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We'll give you a hintthink lakes, mountains and a pair of kick-ass chefs.
Food Day Canada is coming up this weekend (August 3) and I’ve never figured out why it hasn’t been as wholeheartedly embraced out West as it is in the rest of the country. It was started in 2003 by certified national treasure Anita Stewart in response to borders being closed to our beef.
So Stewart issued a call to arms—on one day, all Canadians should cook a piece of a Canadian beef in solidarity with our ranchers. From that call to arms sprang Food Day Canada, a national celebration of buying local; supporting our farmers, fishermen and ranchers; and eating well.
This year’s edition sees a select group of thoughtful restaurants across the West—Edmonton’s Rge Rd, Calgary’s Rouge, Vancouver’s L’Abattoir and Forage—take up Stewart’s mantle, but I think it’s fair to say that the real flag waver in B.C. has been the Fairmont hotels. The chain’s YVR, Pacific Rim and Waterfront hotels are all holding dinners this Saturday, but it’s at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler where the concept reaches its apogee.
You have executive chef Isabel Chung, who’s pulled the hotel to the top of the mountain town’s food ranks. And then there’s executive sous chef Derek Bendig, who’s been knocking it out of the (terrain) park for the past few Food Days (he was one of a select group of Food Day chefs who were invited to cook at New York’s James Beard House to honour Stewart’s vision in 2017).
This year’s menu is a master class in Whistler locavorism. It starts with rainbow trout farmed by the N’Quatqua band from north of Pemberton, that’s served with local veg, romanesco sauce and nasturtiums from the Chateau’s own roof garden. And from there: a stuffed pork trotter from Lillooet’s Spray Creek Ranch; a granité of alpine fireweed and spruce tips married to Pemberton Distillery‘s elderflower liqueur; and a cake made with Lillooet’s Goldstrike honey. It’s like taking a food tour on the Sea-to-Sky with Bendig as your guide.
They’ve paired everything with Penticton’s Roche wines, which, in a few short years, has become one of the Okanagan’s buzziest wineries. Tickets to the multi-course feast are available here.
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