Western Living Magazine
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The culinary weekend celebrates the great outdoorsand B.C.'s beautiful bounty.
Nothing works up an appetite quite like spending time in the great outdoors—and there’s no better way to spend a weekend than at one of Canada’s premier mountain destinations, grazing on chef-drive cuisine in between jaunts through the Rockies and pampering sessions at the spa. It sounds too good to be true, but that’s exactly what you can expect to do during Untamed Kootenays.On the weekend of June 16 to 18, Island Lake Lodge, with Executive Chef Keith Farkas, will host its first annual culinary event showcasing regional ingredients alongside special guest chefs Justin Leboe (Model Milk, Pigeonhole) and JP Pedhirney (Bridgette Bar) of Calgary. The trio, joined by two other Island Lake chefs, will collaborate on a five-course Western Canadian dinner created with seasonal ingredients sourced and foraged from the surrounding Elk Valley—one of many highlights of the weekend.“It’ll be a very wild kind of dinner,” says Pedhirney, who has been charged with preparing the fish course. An avid fisherman—he shares a cabin in B.C. with fianceé Heather Wighton, general manager at Pigeonhole—Pedhirney will be making a rainbow trout modelled after a popular dish from the Bridgette Bar menu. In the restaurant, it’s made with creamed kale, but for Untamed Kootenays he’ll be swapping kale for wild stinging nettles.Between sipping and nibbling, guests will have the opportunity to forage in the surrounding forest with the chefs and then help prepare the bounty for dinner—or they can check out the backcountry terrain on a spectacular guided hike (the lodge is nestled within the Lizard Range of the Canadian Rockies), relax in one of the spa’s six treatment rooms, soak in an outdoor hot tub while enjoying the best views in Fernie, or kick back on the patio with exclusive samplings from Fernie Brewing Co. and BC Wine Studio (the makers behind the lodge’s new wine program). After being thoroughly immersed in mountain culture, the weekend wraps on Sunday with a departure brunch—and the option to squeeze in one last hike before heading home.The intimate weekend experience is limited (15 rooms, 30 seats per dinner) and is sure to become an in-demand annual affair. For more information and to reserve a spot, visit islandlakecatskiing.com.