When they set out to create Field & Social, Vancouver’s new salad-focused restaurant, husband-and-wife team Stephen Collins and Stefenie Milosz wanted to do something unusual by serving healthy fare in a modern, Scandinavian-influenced environment.
“Healthy usually means lime green walls or a cheesy name,” says Stephen. “We didn’t want that. We wanted to do something to make healthy eating local and cool but not gimmicky.”
Stephen’s appreciation for the Scandinavian aesthetic comes from several years spent living in Denmark’s capital city Copenhagen, where he opened a restaurant at the age of 25 and met Stefenie. The influence is evident in Field & Social’s white walls and clean lines. The team uses Square for its point-of-sale system and the sleek, white Square Stand blends in perfectly with the minimalist decor.
Stephen worked in restaurants from a young age, continuing to do so even after embarking on a career in business banking after university. Then a six-month jaunt to Europe turned into a nine-year stay. Once he had spent enough time in Copenhagen that he could speak fluent “restaurant Danish,” Stephen moved to London with Stefenie and worked as manager of a fine wine club. “I hosted dinners in London, Geneva, Bordeaux and Burgundy,” he says. “I worked with Michelin-starred chefs who created menus to complement the wine; it was very indulgent but it was awesome.”
The couple made plans to move to Stefenie’s hometown of Melbourne, Australia, on their return from a five-month backpacking honeymoon. But fate had other ideas for them. During their first stop in New York, Stephen spoke to his best friend Moe Samieian about a fast-casual concept that Moe wanted Stephen to help him launch in their hometown of Vancouver. So Stephen and Stefenie decided to take the plunge and came on board full time to get Field & Social up and running. (All three are now co-owners.)
“There was a gap in the market for healthy, fast, good-quality food,” says Stephen. Field & Social, which opened in February, serves vegan, vegetarian, and healthy meat options; the chicken rustic orzo bowl is one of the best-sellers. Everything is made in-house except the on-tap kombucha, which was created by tea masters from Kitsilano’s O5 Rare Tea Bar.
When asked about the restaurant’s name, Stephen said, “Food is social; it’s such a big part of travel and life. The name identifies with a huge part of our lives.”