Originally Toronto-based chefs, only fate can explain how Mark Ota and Olivia Bolano’s paths crossed in the remote Canadian wilderness on the other side of the country.
Mark and Olivia began their culinary journeys at Clayoquot Wilderness Lodge in 2018 and 2019 respectively. Since becoming acquainted, two years on Mark and Olivia have worked together all over the country in many different restaurants, including Haida Gwaii, the Okanagan Valley, Toronto and even Nicaragua. As they would know all too well, cream rises to the top, and in 2022 Mark and Olivia are set to lead the culinary team in a shared Executive Chef role. We sat down with Mark and Olivia to hear more about their story as they prepare for the upcoming season.
How long have you worked at Clayoquot and what attracted you to the role?
Mark: My first season at Clayoquot was in 2018, I had accepted the role of morning Chef De Partie, I was really excited to work at a property in such a unique location. Clayoquot looked like it could provide quite an adventure just by existing there! Due to staffing issues we were in need of a Sous Chef, and with my past experience that role fell to me and for the past three open seasons that has been my position at Clayoquot.
Olivia: I began my journey with Clayoquot in the 2019 season. At the time I was living in Toronto and I was looking for a change in scenery and atmosphere that would support my aspiration to live more simply and purposefully.