We sat down with Bravo’s co-owners, Jared McCunn and BJ Clarke, to get the scoop on the freshest eats in the Fraser Valley. Embrace your inner foodie with fresh recipes, an intimately fun atmosphere, and the best martini list in Chilliwack. Dig down to the roots of Bravo’s origin story, discover the inspiration behind your favourite dishes, and score some local insight into Jared and BJ’s top restaurant recommendations in The Fraser Valley.
Meet the Makers
Jared McCunn – Co-owner, head chef, and vegetable gardener of Bravo. Jared spent 14 years as Bravo’s chef and the last three years as co-owner.
BJ Clarke – co-owner and front of house manager of Bravo for the last 3 years. Before that he spent a year training with the two previous owners of Bravo.
Allison McCabe – Jared’s girlfriend and Bravo’s vegetable farmer. Together, Jared and Allison grow much of the fresh produce for the Bravo kitchen in their backyard. Allison holds a bachelor’s degree in horticulture science and currently works as a community environmental educator (and occasional Bravo server!) while pursuing a master’s degree at UBC in land and water systems.
The Inside Scoop
Q: Where did the vision for Bravo come from?
15 years ago, the founders of Bravo Restaurant had the vision to create a fun and relaxed restaurant in Chilliwack with great attention to detail and high-quality dishes at reasonable prices.
Veterans of the restaurant and hospitality industry in Vancouver, Damian du Plessis and Louis de Jager had spent years running the celebrity-studded Delilah’s before making the decision to open Bravo in Chilliwack.
When the time came for Damian and Louis to move on, Jared and BJ saw an opportunity to take over and reimagine the restaurant and carry it into the future with a more modern approach to dining.
Q: What does sustainability mean to you?
Sustainability at Bravo means “closing the loop” in as many aspects of the restaurant as possible to reduce waste and greenhouse gas emissions. This includes taking food scraps from the kitchen to make compost for the garden (which also diverts waste from the landfill and restores nutrients to our garden’s soil), using Ocean Wise® certified seafood, and responsibly foraging for wild foods as well as employing inventory practices that result in very little food and packaging waste in the kitchen.
Q. Inspiration for new dishes?
I find inspiration for new dishes everywhere. It can come from a new crop I tried growing in my garden, from something I’ve foraged, or from eating at other restaurants. I always like to see what techniques and ingredients other chefs are using, as quite often this will give me ideas for dishes using similar techniques presented in a different context. I feel as a chef it’s impossible to know everything about cooking, so borrowing ideas from other chefs is a great way to get better at your trade.
Q: Tell us a bit about your lives outside of the restaurant
Jared – Outside of cooking and gardening for the restaurant I spend my time with Allison and my rescue dogs Whiskey and Leo, foraging for wild foods, and woodworking. I am also an avid motorcyclist, which is where my interest in foraging came from. I take my adventure bike to access remote places and pick up wild produce to bring back and use in the kitchen. I also like to frequent other restaurants, since the whole reason I got into cooking is because I like to eat!
BJ – When I am not at the restaurant, I am spending time with my wife, Beth and 3-year-old daughter, Kyle. We love being outdoors, hiking, camping, swimming or just hanging out in the backyard. We are passionate about travelling both locally and abroad. Beth and I have been to 10 different countries together and we hope to see many more as a family!
Q: If each of you could recommend one place in the Fraser Valley, what would it be?
Jared – Cultivate Café/Minter Gardens. Allison and I like going there on our day off to have brunch at Cultivate, where the dishes are always well-executed and delicious. After eating we always browse Minter’s and end up spending all our extra money on plants and seeds for our garden. It’s my favourite way to spend a Sunday morning.
BJ – Harrison Hot Springs. It is only a 20-30 minute drive from Chilliwack and it is a great place to take the family. The boardwalk is very nice for a scenic walk. There are many fantastic restaurants and little shops to visit along the strip. There are a couple of playgrounds right on the beach that my daughter really enjoys playing on!
How Are The First Couple of Bites Tasting?
Bravo is open Tuesday – Saturday for all your fine dining needs (without the “fine dining” price tag). Check out their website for more information on their menu, prices, hours of operation, and to make a reservation today.
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