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Andrew Morrison, editor-in-chief of Scout Magazine, judge for the Canadian Culinary Championships, community builder and skateboarder, died of cancer in Vancouver on Oct. 14.Courtesy of the Family

A good restaurant server will listen to their guests; an excellent one will anticipate their needs and be one step ahead.

Andrew Morrison, a front-of-house industry veteran of 20 years before he became an award-winning food writer and online publisher, ran circles around those floors.

With foresight that was impressive for someone who had no technical training (but was a student of history), he caught a whiff of the social-media revolution while it was still simmering, stuck his fork in and served up one of the first notable food blogs in Canada.

Mr. Morrison, the editor-in-chief of Scout Magazine, judge for the Canadian Culinary Championships, community builder and skateboarder, died of cancer in Vancouver on Oct. 14. He was 48.

In the early 2000s, when Mr. Morrison was working at West Vancouver’s Beach House Restaurant and his eldest son was still in diapers, he would come home late and start banging out posts for his inaugural blog, Times New Roman, which covered U.S. politics.

“We’d fight about it,” Michelle Sproule, his wife, said last week. “We had a kid, I was working part time and he would stay up all night writing.”

“You don’t understand what’s happening,” he would plead with her. “This is important and I want to be part of it.”

She was soon convinced. In 2008, they founded Scout Magazine together. In the meantime, he found a better way to balance the needs of his young family (to whom he was fiercely dedicated) with his lifelong passion for the restaurant industry and desire to make a difference.

In 2005, he launched Waiterblog, the first food blog in Vancouver to attract a substantial readership. Within a few months, he was hired as the restaurant critic for the Westender weekly and shortly thereafter quit the restaurant business.

“Andrew hadn’t studied journalism, but having spent his adult life in the belly of the industry, he understood restaurants in a way few critics do, and he brought an audacious and unmistakable (if occasionally indelicate) voice to restaurant coverage in Vancouver at a time when such voices were thin on the ground,” Michael White, his former editor, wrote last week.

Around the same time, I began reviewing restaurants for The Globe and Mail. We were peers and both cocky, but didn’t always see eye-to-eye. I often told Mr. Morrison he was too embedded in the industry to be objective. He later wrote a baldly confessional piece full of backhanded compliments describing how I made his “sphincter involuntarily tighten.”

Still, I adored his impish charm, envied his natural writing style and admired the way he and Ms. Sproule (an extremely talented photographer) paved their own path.

With Scout, they expanded into broader cultural coverage. Traditional reviews were replaced with previews, guides, maps, interviews, behind-the-scenes reportage and valuable historical archives, including the wonderfully reverential Restaurant Graveyard series.

Scout has become required reading for anyone who wants to stay up to date on Vancouver’s indie scene and is undoubtedly a big reason (launched the same year as Waiterblog) didn’t last long here.

It gave Mr. Morrison the opportunity to champion the “wave makers, risk takers and independent spirits” he so respected.

He had found his purpose.

Andrew Stuart Innes Morrison was born in Vancouver on Feb. 14, 1973. His parents divorced when he was two. He was the middle of three siblings.

His mother, Laura West, owned a small chain of Italian delicatessens in Victoria called Bagga Pasta. This is where he got his early start in the industry with a minimum wage, after-school job hand-nesting freshly made linguine for supermarkets.

His father, Stuart Morrison, was the president and CEO of the Cartwright Group, which owned Canada Law Book and CLB Media. “A real character” who “loved controversy” and would take “any opportunity to shock,” one obituary said. He obviously passed on some of those traits to his son.

As a teenager, he was deeply immersed in the nascent West Coast skateboarding scene and led the protests that helped get Victoria’s first skate park (Vic West) built.

For a while, as an adult, he had an indoor mini ramp in his office. “Until he broke his leg [on it],” Ms. Sproule said. “I told him, ‘Look, if you break your wrist, we’re really in trouble.’ "

In 1994, when South Africa was still politically volatile, he went to the University of Cape Town, where he graduated with a bachelor of arts in history and the classics. “Everyone should go outside their comfort zone, when they’re young, and abandon everything they’ve come to know in order to appreciate what they have,” he once said of the formative experience.

He mellowed, but never lost that edge. “He was always fascinated by the other side of the tracks,” said Lisa Ahier, of Tofino, B.C., with whom he co-wrote The Sobo Cookbook, a multiple award winner.

In addition to being the co-head B.C. judge for the Canadian Culinary Championships, he was the national referee and judge invigilator.

“He could see through the [bull] much more clearly than most of us,” said head judge James Chatto. Like many, he appreciated Mr. Morrison’s intellectual rigour, droll sense of humour and nerdy obsessions.

“After the events, we would sit around exhausted and someone would crack wise about hobbits and then it would begin. We’d try to quote as much Lord of the Rings as we could at each other. He knew those films pretty much verbatim.”

Mr. Morrison was an avid birder and loved nothing more than packing up the Westfalia and going camping with his family. For four years, before COVID-19 closed the border, he had been trying to visit every national park in the United States – conquering 33 of 56.

The pandemic hit Scout hard and drained most of the family’s savings. “We couldn’t ask restaurants to pay for advertising. Our hearts were breaking for everybody,” Ms. Sproule said.

Last November, Mr. Morrison began rapidly losing weight. Four months later, he was diagnosed with Stage 4 renal-cell carcinoma.

He received immunotherapy and felt well enough go wilderness camping off remote logging roads until the end of August. But in the early fall, he had a bad reaction to a new medication.

Said Ms. Sproule, “He couldn’t stay awake for more than a few hours a day, but he always used those hours to be with his kids, be with his dog, write something for Scout and talk about hockey.”

Mr. Morrison leaves his wife, sons James and Alexander (Pip), mother, brother and sister.