First Look: Culinarius Catering

Left: Culinarius Owners Chef Chris Watt and Chef Fauna Mar. Center: Watermelon with Creme Fraiche and Chili. Right: Duck Rillette Crepe with Pink Peppercorn and Ginger Jam. Photo: Culinarius Catering


If you haven’t yet heard of Culinarius, keep yours ears, and mouths, open – they are quickly becoming one of the most sought after catering companies in Victoria. The reason for this? A strong adherence to the basic principals of client satisfaction, coupled with clear concepts of creative and gourmet flavour profiles. These are the fundamental building blocks of the business, and for owners Chris Watt and Fauna Martin, this is why their team has supplied food for regal mansion dinners and as high profile collegiate events since they opened 18 months ago. But it’s not simply the higher profile gigs that set them apart. In fact, this is something they only recently have started doing on a more regular basis. Instead it’s their keen desire to satisfy all palates though customized menus with endless options.

An example of this is highlighted through a vegan BBQ Culinarius executed last month. This rather unique experience was juxtaposed with another recent event where they cooked a traditional French spread including a chateaubriand for a 95th birthday party. “We go with the flow,” explains Chef Watt. “When we do a vegan BBQ one day and chateaubriand the next day, it’s hard to define your style. We just want to make the customers happy. We’re changing our food constantly with every different customer.” Chefs Watt and Martin’s adaptability is made possible in part by a wide scope of technical knowledge. Chef Watt worked in many prestigious Vancouver-based restaurants, studying under highly skilled mentors, before earning his Red Seal. Chef Martin began her culinary career at Camosun College and completed her four-year apprenticeship in some of Australia’s top restaurants while furthering her training in classic French techniques and modern Australian cuisine.

Left: Quail Eggs with Caviar. Right: Fried Polenta with Asparagus. Photo: Culinarius Catering

Some examples of their varied backgrounds and skills can be seen through the suggested items displayed on their website. A cold soup of green grape and cucumber with smoked paprika oil, as well as a duck rillette crepe with pink peppercorn and ginger jam are just a couple samples of their eclectic appetizers, while their crispy skin spatchcock with sage gnocchi, white wine poached apricot, toasted macadamia nuts, caramelized traviso, and peppered balsamic caramel is a stand-out main.

However, reasons for Culinarius’ growing success are not only based on the duo’s passion for the food they make, but also the people they feed – a relationship they both feel is best fostered through opportunities provided by the catering industry. “We like the fact that were are able to communicate with the customer a little more than we could in a restaurant setting,” admits Chef Watt. “When you’re a line chef you don’t really get to see the customer, but when you’re talking with them in their home, you get a better connection with them, almost as if you are a family member or friend. You get that sense that you can really feel and relate to them if they enjoy the meal. It’s very rewarding.” While Chef Watt says that they try to use locally sourced ingredients when possible, he admits that they feel so strongly about customer satisfaction that they won’t deny someone a particular dish simply because a key ingredient isn’t currently in season on Vancouver Island. “We like to use anything local as much as possible,” Chef Watt shares, “but it really depends on what our clients want. We try our best, but our bottom line is to cater to our client. We want a full service company and we don’t want any restrictions whether it’s a technique we don’t know or an ingredient we can’t locally source.” Because of this, Chefs Watt and Martin are constantly experimenting with new ingredients, techniques and methods. They are also currently planning a gourmet Halloween themed wedding spread – something neither of them could have anticipated.

Other untapped opportunities on the horizon include the possibility of starting a portable catering food cart that would allow them to take their business to remote locations. “More and more people are having weddings and events in remote or rural venues,” says Chef Watt. “There are so many beautiful spots on the island and I think there is a strong desire to use those sights. Just as much as we don’t want restrictions on what we can make, we also don’t want restrictions on where we can go.” This philosophy will no doubt continue to put Culinarius on the map, both figurative and literally.

Culinarius Catering, 3947 Emerald Close, Victoria BC (250) 507-4421

—Ellie Shortt










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