When asked what art is, not all will first say food, cuisine and cookery. But, food and cookery is an art form like many others. It plays with your senses, maybe even more senses than any other kind of art. On top of that, food just like art has the ability to communicate the values and culture of the people who create it.
VAHMS had the honour of indulging in Kameron Sun’s food during our Community Awards Ceremony in May and we wish we had more! Kam is a Private chef and owns Sun Catering located at Coho Commissary on Georgia Street in Vancouver. We caught up with him after the Ceremony to learn more about his food and journey:
Can you share some of your influences?
I was very inspired by my parents as they are very good home cooks and my grandmother also loved making food as all grandmothers do. Seeing my parents in the kitchen cooking wonderful food was my inspiration to be a chef. From a young age I always wanted to be a chef, being as cliche as this watching the food network and cooking shows on the travel channel.
With your parents from Fiji and Trinidad and your grandmother from Guangzhou, how has this influenced your cooking style?
I had a lot of different ethnic food I can pull inspiration and creativity from. As I am trained classically in French, and working in all aspects of back of house environments, I love baking and cooking. I love to create new dishes that take influences from where I’m born (Vancouver) to my Asian heritage, to my parents island background. I only found my cooking style while working for myself and developing myself as a chef and a person. I love fusing Asian dishes with different Asian dishes and adding an island spin to things.
How do you define success?
I define success as someone who can branch off on their own and build themselves as a brand. Someone who is not afraid of anyone judging what they have done. As this comes from my Asian background, you are your harshest critic and you never think you are worthy of being good at something. But cooking has influenced my whole life, from the people I’ve met to the people I will meet. Someone that is successful is someone that is proud to be themselves and happy living the life they built, and not worrying about the naysayers.
Tell us about Sun Catering and how it came about.
Sun Catering began when I was tired of working for someone else and my fiancée knew that my food is good. I needed someone to give me a push into that direction, so I started Sun Catering while I was helping run a film catering business. While my old boss would let me use their kitchen for events on top of my full time job and friends believed that I would do a great job, my first event was from one of my co workers/friends that referred me to do a catering event. And it was a huge success. As I did more events, more people referred me to their friends and it snowballed. Most of my clients are from referrals and I do not do much marketing, just making the best possible food and experience I can do everyday.
If a client has no idea what food to serve at an event, what is your strategy for achieving a customized menu that will serve their needs?
I usually start off with asking questions on what kind of food or cuisine you are looking for. I am well versed in most cuisines that I can make it at least taste good. As I learned from most chefs, what comes down to the food is if it tastes good. I know some people want traditional food, but my philosophy is to always make it tasty.
What is the most surprising thing you have learned after starting a business during the pandemic?
How much blood, sweat and tears there are. You have to open your own business to know how much work it is, especially if you are building it from the ground up without any financial backers. Especially growing a catering company in a commissary, that is probably the most difficult part. People don’t know I basically create everything off one table sometimes two, from 200 people events to 10 people dinner parties. Most people that do know are surprised how much we can do in that space. It is a lot different than being an employee: you are always on, you are constantly checking emails, working on menus, shopping and the list goes on.
What would be your ideal schedule? 4 events every weekend? To have a brick and mortar presence?
I have given a lot to the industry, I would like to have a regular schedule of 3-5 days working. I work almost everyday in my business during the busy season and I usually work 10-18 hours a day. I have managed my time more where I value family, so I take events that would be worth more of my time. I’ve learnt about self-worth during my time of owning a business. I thought about opening a restaurant, cafe or a brick and mortar but I thought about the stress, mental state and physical state working as a chef/owner. I may down the line open something with a team, where I can live a more normal schedule.
Do you have any other collaborations or projects coming up that you could share?
I will be doing more collaborations coming soon as I will be thinking about downsizing and doing private events and more pop ups. I will be potentially doing two pop ups in August which will feature well known chefs in the city.
Where can people follow you and your food?
You can follow me on Instagram @sun_catering_ as I post most of what I do when I can. I do not do many photo shoots as I like to do posts about what I make and what guests can expect to get when I cook for them. All of the photos are from events that I was cooking at.
About Kameron Sun
Kameron Sun was born and raised in Vancouver, British Columbia. Kam is of Chinese descent, family originating from Taishan, China. Kam’s father grew up in Trinidad, and his mother in Fiji before immigrating to Canada. Kam’s interest in Western and Chinese cooking, paired with his parent’s multicultural influence has shaped Kam’s diverse cooking style. Growing up, Kam was surrounded by a big family of home cooks who love to celebrate and gather around home cooked meals. He took interest in cooking at the age of eight and continued to work hard in Culinary School. He attended Vancouver Community College (VCC) for Culinary Arts after high school and continued working in many different restaurants and hotels to improve his culinary skills and knowledge. Today, Kam is a Private chef and owns Sun Catering located at Coho Commissary on Georgia Street in Vancouver. His dream to open his own business has been a long and rewarding journey. Kam started Sun Catering in 2019 as a side business and eventually made the leap to open full time in 2020.