INSPIRED DISHES & LOCAL INGREDIENTS
Nestled in the heart of Surrey, the Old Surrey Restaurant is the culinary life force of the fine dining this side of the Fraser. The Old Surrey Restaurant, founded in 1975 by Spain native Valentine Aguirre, serves up fresh, inspired dishes with local ingredients including lamb and veal from the family’s Chilliwack farm.
From the complimentary fresh baguette and amuse bouche right through to the Casesar Salad or flambeed Crepes Suzette, prepared tableside, your classically French dining experience will be a night to remember. The Aguirre’s have created a standard of excellence, not only in the kitchen but also in their service, which combines the perfect blend of sophistication and comfort.
TWO GENERATIONS OF AGUIRRE’S WORKING SIDE BY SIDE
Since 2007 the Old Surrey has been in the capable hands of Aguirre’s youngest son Philip, who spent a year in France mastering his culinary skills and perfecting the traditional recipes that never fail to impress. The familiar Newton house, white with green gables, has been a part of Surrey’s heritage since 1918, when pioneer Lew Jack, a local grocer, built the residence on an old logging camp for his growing family.
Philip talks with Surrey604’s Natasha Raey about growing up on the Aguirre family farm in an episode of Surrey604’s ‘Farm to Fork’.
Decades later and the library and lounge of the former Jack home are just two of the unique dining rooms that make every meal at the Old Surrey a special event. Then and always the Old Surrey is an essential part of Surrey’s landscape – historically, physically, socially.
Executive Chef: Generation 2
PHILIP AGUIRRE took over as the new owner of the Old Surrey Restaurant on January 1st, 2007. Following in his father’s footsteps Philip has dedicated himself to mastering the culinary arts. From a very young age Philip was involved in the restaurant where he practically grew up. He worked his way up the ladder beginning with dishwashing, prep cools, busboy, waiter and finally head chef.
Knowing that there is more to restaurants than simply great food, Philip attended the University of Victoria and graduated with a degree in Commerce specializing in Entrepreneurship. In 2005 Philip and his wife moved to France to travel around Europe as well as to experience life in a different country. Wanting to get a feel for the local cuisine and culture Philip started working in various kitchens and became familiar within the culinary circle as the Canadian. He also accepted a position at a culinary school where he taught English within the context of cuisine and customer service.
Upon his return in the summer of 2006, Philip, like his father before him recognized that after much travel, it was time to settle down. An agreement was reached between father and son, that keeps the restaurant in the family. It is not uncommon to see two generations of Aguirre’s working side by side.
Watch 'Farm to Fork: The Old Surrey Restaurant'
Host Natasha Raey meets up with Philip Aguirre, owner of the Old Surrey Restaurant, which specializes in french cuisine with a west coast twist.
The atmosphere of the restaurant reflects similarly. In 1918, the building belonged to pioneer Lew Jack, and has been transformed into an elegant space, while keeping the local heritage intact.
The restaurant is located near Save On Foods on King George Boulevard, however, Aguirre likes to stay far away from chain grocery stores when it comes to what’s on the menu.
The Aguirre’s serve local ingredients in all of their dishes, such as fresh scallops from Vancouver Island, and lamb from their very own family owned farm in Chilliwack.
The Old Surrey Restaurant was founded in 1975 by Phillip’s father, Valentine Aguirre, a native of Spain, who has always loved having a direct connection to what’s on his plate.
The Aguirre’s have made sure their farm is as sustainable and ethically grown as possible. With an assortment of free range animals, such as sheep, lamb, pigs and chickens.
The farm also has a variety of fruits and vegetables such as corn, zucchinis, carrots, and tomatoes. The Aguirre farm grows everything it needs, down to the herbs they use, such as mint.
Natasha samples some farm grown veggies.
The Old Surrey Restaurant which has been in business for over 40 years, has also been featured in the ‘100 Most Romantic Restaurants in Canada’, as well as the ‘Top 100 Best Restaurants in Canada’ for 2017, out of roughly 1,500 other candidates via OpenTable.com. So, check it out! And maybe it’ll leave you craving a taste of some fresh organic cuisine!