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Crave chef spotlight: Canadian Trevor Bird looking forward to exploring the Inland Northwest

Trevor Bird (Courtesy photo)

Trevor Bird is bringing his fabled black pepper jam.

It pairs well with roasted red meat. And it’s one of his signature accoutrements at his Fable Kitchen and Fable Diner in Vancouver, British Columbia.

“It’s what everyone comes for,” said the 34-year-old chef, who was the runner-up on season two of “Top Chef Canada” in 2012, the same year he opened his restaurant. The diner followed in 2015.

Earlier this month, he came in third place on the all-star fifth season of the show. This week, he’s coming to town for the first Crave fest.

“All’s I know is it’s close to Idaho,” he said. “I heard it’s beautiful. I’m very excited to check it out and meet all the other chefs see the food cultural differences. It’s cool when you cross borders. You always live in your own little bubble in the culinary world. It’s always nice to see what another city or another country is doing.”

He calls his food at both Fables “pretty straight-forward. We have some fun with it,” he said. But, “we really concentrate on seasons and techniques – and not crazy gimmicks.”

He serves some of his dishes – such as “The Best ‘Canned’ Tuna” – in Mason jars. At the diner, he’s known for his burgers – which “are like the Canadian version of In-N-Out Burger,” he said – as well as his roast duck pancakes, with kimchi, green onion, hoisin and spicy mayo on a johnny cake. “It’s pretty good.”

Pantry staples include kosher salt, oil and vinegar. “The more vinegar, the better,” he said. “Whenever you season food, you should season it with vinegar. Vinegar is almost as important as salt, and people don’t realize that.”

A few more favorites: basil, mint and chives. “They enhance any vegetable and any salad.”

Bird eats a lot of salads. “It’s not a romantic thing,” he said. “I always eat salads. Very simple. Lots of vegetables, meat and a good vinaigrette. That’s my go-to.”

His advice to home cooks: “Learn how to make a simple vinaigrette, and mix and match.”

Here’s his ratio: 3 parts oil, 1 part vinegar, 1 part sweetener, such as honey or agave.

“You can use whatever oils you want and whatever vinegar you want and whatever sweetener – and, of course, salt,” he said. “You can put vinaigrette on anything, and it will enhance the flavor.”

Mark your calendar: Trevor Bird is cooking at the World Street Food Market dinner from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday.