TORONTO — Chef Tallis Voakes is the new Culinary Lead at Tim Hortons.
Voakes is a career chef who has worked in some of the industry’s top kitchens. He was formally trained at Le Cordon Bleu in Ottawa and went on to work with world-renowned chefs, including Nobu Matsuhisa and Jason Atherton at Gordon Ramsay’s restaurant Maze, as well as at three one-Michelin-star restaurants. He’s also been an in-demand food stylist for Hollywood and TV productions, including The Handmaid’s Tale.
“My mission of making the food at Tim Hortons even better for our guests across Canada is just so, so exciting,” says Voakes. “There are many things that are already awesome and you don’t mess with a good thing. And then there’s other things that we’re looking at amping up the flavour a little more here or changing a different ingredient there. It’s about making sure all the elements of a sandwich or a soup or a doughnut are all the very best and create a ‘wow’ eating experience. That’s what makes food more craveable.”
Voakes also has personal insights into the job, having worked behind-the-scenes at Tim Hortons himself as a teenager. Just as important as food quality is execution in the kitchen, Voakes says, and he’ll also be working on optimizing kitchen procedures.
“At the end of the day, in all restaurants — and it doesn’t matter if it’s Tim Hortons or a posh restaurant — it’s all about the art of execution and repetition. It’s an art form doing something again and again as best as you can do each and every time,” says Voakes.