From cooking for the Queen to Canada’s coffee shop — meet Chef Tallis Voakes, the new culinary lead for Tim Hortons

FEATURE PHOTO: From cooking for the Queen and some of the world’s top chefs to dreaming up new donuts at Canada’s largest restaurant chain: Introducing Chef Tallis Voakes, the new Culinary Lead for Tim Hortons® (CNW Group/Tim Hortons)

TORONTO — Tim Hortons has announced that they are proud to introduce Chef Tallis Voakes as its new culinary lead. His “mission” is to innovate the menu and making the food and beverages at Tim Hortons “more delicious and craveable than ever before.”

Voakes is a career chef who has worked in some of the industry’s top kitchens. He formally trained Le Cordon Bleu in Ottawa and went on to work with world-renowned chefs like  Nobu Matsuhisa and Jason Atherton at Gordon Ramsay’s restaurant Maze, and at three one-Michelin-star restaurants. Voakes has also worked as an in-demand food stylist for Hollywood and TV productions including “The Handmaids Tale.”

He is now focused on improving the quality of the Timmy’s menu by making sure every item on the Tim’s menu is as delicious and as fresh as it can possibly be.

“My mission of making the food at Tim Hortons even better for our guests across Canada is just so, so exciting,” said Voakes in a press release.

He wants to create a ‘wow’ moment for every customer’s eating experience.

“There are many things that are already awesome and you don’t mess with a good thing. And then there’s other things that we’re looking at amping up the flavour a little more here, or changing a different ingredient there. It’s about making sure that all the elements of a sandwich, or a soup, or a donut, are all the very best and create a ‘wow’ eating experience. That’s what makes food more craveable,” he said.

Voakes has made his way up from the bottom — he used to work for Tim Hortons as a teenager.

Tim Hortons has a history of trying new things and they haven’t always worked out too well.

In January of this year, the fast-food chain removed Beyond Meat items from its menu across Canadas due to the low demand for the product. They only had the product on their menu for eight months.

Their sales fell by US$150 million in 2019, compared to 2018 partially because of their Tim Rewards program which garnered around 7.5 million members — all of who regularly opted for a free coffee or donut every seven purchases.

They then changed the program to a points system where you are rewarded only 10 points per purchase and a classic donut, coffee or tea costs 70 points, while other food items were added as options for customers.

According to Reddit user BorisWombat, other failed — or items that disappeared from the Tim Hortons menu items include; mushrooms, maple French toast breads, flatbreads, steak, boil-in-the-bag pulled pork, kettle chips, crispy chicken patties, The $1.99 chicken burger, shredded turkey, ciabatta buns and waffle breakfast sandwiches.

Let’s give Voakes the benefit of the doubt that he will improve and introduce new items to the menu that Canadians will love — he definitely has the experience.

Just as important as food quality is execution in the kitchen, Voakes says — and he’ll also be working on optimizing kitchen procedures.

“At the end of the day in all restaurants — and it doesn’t matter if it’s Tim Hortons or a posh restaurant — it’s all about the art of execution and repetition. It’s an art form doing something again and again as best as you can do each and every time,” he said.

“When you look down at a beautiful product and savour each bite, a huge part of your enjoyment comes from execution.”


Do you think Tim Hortons is moving in the right direction for 2021? What do you think about them hiring Chef Tallis Voakes? Let us know in the comments!

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