Chef Southern grew up on a small farm just outside of Vancouver, BC surrounded by all things fresh from the garden. Picking beans, potatoes, corn, tomatoes, and gathering fresh eggs were a daily routine. “Where ingredients are concerned, I want to bite into a carrot so fresh that it takes me back to my childhood on our farm pulling carrots out of the ground, brushing the dirt off and eating them right there in the field,” he says.
His early introduction to farm freshness and a few part time jobs at some wonderful restaurants during his early years started him on the path to his dream job as a chef. “I’m lucky I never had to choose a career. I walked into my first kitchen when I was 14 and I’ve been hooked ever since,” Southern said.
After culinary school he completed his apprenticeship at the famous William Tell Restaurant, followed by a stint with Chef Bruno Marti at La Belle Auberge. From there he worked his way up to Executive Chef at Umberto Menghi’s Al Porto Restaurant in Vancouver’s Gastown District. His love of travel took him on his next journey as an Executive Chef with Holland America Line, working on ships and experiencing cuisines from all over the world. He has worked for Westin Hotels and Resorts in Grand Cayman and St. Maarten in the Caribbean, and lived in Lima, Peru for several years.
Southern’s accolades include Chef of the Year, Grand Gold, 5 Gold Medals, and 1 Silver Medal at the Cayman Islands National Culinary Salon, Top Apprentice by Canadian Federation of Chefs de Cuisine, and an appearance with Team Canada at the World Culinary Exposition in Luxembourg.
Raymond returned to the Pacific Northwest in 2015 to re-invigorate the menu at The Mansion Restaurant at Rosario Resort and Spa where he gained an avid island following for creative local cuisine and friendly service. With Kingfish at West Sound, he continues this philosophy, striving to create an unpretentious space where locals and visitors alike can enjoy the bounty of Orcas Island.
When not cooking you can usually find chef on the golf course, kayaking, or on a peaceful hiking trail with his dog Sweedie.