Matt Rissling – Owner/Operator/Red Seal Chef
Matthew Rissling was born in Victoria, BC in 1976, and like many chefs of his generation, grew up watching cooking shows on PBS, tuning in to see stars like Julia Child, Graham Kerr, Jacques Pepin, Jeff Smith, and of course, James Barber of CBC. Matt was also heavily influenced by the un-fussy cooking styles of his Mom and aunts.
Young Matt began his career in the kitchen as a dish washer & sandwich maker in a small café, later, graduating to the busy kitchen at a seafood restaurant. These early experiences only cemented his desire for more.
The next few years were applied to working through the line at Milestone’s during which time Matt learned to work quickly and with precision. His seasons at Milestone’s confirmed his belief that the time had come to get more involved in his career, so began the process of earning his Red Seal. Days after the birth of his son, Matt received news that the studying and years of practice had paid off, and was awarded his Certificate of Qualification in 2003.
Spurred on by this, he earned a position in the restaurant of the yet to open Marriott Victoria, Inner Harbour. This not only opened him up to a new world professionally, but also stimulated a greater passion for all things food. From here, he was able to go to the Oak Bay Marina, where he spent the better part of 7 years working with some of the best people and products in the industry.
Matt has been active in food security in Victoria and is looking forward to making a positive contribution in his new community for decades to come. The decision to purchase Rock Salt Restaurant & Café in Fulford this past November is the start of yet another chapter in the book of life for Matt and his family. Beginning this week, Matt will be offering his contemporary west coast specials on Friday nights. If you are one of the faithful Rock Salt customers that has been expecting something new, Friday’s will be your chance to sample what Matt has to offer.
Jesse Blanchette – Front of House Manager
Rock Salt could not have found a better man for the job. This native Salt Spring Islander has been in the restaurant industry for 18 years doing everything from serving to bar tending, cooking to managing. Jesse was the owner/operator of the Falconshead Grill and Lounge for five years. In 2012, he joined the Rock Salt team in the position of line cook & sous chef but with his all-around experience he was promoted to front manager for 2013.
Jesse has a passion for food and cooking but also has the gift of loving to work with the public and interacting with customers. Rest assured you will be taken care of when this man is in charge.
Jesse recently discovered a passion for playing guitar, he loves to cook at home & on a rainy days off can be found curled up with a good book or nerding out in front of a good video game.
Joel was born and raised in the State of Mexico. His passion for cooking began at home when he was a kid by putting some things together from the fridge or helping his mother on the weekends.
Joel took his interest in cooking to another level when he made the decision to spend five years in a culinary university in Mexico City. During his university years Joel joined a group of caterers and started to gain valuable experience & went on to cater events of his own.
After university, Joel started to cook in a restaurant called “Bakea” (which means “peace” in the Vask language). Bakea was excellent for Joel as the owner and chef had a passion for French cooking while playing with Mexican ingredients. Joel spent three and a half years working at Bakea when the opportunity arose to move to Canada.
Since 2009 Joel has called Salt Spring Island home while working at the Rock Salt Restaurant & Café. At the Rock Salt, Joel is able to showcase his interpretation of traditional Mexican cuisine. His ultimate goal is to improve the food experience for everyone!