Five Questions and Answers with Chef Matt Rissling of the Rock Salt Restaurant & Café

Just a hop, skip and a jump from the Fulford Harbour Ferry on Salt Spring Island is the popular and well established Rock Salt Restaurant and Café. The building has had a long history in food service over the last 50-60 years. In 2012, Matt Rissling, former executive chef of Oak Bay Marina, purchased the turnkey establishment from the previous owners, and has since moved to the Island as a full time resident with his wife and children.

Rissling is a fun guy. He’s approachable and easy-going but also sharp when it comes to his culinary and business management skills. Recognizing that Rock Salt was already putting out solid service and food, he’s made only a few changes so far (a major renovation took place 13 years ago, giving the space a fresh look and feel).

Most of the existing staff was rehired, including sous chef Joel Trejo who specializes in authentic Mexican cuisine. The extensive baked goods are all made in-house and sold fresh daily. Along with the popular Mexican dishes and curries, Rock Salt sells a huge amount of seafood with up to 180 lbs of shellfish a week.

Recently, web contributor Holly Brooke sat down with Rissling for a quick Q & A session:

pan roasted chicken

Holly: “How would you like patrons to regard Rock Salt?”

Matt: “We want everyone to feel comfortable coming in the door. We get people from all over the world, and so we need to cater to and have something for everyone.”


Holly: “What is your favorite food to eat, and/or where do you like to dine?”

Matt: “To be honest, I like simple stuff, like meat and potatoes. But when my wife and I are in Victoria we prefer to go to Brasserie L’ecole.”


Holly: “What is your favorite food to cook and why?”

Matt: “I love cooking fish. At the Marriott I learned about local and sustainable products, seafood being one of them. There is a lot you can do with mussels and salmon.”


Holly: “Why did you choose to become a chef?”

Matt: “I always liked cooking. I’d help out my mom and aunt at Christmas and other family dinners. Then one thing just led to another. Besides, the party’s always in the kitchen!”


Holly: “So, what’s the deal with you and French-fry salads?”

Matt: “How on earth do you know about that?!”


Holly: “We’re writers, we do our research.”

Matt: (chuckles)

Holly: “So?”

Matt: “Ok. So as someone who works in the kitchen, you don’t always have time to sit down and eat. The French-fry salad gives you the carbs and some fat to keep going, while the salad cuts down the grease and gives you something healthy. All you need is a big bowl, some hot, crispy fries, toss with your favorite choice of salad and you’re set. Everything marries together, it’s perfect. I’m going to have one today!”

Curry Rice Bowl

The Rock Salt Restaurant and Café is open 7 days a week.

Café: 7:00am to 9:00pm

Restaurant: 8:00am to 9:00pm

Reservations are strongly advised on the weekends.

Phone: (250) 653-4833

2921 Fulford Ganges Road
Salt Spring Island, BC V8K 1X6




Written By:

Holly Brooke is a true B.C. gal. Having lived on the west coast most of her life, except for several years in the Kootenay's where she canoed and fished and lived in a tipi, she's very much at home outdoors and in the kitchen. ...

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