Who We Are
Spirit Culinary Excursions was created in 2015 to showcase the extraordinary talents of multicultural culinary artisans on Vancouver Island. Our collaborative team is formed out of a collective of culinary artists and event experts with imaginative creative minds. It is within this collective that we found a group of peers that not only work well together to bring connoisseurs a respected and honourable service, but that our capabilities and passion for our art is magnified through one another.
Meet our team of extraordinary individuals
Shirley Lang • Executive Chef
Executive Chef Shirley Lang’s Spirit name is Kaug Auk Shee, (Festival of the Raven), of the Cree Nation. She is a Culinary Explorer and the owner of Kitchens of Distinction Culinary Arts Ltd. Exploring and creating cuisine from all cultural backgrounds is her passion! She has been taught authentic ethnic cuisine from traditional chefs of various cultures. Chef Shirley has owned Kitchens of Distinction since 2004. In 1995, as a prominent figure in the elite Canadian entertainment industry, she relocated from Toronto to BC after 20 years of owning Brooke International Studios. Brooke International Studios was ‘A Collective of Image Consulting Artists’; hair-salons and a talent agency which catered only to her many prestigious celebrity friends, media personalities and entertainment moguls from Canada and abroad. Spirit Culinary Excursions was created in 2015 to showcase the extraordinary talents of multicultural culinary artisans on Vancouver Island
Richard Wolf • Chef & Sommelier
Richard started his journey in the food industry early in life. Starting at the age of Nine as a “kitchen runner” in a Bavarian styled restaurant in the interior of BC. By the time he completed high school, he was running the kitchen of that same establishment. After moving to the Island in the mid 80’s, he did a traditional apprenticeship with one of Victoria’s top chefs as well as worked in many local iconic establishments. He spent years in several local restaurants working his way to executive chef in four separate operations, as well as Director of Food and Beverage for The Aerie Resort, a Relais & Chateau property, where in a leadership role they were honoured with the Conde Nasté Magazine’s coveted Resort of the Year, North America, as well as several years of top service and top food awards. Richard has also lead many cooking demonstrations and cooking classes.
Elizabeth Nyland • Chef, Photographer & Author
Elizabeth Nyland started cooking for her family at a young age as a way to help out around the house. Born to an avid hunter and a professional salmon fishing guide, learning how to cook started out as just another chore. As a teenager, her first job as a dishwasher led to a blossoming passion for food which then led to more and more responsibility in restaurant kitchens. After having children, a food blog started as a hobby led to the writing and publication of two cookbooks, Cooking with Coconut Oil and Cooking with Avocados, as well as becoming a food photographer for local magazine EAT. Elizabeth currently runs a meal service company, Guilty Kitchen, that delivers fresh meals to busy professionals.
Micheline Quimet • Sommelier & Mixologist
I am Micheline Ouimet. My passion for food and wine has turned into a successful twenty-five year career in the hospitality industry. I learned the restaurant business intricacies from two icons in the industry: Erwin Doebeli and John Bishop. I worked at The William Tell, Il Giardino, Bishop’s, C, Hotel Vancouver and The Wedgewood, all well-known for their exceptional customer service and their unique concepts. I am a veteran of the hospitality industry and through the years have worked at all levels of restaurants in many positions from server, sommelier, F & B Director to being a restaurant owner. Micheline’s Restaurant was a nominee for best restaurant of the year by the BCRFA in 1995. I received the Victoria Hospitality Award for ‘Service Excellence’ from Tourism Victoria in 1996. I am a well-known educator and wine expert, and have appeared in various media such as EAT and Monday magazines, Times Colonist newspaper, The Province online news, and television. I offer innovative training concepts, and I have developed the visual cocktail recipe format. I created and self-published ‘The Visual Bartender Guide’, a reference book for bartenders that is used in restaurants, bars, and in the bartending training course at Camosun College, Victoria.
Tabitha Jones • Ethnobotanist & Ethnoecologist
My name is Tabitha and I am a wild plant-foods enthusiast and Ethnobotanist residing on the traditional territory of the Xwsepsum (Esquimalt) and Lkwungen (Songhees) people. I own and operate Vancouver Island Wild Tea Co. and hold a degree with distinction from UVic, combining Geography and Environmental Studies with a special interest in Ethnobotany (the study of people and their relationships with plants). I have gathered much of my knowledge from local indigenous elders, professors, literature, and hands-on-experience. I am grateful for my time learning from the experts. I love to share my passion and knowledge of wild edible and medicinal foods with others through eco-tourism plant tours, as well as harvesting wild plant-foods in back country spaces of Southern Vancouver Island. It has been a blessing to spend time in nature; harvesting, creating, teaching and learning about wild edible plant-foods and I aspire to increase my knowledge and experience, so I can share with those who aspire to learn.
We are committed to using – whenever possible – local Vancouver Island organic produce fresh from the garden; free range meats and poultry without hormones or antibiotics; and sustainable wild seafood. Everything is made fresh from scratch using premium ingredients.