Chef Daniel Lesnes will be retiring from Garibaldi secondary on June 27. (Colleen Flanagan/THE NEWS)

Chef Lesnes is leaving the Garibaldi kitchen

He is retiring after 30 years.

After almost three decades at Garibaldi secondary, Chef Daniel Lesnes is retiring.

It’s been a long journey, but an enjoyable one.

It started in a small village in the north of France, where he was born, the youngest of five children.

His father and grandfather were master butchers and his father also owned a small catering company.

Chef Lesnes came to Canada in September 1982 with just a bag on his back.

He started his Canadian journey in Montreal at a small restaurant called Chez La Mère Michel. The owner of that restaurant had a contact with the Queen Elizabeth Hotel and that is where Chef Lesnes went for the next three years, gaining invaluable professional experience.

Then in 1986, he made his way to Vancouver with the sous chef from the Queen Elizabeth Hotel and where they reopened The Roof Restaurant at the Hotel Vancouver for Expo ’86.

Chef Lesnes never returned to Montreal. Instead, he moved to Kitsilano, where he decided he wanted to start teaching.

First, it was private lessons to adults.

Then a friend showed him a small advertisement for a position at Garibaldi secondary.

“I didn’t know where Maple Ridge was. I had to rent a car to come here,” said the chef from his office in the high school’s kitchen.

He spent one year commuting back and forth to Kitsilano before deciding to buy a house in Mission.

High school was a different game, said the chef. He had students who were eager to learn and those in it for the course credit.

But Chef Lesnes found it rewarding to see students progress to skilled cooks.

Recently, he received an email from a former student who is now a chef at a golf course in Surrey and said that he is still chopping the onions the way Lesnes taught him.

Another former student is the head butcher at Hopcott Meats.

These are the success stories that make Lesnes proud.

While teaching, Lesnes worked on his bachelor of education, graduating from the University of British Columbia in 2002.

His students have participated in the provincial gingerbread competition and what he is most proud of is starting bi-yearly culinary tours. Since 2006, students have had tours in New York, France and Spain and Italy.

Lesnes was also the organizer of the school district’s Chowder Festival.

Chef Lesnes loves to make everything from scratch, although his favourite dishes are from his childhood, his mother’s dishes.

In fact, Chef Lesnes can no longer follow a recipe. He has no patience for that.

In his retirement, Chef Lesnes is looking forward to gardening and other outdoor activities, as well as travelling with his wife, Sandra.

He wants to discover Canada and see the Yukon and the Maritimes.

Lesnes’ last day on the job is June 27.

Chef Brent McGimpsey will be taking over in September.

“I wanted to leave quietly. But it is not happening,” Lesnes said.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here


Chef Daniel Lesnes will be retiring from Garibaldi secondary on June 27. (Colleen Flanagan/THE NEWS)

Just Posted

Maple Ridge theatre launches fall season at only 10 per cent capacity

The ACT Arts Centre only allowing 50 patrons at performances due to public safety guidelines

Grinch steals Maple Ridge – Pitt Meadows Christmas Hamper Society’s safe

Theft happened early Tuesday morning at organization’s Albion fairground office

Fire at supportive housing on Royal Crescent

Firefighters find chair on fire, building being evacuated

Canada West Golf Championships cancelled due to COVID-19 travel restrictions

UBC, UBC-O, UFV and UVic athletes will not hit the links this year, Kelowna was set to host

B.C. reports 96 new COVID-19 cases, one hospital outbreak

61 people in hospital as summer ends with election

‘Unprecedented’ coalition demands end to B.C. salmon farms

First Nations, commercial fishermen among group calling for action on Cohen recommendations

Earthquake off coast of Washington recorded at 4.1 magnitude

The quake was recorded at a depth of 10 kilometres

B.C.’s top doctor says she’s received abuse, death threats during COVID-19 response

Henry has become a national figure during her time leading B.C.’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

BC Liberals must change gears from election cynicism, focus on the issues: UBC professors

COVID-19 response and recovery is likely to dominate platforms

B.C. could be without a new leader for multiple weeks after Election Day: officials

More than 20K mail-in voting packages were requested within a day of B.C. election being called

Dozens of Canadian venues to light up red in support of entertainment workers

Local facilities among dozens across Canada to participate in Light Up Live

Most Read