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Fairmont Empress Introduces New Members to Culinary Leadership

Canada’s renowned Castle on the Coast, Fairmont Empress, welcomes four new culinary leadership members to serve its award-winning food and beverage outlets, including Q Restaurant, Q Bar and the hotel’s pastry division.

Fairmont Empress Introduces New Members to Culinary Leadership

Helmed by Executive Chef Morgan Wilson, the hotel’s culinary operation comprises more than 80 culinary professionals across its restaurants, bars, banquet venues and pastry kitchen, producing hyper-local and seasonal menus reflective of the regional abundance grown, harvested and found throughout Vancouver Island.

Fairmont Empress Introduces New Members to Culinary Leadership

The team welcomes Steven Fernandes as Executive Sous Chef, Tyler Paquette as the Q at the Empress Restaurant Chef, Lucas Gurtner as Sous Chef and Gerald Tan as the Executive Pastry Chef.

Steven Fernandes, Executive Sous Chef

Fernandes joins Fairmont Empress’ team as Executive Sous Chef, leading the culinary team alongside Executive Chef Morgan Wilson.

Fairmont Empress Introduces New Members to Culinary Leadership

Under the leadership of Chef Wilson, Fernandes will oversee In-Room Dining, Banquets, Q Restaurant, Q Bar, and the ongoing development of the hotel’s iconic Afternoon Tea.

Fernandes has been a part of the Fairmont brand for the past 11 years, most recently serving as the Executive Sous Chef at Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge.

As part of Fairmont Empress’ continuously evolving spirit, Fernandes feels that the hotel is a trendsetter for Greater Victoria, satisfying his passion for creating new flavours for others to discover. 

Tyler Paquette, Q at the Empress, Restaurant Chef

Paquette joins Fairmont Empress as Restaurant Chef at the signature Q Restaurant and Q Bar, where he will lead the culinary team and oversee the menu development of both dining venues.

Fairmont Empress Introduces New Members to Culinary Leadership

Prior to his role at Fairmont Empress, Paquette held the role of Sous Chef at the lauded Langdon Hall in Ontario, where he managed a culinary brigade that saw the restaurant rise the ranks to the No.4 Restaurant in the nation on the coveted Canadas100Best list.

Hailing from Vancouver Island, Paquette is no stranger to the Victoria community.

At a young age, he knew that the culinary industry was his calling, finding the constant search for refinement and precision to motivate his career.

In his free time, Paquette enjoys travelling and foraging for wild plants, affirming his passion for discovering new culinary innovations while respecting the surrounding bounty of ingredients rooted in nature.

Lucas Gurtner, Q at the Empress, Sous Chef

With more than 15 years of culinary experience and multiple prestigious awards within the industry, Lucas Gurtner joins Fairmont Empress as Sous Chef and the supporting lead of Q Restaurant and Q Bar.

Fairmont Empress Introduces New Members to Culinary Leadership

Beginning his culinary career with an apprenticeship in 2008, Gartner found himself at the Relais & Châteaux luxury Sonora Resort, where he moved up the culinary ranks from Junior Sous Chef to Executive Chef and finally, as the resort’s Culinary and Beverage Director, becoming the youngest Executive Chef in the Relais & Châteaux portfolio at the age of 27.

He then made his way up north to the remote luxury Nimmo Bay Wilderness Resort, where his passion for local harvesting and sustainability harmonized the resort’s deep roots in sustainable culinary philosophies.

A Victoria native, Gartner grew up on the island and credits his father, a former Suisse Certified Chef de Cuisine, as his most considerable influence and mentor who has helped shape his career into what it is today.

His new role marks a homecoming for the Chef, one that he looks forward to.  

Gerald Tan, Executive Pastry Chef

Gerald Tran joins Fairmont Empress as Executive Pastry Chef, overseeing the preparation of desserts and pastries throughout the hotel, including an integral role in the execution of the world-renowned Afternoon Tea at Fairmont Empress. Born and raised in Manila, Philippines, Tan began his culinary career studying Culinary Arts at De La Salle University.

Fairmont Empress Introduces New Members to Culinary Leadership

He eventually made his way west and moved to Canada in 2009, where he started working as a First Cook at the Hyatt Regency Calgary.

He continued his work in the industry and most recently held the role of Executive Pastry Chef at the luxury five-star St. Regis Hotel in Toronto.

For more information on culinary offerings at Fairmont Empress or to book a stay, visit

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