Q & A With Pastry Chef Brian Bradley from The Marina Restaurant

Chef Brian Bradley from The Oak Bay Marina. Photos by Ellie Shortt

If you’ve ever been to The Marina Restaurant, then you’ve probably experienced a taste of their unbelievable desserts and breads. Possibly one of the biggest draws to their much loved Sunday brunch, the collection of pastries and baked goods offered at this established Victoria restaurant are in a league of their own thanks to Chef Brian Bradley. Chef Bradley joined the Marina team 8 years ago and his passion, ingenuity, and attention to detail is apparent with each bite of one of his creations. After many years of devotion and ongoing training, Chef Bradley continues to hone his already impressive skills and has proven to be a well-respected member of the Victoria culinary scene. Chef Bradley recently met with EAT to discuss his craft so that our readers can better know the man behind the breads, pies, cakes as well as other widely adored Marina creations.


EAT: How did you get into baking and pastry making?


BB: I completed my cooking apprenticeship through Camosun College in 1991 and earned my baking papers in 2002, learning from world-class pastry chef Daniel Vokey of Pâtisserie Daniel. I continue to take pastry courses at Vancouver Island University, Creating Occasions and other local cooking schools.


Chocolate For Sharing Platter": white chocolate star anise crème brûlée, dark chocolate mint cake, milk chocolate cheesecake, eclair with chocolate drizzle

EAT: How did those experiences lead you to The Marina, and what types of things do you make for the Marina Menu?


BB: The Marina contains a full-service pastry department with a staff of three, and we create a myriad of baked goods and pastries for our Sunday Brunch.  In the dining room we supply fresh baked bread and plated desserts. Danielle & Drew, the two other chefs in the pastry department, are superb cake artists so we have the ability to offer cakes for any occasion.

EAT: What are your favourite things to make for the Marina menu?


BB: Our warm ginger cake with rum raisin ice-cream, toffee sauce, seed brittle and candied dates is the all-time most requested Marina dessert. I’ve had threats of physical violence after taking this item off the menu for a seasonal rest. Classics such as crème brulée, lemon tarts, and anything chocolate are also very popular.


EAT: Gluten, dairy and sugar free baking has become very popular. Do you find yourself experimenting with these restrictions for either your personal knowledge or for guests with certain dietary needs?


BB: It’s perfectly natural for people to crave something sweet after an enjoyable meal and the sinful rich classics we all grew up with are here to stay. However, with an increase in guests’ dietary concerns there will continue to be a niche for Victoria’s pastry chefs and bakers who have the ability to create healthy yet delicious dessert options. I like to refer to the book by Ani Phyo, “Ani’s Raw Food Desserts.” Her desserts contain no wheat, gluten, dairy or processed sugar. Call ahead to the restaurant and we would be more than happy to accommodate your dietary concern.
EAT: What do you feel is the biggest trend in baking and pastry making at the moment? What do you foresee as the next big trend in baking and pastry making for the future?


For current trends I would suggest local artisan breads, gluten free baking and pies. For the future, “bean to bar” chocolate, smaller desserts, comforting classics with a twist, less sweet desserts, gourmet doughnuts, and flavours that are traditional for the season.


Chef Brian Bradley mentoring Drew Williams who graduated from the Camosun College Professional Chef Program last June.

EAT: What are some key words of advice you have for amateur bakers or even other pro’s reading this article?


BB: Be kind to those helping you in your kitchen, listen and ask questions when others offer advice, clean as you go, and don’t worry if it’s not perfect your first time around with a new recipe – baking takes practice, experimentation and patience. However, I encourage everyone to make the recipe exactly as the chef intended for their first go at it, and then tweak for future batches. That’s what we do at The Marina to show respect to the chef, and then we make it our own.


The Marina Restaurant, 1327 Beach Dr Victoria, BC (250) 598-8555 www.marinarestaurant.com


Lunch: Monday to Saturday11:30am – 2:30pm

Dinner: Monday to Thursday 5pm – 9pm, Friday & Saturday 5pm – 10pm, Sunday 5pm-9pm

Sunday Brunch: 9:30am




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