PARTNER AND EXECUTIVE CHEF
Dino Renaerts has firmly established himself as one of the west coast’s culinary leaders. A Kitsilano boy, Renaerts completed his education and training in Vancouver and has built a prolific career spanning over two decades that has seen him cook in a clutch of the city’s finest restaurants. Today, Renaerts applies his talent, passion and vision to his role as partner in The Bon Vivant Group, serving discerning clientele across the province.
A love of wine inspires Renaerts’s cuisine. In 1999, he was the first Red Seal Chef in Canada to become a Certified Sommelier through the International Sommelier Guild. Renaerts’s expertise in oenology earned him the runner-up Sommelier of the Year award at the Vancouver International Playhouse Wine Festival in 2006 and 2010.
Studies at the Dubrulle French Culinary School and a three-year apprenticeship at the William Tell led to roles at Bishop’s and Le Gavroche. Renaerts cooked for celebrities, politicians and royalty at the Fairmont Waterfront Hotel and Fairmont Hotel Vancouver and further honed his skills in the award-winning kitchens of Bistro Pastis and West. He later accepted executive chef positions at the Crown Plaza Hotel Georgia and the Metropolitan Hotel, home to the acclaimed Diva restaurant.
Recognition for his distinct, innovative approach to cooking has followed Renaerts throughout his career. He has garnered accolades for numerous regional and international competitions and was named ‘a culinary talent to watch’ by Vancouver and City Food magazines, and the Province newspaper. He also earned Best Northshore Restaurant during his partnership at Fraîche with his move across the bridge to West Vancouver.
Devoted to his province and his craft, Renaerts is actively involved in British Columbia’s culinary scene. In the past year, he showcased his talents at several high-profile events, including the David Hawksworth Culinary Adventure at the West Coast Fishing Club, Dish n’ Dazzle, the Vancouver International Wine Festival, and Harmony Arts Festival. Renaerts served first on the board and later as president of the BC Chef’s Association from 2004 to 2009. He continues to be an active committee member with the BC Hospitality Foundation and the Vancouver International Wine Festival.
Global influences have helped fuel Renaerts’s passion for cuisine. He has represented Canada’s culinary excellence more than once in Indonesia and California and has drawn inspiration from visits to Singapore, Hong Kong, San Francisco, New York, Napa and Sonoma Valleys and Portland.
Renaerts’s education in wine led to his most important partnership: his marriage to restaurant-industry powerhouse, Nessa van Bergen, whom he met during the International Sommelier Guild course at Dubrulle Culinary Arts. Today, Renaerts and van Bergen are partners in Bon Vivant Catering and Bon Vivant Hospitality Group and have two vibrant young girls who keep life busy and bright.
NESSA VAN BERGEN
MANAGING PARTNER & SOMMELIER
Nessa’s first foray into high-end dining was with Umberto Menghi as part of the opening team for Mangiamo Ristorante in Yaletown in 1994, long before it became the ‘in’ neighbourhood it is now. She worked her way from Lunch Manager to Dining Room Manager after a year and credits her introduction into the world of wine to Chef Ken Bogas. Rising to the top of the restaurant scene in the 90’s, Nessa earned her International Sommelier Guild certification (ISG) in 1999, the first year it was available in Vancouver.
From Mangiamo, Nessa moved to Le Crocodile to become the youngest Maître D’ chef/owner Michel Jacob had worked with at his award winning restaurant. At Le Crocodile, Nessa worked on her first of many throughout her career, Chaînes des Rôtisseurs dinner and the famed Omega Racing Team parties during the Molson Indy week.
A couple of years later she took on the General Manager’s position at The Creek Restaurant and Brewery on Granville Island, where in addition to overseeing the restaurant and lounge facilities, she oversaw the business of the onsite Micro-brewery. The venue was perfect for the many high profile events coordinated by her team for the likes of MGM Studios, Lionsgate Films, Paramount Pictures, and BMW Canada.
Three years later, Nessa would see her first foray into the hotel business with position of Outlet Manager at the four-star Delta Pinnacle Hotel. During her time there, Showcase Restaurant won ‘Best Hotel Dining’ by the Where Magazine Restaurant Awards; hosted Jean-Louis Palladin as a Guest Chef; held Canada’s first all-cognac dinner with Rémy Martin of France; hosted Mario Andretti and Andretti Winery for a high-profile dinner during Molson Indy; hosted Wine Maker’s dinner for Ferrari-Carano of Sonoma, Chateau St. Michelle and Columbia Crest of Washington and more.
A big move was to follow when Nessa was headhunted to join the team at Joe Fortes Seafood & Chop House to run the beverage program and study under the tutelage of famed restaurateur, Bud Kanke. During her 7 years in this position Joe Fortes annually garnered the coveted ‘Best of Award of Excellence’ from the Wine Spectator and the ‘Award of Ultimate Distinction’ from the Wine Enthusiast, one of only 2 restaurants in BC. Her beverage program sold over 43,000 bottles of wine a year and was the largest individual purchaser of wine after the Convention Centre and GM Place (now Rogers Arena) for a 5 year period. She also took a pivotal role in the opening of sister restaurant, Goldfish Pacific Kitchen in Yaletown and developed a Corporate Purchasing position that included beverages, as well as sundries, and later food. From that position she was nominated by her colleagues and Bud Kanke to take on the role of Operations Leader for both Joe Fortes Seafood and Goldfish Pacific Kitchen which she fulfilled for over a year while having 2 young children and successful celebrity chef husband.
Going back to her entrepreneurial roots, Nessa decided to concentrate fulltime on her restaurant acumen and focus solely on their hospitality consulting business, The Bon Vivant Hospitality Group and Bon Vivant Catering. Current and former clients include the Royal Bank of Canada and its divisions, California Wine Institute, Nita Lake Lodge, Gateway Casinos & Entertainment, Sony Imageworks, BC Hospitality Foundation, New World Wines Inc., Skin Works, Electronic Arts, Fraîche Restaurant and Beachside Forno, Hill & Knowlton, The Pinnacle Group (PIER 7 restaurant + bar), Wine Australia, Wines of South Africa, Wines of Provence, and Tugboat Group. They have developed partnerships with many of the local wine-centric public relations firms to provide wine and food pairings, catering, and media opportunities in Whistler, Vancouver, and the Gulf Islands. They are proud supporters of the BC Hospitality Foundation and partner regularly with them on fundraising events. Nessa also manages to find time to serve on the Executive Committee and Chair the PAC at her children's elementary school in West Vancouver.
All of our team members are passionate about food and hospitality. We emphasize cultural diversity in both our menus and our cooking philosophies. Our front-of-house team will treat your guests like they were in our home - with genuine hospitality and warmth. We are an extension of you and your company. It's our job to anticipate your needs and handle the details with grace, professionalism, and a sense of fun.
Interested in joining our team? We'd love to hear from you: firstname.lastname@example.org