By Habeeb Salloum
Pan Pacific Hotel’s Executive Chef Dorfler offers gourmet dishes fit for royalty
Set on a spectacular waterfront location in downtown Vancouver, the Pan Pacific Hotel offers panoramic views of the harbor, mountains and Stanley Park – a vista of the city skyline. Its breathtaking location, enhanced by this encompassing scenery, makes it one of the top luxury properties in Canada.
However, standing near the top of all these allurements is the hotel’s Executive Chef Ernst Dorfler. His dishes, relished by kings and queens, and other famous dignitaries have, for years, brought him international recognition. Without question, he stands near the top of Pan Pacific’s many tempting offerings.
Chef Dorfler was born in Sirnitz, Austria in 1952 and was inspired by his older sister Rosel, a fine chef herself, to take up the trade, getting him an apprenticeship when he was 15. He left his home fortified with formal French and Swiss culinary training, to make his mark in the world.
His international experiences include cooking for dignitaries in Germany, South Africa, Switzerland and lastly Canada to which he came in 1977. Before joining Pan Pacific Vancouver in August 1988, his Canadian culinary circuit included the Hilton in Quebec City; and in Edmonton, at both the Four Seasons and the Westin Hotels.
Chef Dorfler has prepared menus for numerous heads of state and other famous personalities. These have included Queen Elizabeth II during the Commonwealth Games in Edmonton, Alberta in 1978, a romantic engagement dinner for Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton when Elizabeth received the famous mega diamond; and the 1993 summit in Vancouver with Russian President Boris Yeltsin and U.S. president Bill Clinton.
During the period that he has been in Canada, Chef Dorfler has prepared food for prestigious groups such as Mercedes Benz, Visa International, and APEC – World Leaders Conference. As well, he has represented Canada at seven international events and was part of the Gold Medal Team at the 1992 Culinary Olympics in Frankfurt, Germany. Recently, as a guest chef at the renowned Montreaux Palace in Switzerland, he prepared superb ‘Canadian dishes’ for enthusiastic Europeans.
As Executive Chef at The Pan Pacific, Chef Dorfler trains chefs on an ongoing basis. Working with 53 associates, he supervises five kitchens including the Café Pacifica, Garde Manger, Banquet Kitchen, Pastry Kitchen and internationally acclaimed and award-winning Five Sails Restaurant, an exquisite eating place providing diners with a memorable combination of spectacular waterfront views and a menu inspired by the sea.
From among his innumerable menus, ‘Chef’s Tastes of Canada’, which includes many star dishes, is one of Chef Dorfler’s favorites. It has been plated in a format called ‘Chefs on View in a Room with a View’ right in front of the guests in Café Pacifica open show kitchen.
As for his favourite dishes, Chef Dorfler’s choices include Roast Fraser Valley Quail, Austrian-style homemade spinach & ricotta cheese ravioli, and Hazelnut Crusted Pacific Halibut.
What makes Chef Dorfler’s career a success is the love for his profession and the camaraderie of the kitchen, he says. As well, he gives credit to a great team of Sous Chefs and other cooks who work hard to provide constantly changing gourmet food and excellence to the guests, all the while feeling pride and pleasure in the accomplishment – of course under the supervision of Chef Dorfler.