Chef Lisa Ahier

BC Seafood Festival guest chef Chef Lisa Ahier

While Chef Lisa Ahier’s roots are in Fort Worth, Texas her heart is on the west coast of Vancouver Island where she and her family can combine their taste for wilderness, wildlife and great food.

Chef Lisa Ahier and her husband Artie began their partnership in tandem on a yacht in the Caribbean – Artie as captain and Lisa as first mate and chef.

Being at the helm in the kitchen fuelled a drive for excellence that sent her in search of the best education in her field.

Lisa graduated with high honors from the Culinary Institute of America and went on to train with Melissa Kelly at the Old Chatham Sheepherding Company Inn in upstate New York. While working with Kelly, she developed a passion for organic food and local sourcing that has since defined her career.

Lisa and Artie moved back to Texas to Cibolo Creek Ranch where she became Executive Chef while Artie managed the ranch. Lisa’s talent earned her recognition of top five tables in the Gourmet Magazine hotel issue on remote properties in North America, citing her “global intuitions” in her food style.

Looking to return to Artie’s home country of Canada, an article on Sooke Harbour House drew them to Vancouver Island’s West Coast. After opening two luxury lodges in the area, turning forty and having a son, Lisa wanted independence and simplicity.

Artie and Lisa opened the highly acclaimed Sobo Restaurant (short for sort of Bohemian) in 2003 on the west coast of Vancouver Island in Tofino, British Columbia. Even in its humble beginnings in a purple catering truck tucked behind a surf shop, Sobo was recognized by Enroute magazine as one of the top ten new restaurants in Canada. It has grown to a destination restaurant in the centre of town, known for its respectful partnership with local growers and producers.

Chef Ahier continues to be profiled in such places as Saveur, Food & Wine, Gourmet Magazine, New York Times, Vancouver Magazine and Enroute. Increasingly, Chef Lisa is in demand for cooking shows and television appearance where the audience connects with her extroverted personality and her passion for food is catching.

Sobo Cookbook was listed in the top 20 cookbooks of 2014 in Globe and Mail and was among the top five finalists for Bill Duthie Booksellers’ Choice Award through the BC Book Prizes – the first time a cookbook has ever made the list. The Sobo cookbook won the Gold metal for Taste Canada food writing in the regional and cultural category as well as first place for Gourmand International in Canadian cookbooks. Lisa is currently working on book number two.

The Ahier family has grown to include their daughter Ella, and the whole family enjoys paddle boarding the local waters when not in the kitchen.


A Must-Sea Festival in BC – our Seafood Celebration