Chef Robert Belcham of Refuel Restaurant and Bar - Biography

Vancouver, BC

June 2011

Chef Robert Belcham began his training in the culinary arts at Camosun College in Victoria, British Columbia, and subsequently landed his first job as a line cook at Rebar, a small vegetarian restaurant known for its innovative food. Desiring to improve his skills and knowledge, Belcham joined the kitchen at one of Vancouver Island’s top establishments, The Aerie Resort, as an apprentice. Within two years, thanks to a hearty work ethic, he was promoted to Executive Sous Chef.

During his time at The Aerie, Belcham was eager to learn. He set his sights on one of the most exacting restaurants in North America, and eventually secured a chef de partie position at The French Laundry. For Belcham, the opportunity in Yountville was a door-opener. After one year under Thomas Keller, Belcham’s career was launched. He spent the next two years working as a private chef to the families of Silicon Valley.

In 2002, Belcham and his wife, Julia Austine, decided that it was time to start a family of their own. Preferring the lifestyle of the Canadian Lower Mainland to that of California, Belcham seized the opportunity to join the brigade at Vancouver’s C restaurant, where he was later promoted to chef de cuisine. In 2005, Belcham began work as Chef Consultant at Nu, where he wrote, developed and implemented the opening menu, helped in the design and layout of the kitchen, and assisted with the restaurant’s concept and development.

Belcham opened the award winning Fuel Restaurant in January of 2007, which recently re-launched as Refuel Restaurant and Bar. Belcham’s Campagnolo Restaurant opened in December 2008, followed by Campagnolo Roma in May of 2011. Today, Belcham spends much of his time sourcing top quality regional products and whole animals from organic and free run farms. He often pays more than market price for products to help support local farmers and to ensure the highest quality. His in-house butchery program provides Refuel and Campagnolo diners with whole roast dinners and a wide selection of house-made charcuterie.

Belcham was awarded Chef of the Year at the 2009 Vancouver Magazine Restaurant Awards.