We present to you our culinary team with an exciting vision of exceptional freshness and thoughtfully hand-selected elements with a fine balance of European and West Coast cuisine at Villa Eyrie Resort. These exceptionally talented chefs bring together a unique culmination of distinguished backgrounds and wealth of culinary experience.
Mario Gross, Executive Chef
Mario Gross is Executive Chef at the Villa Eyrie Resort. Mario completed his culinary apprenticeship at the age of 19, at the one Michelin-star Relais & Chateaux Hotel Dollenberg, in the Black Forest of Germany. He built steadily upon this foundation of excellence, next at Der Alpenhof hotel near Munich. He is fundamental to the restaurant earning its first Michelin star in the first year of its re-opening after an ownership change.
Mario then moved to Berlin, to work within the Hyatt Hotel Group, before moving to the iconic Waldhotel Sonnora, which has held three Michelin stars for 18 consecutive years. Under the mentorship of Chef Helmut Thieltges, Mario learned the invaluable art of tasting, examining and perfecting each and every plate of food. He learned to finely balance flavours, and to strive always for perfection. It was then time to go to the one-star Wine & Tafelhous, in the Mosel, where, after three years, he became Head Chef, all the while maintaining the restaurant’s Michelin status.This is where Mario met his wife to be. She had been living in Edmonton, and they together went there, a big change for Mario. He found a chef position at the famous Hardware Grill, and worked side by side with owner and chef Larry Stewart. Mario strives to apply his skills, passion, tasting prowess and search for perfection to the island’s newest fine dining experience at Alpina Restaurant.
Matthias Conradi, Pastry Chef
Matthias Conradi is Pastry Chef at the Villa Eyrie Resort. As well as baking all the fresh buns and breads, he has perfected a fantastic sourdough rye bread that is a must to try. As a regular part of the restaurant offerings, it accompanies all the finest handmade desserts and pastries for everyone to enjoy.
Matthias has had thus far a colourful, deep set of experiences, including extensive training, and then Chef Patissier positions in Germany, Abu Dhabi, and Switzerland, before making the bold move to Tofino’s Wikaninnish Inn, at the personal behest of chef extraordinaire Rodney Butters. He operated Patissier Conradi for three years in Tofino, before joining the culinary team at Sooke Harbour House. He remained at this legendary restaurant for several years, learning how to adapt his baking and his desserts to the rigours of a 100-mile diet.One of his favourite things is to deconstruct a dish, and re-assemble it in a completely new way. He often makes elegant, beautiful sketches of his dishes, and he develops them. He often takes the natural bounty around him as a main source of inspiration.
Ryan Bissell, Director of Food & Beverage
Ryan is the Director of Food & Beverage at Villa Eyrie Resort, overseeing restaurant and lounge operations, onsite herb garden and banqueting. Ryan is an expert at training and building culinary teams, and producing great food across the entire range, from casual to fine dining.
He has an extensive and impressive list of culinary accomplishments and deep experience in a wide range of situations, from fine dining to catering, and almost everything in between.Ulis Restaurant, a White Rock institution, became known for the best burger in Vancouver during his time there as Executive Chef. A brief apprenticeship with master sausage makers in Germany, led Ryan to also open Beast and Brine in White Rock, a locally focused high-end charcuterie shop. He went on to conceptualize and launch the exquisite AMS Student Nest at UBC Vancouver, a 10-restaurant campus hub serving thousands of students and faculty daily. With a foundation in sustainability and a preference for locally sourced ingredients, Ryan has honed his craft to deliver truly exquisite service in a variety of settings. His career also includes being Chef de Partie at the prestigious Araxi in Whistler, and Executive Sous Chef at Bearfoot Bistro. A crown jewel of Ryan’s accomplishments was the 2016 season working with Outer Shores Expeditions, aboard the marvelous schooner Passing Cloud.
Andreas Wechselberger, Sous Chef
A Red Seal Chef with nearly three decades of experience in the Canadian culinary scene, Andreas Wechselberger is the Sous Chef for the Villa Eyrie Resort. Andreas is excited to bring his dedicated culinary skills and passion for food and guest satisfaction to further the resort’s ambition of offering one of the best culinary experiences on Vancouver Island.
A graduate of the Dubrulle French Culinary School, Andreas has cooked for the prestigious James Beard House in New York and has staged in restaurants in Northern Italy. In Vancouver, he served as Executive Chef for the landmark CinCin Ristorante and Bar and as the lead Charcutier for Granville Island’s Oyama Sausage Company.Always looking for a new challenge, Andreas then headed out east, arriving in Ottawa where he was the Culinary Director for Heart and Crown Irish Pubs. Tasked with menu development and implementation for this popular chain of pubs frequented by Irish Ambassador to Canada John Bassett, Andreas honed his skills as Culinary Director for guests and staff alike.The beautiful wilderness of British Columbia came calling once again, and Andreas made the return to the West Coast, launching a career in hotel restaurant hospitality. As Sous Chef for the Westin Resort and Spa Whistler, Andreas was tasked with supervising all facets of service in three of the property’s dining venues.Andreas then became Senior Sous Chef with the iconic Bear Mountain Resort and Spa in Langford, once again overseeing all aspects of the hotel’s wide variety of food services. He’s also been the Culinary Director for Victoria’s Parkwood Place by Revera, an upscale retirement community.