Chef Bari came from humble beginnings. Being raised by his mom, he spent most of his time in his grandfather’s kitchen, cooking up authentic Italian dishes from his grandfather’s homeland, Corropoli, within the Abruzzo Region of Italy. Grandpa Tony Varze taught his grandson Bari the authentic Italian cuisine at an young age. It wasn’t long before Bari started preparing fresh pasta for his grandfather. He soon learned how important food is to his Italian culture.
There’s a saying, “Finché C’È Vita C’È Speranza – “While There’s Life, There’s Hope” and L’Appetito Vien Mangiando – “Appetite Comes With Eating”
Every weekend, Bari couldn’t wait to help his grandfather in the kitchen. His Mom would also be in the kitchen from time to time, creating dishes, such as ravioli. On Sundays it was traditional to prepare a “Sunday Gravy Dish” comprised of three different types of meat, such as Italian sausages, pork butt and meatballs mixed with ground beef and pork ; all in a rich tomato sauce ( hence gravy). Of course, Grandpa Tony would add a bottle of his favourite homemade red wine, simmering in all the flavours for a good 4 hours.
Bari was totally inspired by his Italian culture, where food was always a big part of their heritage ; bringing Grandpa Tony’s large Italian family together, telling stories about the old country and singing. Oh boy ! Did his Grandpa Tony sing ! Larger then life itself, Tony would sing at the top of his voice, as Bari’s mom would play the piano and his uncles strumming their guitars. Indeed ! The whole family are musically inclined.
Bari’s life was enriched with love from Grandpa Tony and his mom, Elda Maria Valentia Varze ( maiden name). Everything was great until one day his mom died suddenly. The shock led Bari and his sister Sabrina into a whirlwind of complete sadness and dismay. To add insult to injury, he and his sister was whisked away by their estranged father, with zero contact with the Varze family. Soon, he was living in Kamloops and then Vernon, BC, with a step-mom in toll. While living in Vernon, his new parents owned and operated the Spudnut Shop. After five years working at the Spudnut Shop, Bari lost all interest in the hospitality industry, due to the long hours and the preceded family commitment. Heading to Okanagan College he decided to take Applied Arts for two years, gearing up for architectural designed career, which he continued at Cariboo College ( now Thompson Rivers University ). After a seven year stint, as an architectural draftsman, he came back to the realization, he wanted to be a chef one day, honouring his grandfather Tony Varze. Going back to into Culinary Arts, Bari exceeded his goals, by becoming Alberta’s top apprentice for 1989, receiving a plaque, bursary monies and his name on a Culinary Cup at N.A.I.T.
Soon he was back at his love for food, working for high end resorts and clubs throughout Alberta and British Columbia. With the skills he gained at the high end resorts and golf clubs, such as Petroleum Club, he made the jump from Sous Chef to Head Chef at Kelowna Springs. During this time, he created his own menus with strong influences from his Italian background.
Today, Chef Bari is retired from the hospitality industry, but that doesn’t mean he’s stopped cooking. To this day, Bari wines and dines his family on a daily basis. He also wrote and published cookbook “ Canadian Recipes of the Great White North “ in memory of his daughter Jenni.
In his spare time, Bari spends time hiking and travelling to places, such as Las Vegas. Believe or not, he also published a science-fiction book, named Black Angels. You can find Bari on :
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