While locals have long come to White Rock’s East Beach for the fish, chips and view — all of which hold their charms — chef Jeremy Duke had always been entertaining something a bit more upscale, or “Deluxe,” on the strip.
For the past five years, his vision has found a warm embrace at the aptly named Deluxe, just one door away from where he first stepped into the kitchen at age 15 at Moby Dick’s Fish and Chips.
And while Moby’s remains a solid lure to the waterfront, Duke’s take on fish and chips is decidedly different — house-smoked sockeye salmon served with baked yam and beet chips — as is every ‘classic’ dish that spins out of his busy kitchen in the 90-seat Deluxe.
With a firm focus on fun, Duke and Deluxe are finding favour with fresh flavours and twists on tradition at every turn. Phyllo wrapped mashed potatoes, anyone? Seriously good fun and as fine a dining destination by night; the lunch crowd is brisk.
Part sleek lounge, part patio and a wholly-intimate, ocean-view dining room atop, Duke’s homage to tradition holds to the ethos of innovation throughout, drawing foodies from near and far.
Underpinning it all is a grounded appreciation of what matters most—the guest experience.
For Duke, entertaining is what life has been all about, so unsurprisingly, he has a healthy stock of tips for home cooks – tips that continue to serve him well, day and night.
“For starters, you have to give yourself a chance to shine like a rock star,” he says. “And that begins with giving yourself the luxury of time. All that takes is a bit of thinking ahead, gathering your ingredients with simplicity in mind, and getting as much of the work done ahead of time as possible.”
A quick glance within Duke’s kitchen confirms he very much practises what he teaches: His mise en place for our Indulge visit is prepped and immaculate. Not only do the white ramekins of assorted slice and dice bear the measured uniformity of a pro, the presentation actually begs one to get cooking.
“Entertaining is supposed to be fun for the guests and the hosts alike. If you’re stuck in the kitchen the whole time that is not going to happen,” he says with a glance at his prep. “This way, the real work is done, the stage is set and you get to make magic by bringing it all together with a few quick finishing touches.”
Bearing in mind that Duke holds court with as much comfort from behind the bar as in the kitchen, he brings the same ethos to crafting cocktails.
“Keep it simple and uncluttered. My idea of a perfect recipe is one where there are just three ingredients and you can taste them all. That’s where the magic happens.”
With over two decades of ‘entertaining’ experience under his belt, he knows of what he speaks. As past-president of the Junior Chapter of the BC Chefs Association, he achieved his Red Seal certificate and went on to explore every facet of restaurant operations. Whether previously working his way up through the Earl’s group, apprenticing with the esteemed chef Bruno Marti or crafting opening menus for other people’s dream restaurants, chef Duke has never been more in his element than at Deluxe—almost.
“I am really looking forward to summer. I love working with fresh fruits,” he says with a somewhat wistful look at a shoreline yet fringed in snow for our February shoot. “The sunshine is what people really flock here for, so we try to keep a bit of that year ’round.”
As a chef, he appreciates the sustenance offered by winter ingredients, but his heart is firmly fixed on the seasons ahead.
“For me, spring is summer. Once it arrives, everything is just that much more available. We have our local suppliers and always think local, but that is more of a challenge in the winter months.”
Of course, there is also the fine, local, house Pinot Noir to be savoured year ’round, compliments of Langley’s Vista D’oro Farms and Winery. Their tie to that particular bottle and winery stems both from a mutual appreciation and the efforts of one of their staff, who works alongside winemaker/co-owner Patrick Murphy to bring their bottles an added authenticity of experience. Deluxe already has three more tons of grapes on order for next year’s vintage.
Regardless of season, thanks to an inspired vision, a committed team and an ongoing series of Wine Club Dinners, the Deluxe treatment has never been so within reach of the beach in White Rock.
2 lobster tails (or 1 whole lobster)
8 oz butter
1/4 cup sour cream
1/2 tsp cumin
1 Tbsp lime juice
1/2 cup mango, small dice
1/2 cup pineapple, small dice
1/2 jalapeño, fine dice
2 Tbsp green onion, small dice
3 Tbsp cilantro, small dice
3 flour tortillas
1/4 olive oil
sea salt (to taste)
Remove 1 whole or 2 tails lobster flesh from shell. Simmer on stovetop in butter for 10 minutes on lowest heat setting (170 F)—or boil in the traditional manner. Remove and chill.
In a mixing bowl combine avocado, sour cream, cumin and lime juice—mash until smooth. Add mango, pineapple, jalapeño, green onions and cilantro—fold gently until fully incorporated. Season with sea salt to taste.
To make the crispy tortillas, bring 1/4 cup olive oil to 350F on stove top in frying pan.
Slice flour tortillas to desired chip size (ie. 1 tortilla = 6 chips). In two batches, fry tortillas for 4-5 minutes until golden brown, turning once. Remove, drain on paper towel and season lightly with salt. Reserve at room temperature.
Remove lobster from fridge and slice into 1/2” rounds. Scoop 2 Tbsp of guacamole atop each chip and top with a round of lobster. Sprinkle with sea salt.
6 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
4 Tbsp pistachios (plus 1/2 cup, whole)
1/2 cup parmesan
2 cloves garlic
1 cup olive oil (plus 1 Tbsp)
12 basil leaves
2 Tbsp lemon juice
to taste sea salt and fresh ground pepper
1 pint strawberries, small dice
Preheat oven to 350 F. In a small pan, reduce balsamic vinegar to 1/3 quantity on medium heat. Reserve at room temperature.
To make the pesto: In a food processor, blend pistachios, parmesan and garlic, until desired texture. Slowly add I cup olive oil, then basil leaves. When smooth, add lemon juice and blend. Add salt and pepper to taste. (Feel free to vary the texture according to preference or hold a few pistachios and basil leaves back to top for finish.)
Slice baguette into 3/8” rounds. Brush with olive oil and bake on parchment paper until golden brown, approximately 10 minutes, turning once.
Mix together strawberries, balsamic reduction, pesto, 1 Tbsp olive oil and remaining 1/2 cup of pistachios. Scoop onto baguette crisps and garnish with coarse sea salt, fresh cracked pepper and thinly sliced basil.
Chocolate Espresso Torte (Gluten Free)
1 kg semi-sweet chocolate (Callebaut)
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
6 eggs, yolks only
1 oz. espresso (or strong coffee)
1/2 pint raspberries
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 kg semi-sweet chocolate
1 cup whipping cream
Preheat oven 300 F. Melt the kilo of chocolate and butter in double boiler, stirring occasionally until smooth.
Set up your mixer with the paddle attachment and mix egg yolks, sugar and vanilla at medium speed for three minutes. Slow down the mixer, add the butter/chocolate mixture, and espresso; continue to mix for five minutes.
Line cake pan base with silicone paper and butter sides. Pour torte mixture into pan carefully and bake at 300 F for 40 minutes. Use toothpick method to test for doneness, as nothing should cling or ooze when you remove the toothpick. Cool to room temperature, then refrigerate. Once chilled, remove from pan.
To make the raspberry sauce, in a small pot, simmer the raspberries, water and sugar until raspberries start to dissolve. Cool, then blend until smooth in food processor.
To make the raspberry ganache, melt the remaining 1/2 kilo of chocolate in the double boiler together with whipping cream and four Tbsp of the raspberry sauce. Stir until smooth, then cool to room temperature before spreading evenly over the torte.
Store in refrigerator and serve at room temperature, drizzling atop with a bit more raspberry sauce, and served with ice cream or gelato.
3 basil leaves
1 Tbsp sugar
1 wedge lime
1/2 Mandarin orange
1 oz. rum or vodka
In a martini shaker, using either the back of a spoon or wooden pestle, muddle together basil leaves and sugar, before muddling in the lime wedge and Mandarin orange. Add ice and favourite spirit and shake well. Strain into a tall glass full of ice, and top with club soda. Garnish with a mandarin slice and basil sprig for even more colour and zip.