Sunny Chahal and Owen Law worked side by side almost two decades ago, fresh out of chef school. At the hopping Glowbal Grill in Yaletown, they forged a friendship out at the sautée and satay stations, respectively. Now, as new owners of Rustique Bistro here on Bowen Island, the two chefs are happy to be taking on the challenge of running their own place – a life-long dream for both.
Most recently, both Chahal and Law worked at the Central City Brew Pub in Vancouver. Last spring, Chahal had just come back paternity leave and started in on a project to bring a more interesting menu to the burger and pizza-oriented restaurant.
Law, who grew up in Richmond, says he has often enjoyed day trips to Bowen, and ate at Rustique a few years ago. In May, he happened to be perusing Rustique’s menu on-line and saw that the business was for sale.
“I called Sunny right away, and we scheduled a trip to Bowen,” says Law.
Once here, Chahal fell in love.
“I was living in Surrey at the time, which is where I grew up, and I felt like it is really not the best place to raise a child,” he says. “And then after we visited the restaurant, we sat on the beach and I said to Owen, you know if we bought this restaurant we could do this all the time!”
Chahal’s wife supported the idea, and from there the two chefs devoted their energy towards purchasing Rustique. Chahal took five months off work to make it happen, and Law took four months off.
They moved on to Bowen in early December. They started working with former co-owner of the restaurant, Thierry Mohrbach, to get up to speed on the menu. Both Chahal and Law have experience with French cooking, and say they will maintain consistency in the current menu.
“We know we have big shoes to fill, the food here is great and everyone loves Céline and Thierry, but our goal is to blow people’s socks off with the food,” says Chahal. “We are really looking forward to the challenge.”