone today (May 1). “We do this every day in our work—we coach, train, guide the younger chefs. I think it would be best to go back to where it all began for me, personally, and help to grow the next generation of our chefs.”
Salimian attended VCC over a decade ago, and has since worked in the kitchens at the Sutton Place Hotel, Westin Bear Mountain Victoria, and Richmond’s Westin Wall Centre. Starting in 2002, he competed on behalf of B.C. and Canada in prestigious culinary competitions, including the World Culinary Olympics.
In March, Salimian was voted by his peers as the best chef in Metro Vancouver during the Georgia Straight’s 16th annual Golden Plate Awards, appearing on the cover of this year’s issue. Diva at the Met was voted by restaurant-industry insiders as the city’s most underrated restaurant.
“I love Diva to death and I hope they can find the right person, the right fit, because it’s a special place,” Salimian noted. “There are so many amazing chefs out there that people don’t even really know.”
While Salimian acknowledged that transitioning from a restaurant kitchen to a classroom kitchen will be a big change, he said that he is excited to work with many of his mentors, who still teach at VCC.
“Not having a restaurant, that’s going to be difficult for sure too, but I always joke around with my chef friends and say, ‘Saturdays, Sundays clock me in. I will come in to wash dishes or do whatever you need!’” Salimian joked. “I’m sure you’re going to see my face here and there in other people’s kitchens.”