Nico Schuermans is a qualified chef and restaurateur, and has been in the hospitality industry since he was 14. Nico received his qualifications from the prestigious CREPAC School of culinary arts in Belgium. His apprenticeship was with ‘La Villa Lorraine’ (two star Michelin), and went on to work as Chef de Partie for ‘Comme Chez Soi’ (three star Michelin for 20 years), which is considered Belgium's finest restaurant. Nico cooked for Mick Jagger, Prince, Bill Clinton, and many other celebrities. Nico was Chef de Partie at the Savoy Hotel in London, where over 1000 people were served at each sitting. He completed his professional training here before moving on to become Head Chef at ‘Alhambra’ in Sydney, Australia.
Before leaving Australia Nico was invited to cook at the ‘Epoch – Belgian Beer Café’ for the Belgian national athletes, and visiting Royals. Upon coming to Canada Nico and his wife lived in Whistler, where Nico was employed by ‘La Rua’ Restaurant.
Nico lived in New York for 5 months, working as manager at ‘Gitane’ in Soho before returning to Canada.
With a strong background in marketing, corporate branding and merchandising, it comes as no surprise that Karri Schuermans is the driving force behind the strategic operations and marketing activities of Chambar, Café Medina and The Dirty Apron Cooking School & Delicatessen.
Karri’s previous experience saw her working with the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games as the International Film Liaison Manager where she was charged with ensuring positive exposure for Sydney's attributes and defining Sydney as the business centre for Asia South Pacific. Previous to that, Karri was the Marketing Manager for the city of Sydney, where she trained in strategic planning and operations management. She was also the Director of the Peninsula Community Internet Network and the Editor for Northern Beaches magazine; both lending her valuable experience in advertising, publishing, and internet marketing.
With three young boys and four thriving businesses, Karri is pulled in many directions, but she always finds time to enjoy the amazing outdoor lifestyle afforded to those fortunate enough to live in this beautiful provence.
Through innovative solutions designed to reduce our environmental impact—such as recycling programs with food waste going to community garden composts and the use of all natural cleaners—Chambar, Café Medina and The Dirty Apron Cooking School aim to soon exceed their ‘Green’ certification and become Vancouver’s first carbon neutral restaurant.
Each business exhibits a strong commitment to supporting local suppliers in sourcing regional, seasonal ingredients and Oceanwise-certified sustainable seafood. If you are at all curious to the reasons we only serve oceanwise seafoood - here are three! Inform yourself by watching these 3 documentaries. Ultimately it's our choice to make a difference - that means you.
If you are dining in Vancouver, don't order seafood unless you see this symbol next to the menu item.
Chambar Restaurant became carbon neutral in 2011. We have been tracking and reducing our carbon footprint, and have dramatically reduced our impact on the environment. The road to being carbon neutral for a restaurant is long, and we want to prove the perception that carbon credits are paying to pollute is not true in all cases.
Our Carbon Neutral Top 5 Points
1. Composting – Reduced garbage by 8882 kg per year, approx 12.3 tonnes of emissions.
2. Paper – We now use 100% post consumer waste (PCW). No chlorine is used in the de-inking of the recycled fibres. PCW has the greatest positive environmental impact as it replaces the need to cut new trees to supply the manufacturing process and reduces landfill waste. The paper mill that provides our paper is local, 400km south of Vancouver.
3. Paper Towel Reduction – Customers use hand dryers instead of paper towels. By using these hand dryers we are diverting over 153,000 paper towels from going to the landfill.
4 Cleaning Products – Environmental Benefits
a. All ingredients are readily biodegradable (OECD testing)
b. No carniogens or teratogens
c. No dibutyl phthlate
d. No alkyl, octyl, nonyl phenol ethoxylates
e. No 2-butoxyethanol
f. No ozone depleting compounds
g. Low or no volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
h. Low or no hazardous waste characteristics
i. No persistent, bio-accumulative and toxic chemicals
j. No phosphates
k. Fragrance Free
l. Highly concentrated to reduce energy use associated with transportation
m. Cold water effective
n. Recyclable containers
o. Colour coded for easy product identification and worker health safety.
5. 2010 – Chambar Purchased Gold Standard Offsets
2010 Offsets - Chambar purchased 80 tones of Gold Standard carbon offsets. Less Emissions was ranked #1 by the David Suzuki Foundation and Pembina Institute in 2009 in their guide Purchasing Carbon Offsets: A Guide for Canadian Consumers, Businesses, and Organizations. Less sources only Gold Standard carbon offsets from two India based biomass renewable energy projects, helping those communities to transition away from fossil-fuelled energy sources. The Gold Standard is an internationally recognized carbon offset standard for quality, endorsed by over 60 NGOs worldwide.
Sri Balaji Renewable Power Plant
The Sri Balaji Renewable Power plant is a 6 MW Biomass Power Plant located in Chennur Village, Andhra Pradesh, India. The project uses agricultural plant waste from the surrounding area including rice and cotton husks, to generate electricity. By replacing coal-fired electricity, the project saves roughly 30 000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions a year, along with hundreds of tons of other pollutants. The project also generates local employment opportunities and has contributed to local health and education initiatives. In addition local farmers are able to gain income through the commercial value of the crop waste.
Why are we not investing in Canadian Offsets from British Columbia
· The government is buying up a large majority of the local offsets through Pacific Carbon Trust.
· Canada does not have any Gold Standard offsets, which are recognized by the international community.
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We feel privileged to live in a beautiful city like Vancouver which offers the opportunity for success to young entrepreneurs willing to work hard.
We are regularly asked to provide contributions or donations to many worthy causes, however felt we weren't making a significant difference to any one cause by mailing gift certificates around the city.
We therefore decided to donate a percentage of our profits to something we feel strongly about. This year we have decided to support people living with aids. If you are fundraising for this cause and would like to be considered as part of our 'giving back' program please send Karri a note.