The Grill Room @ Chateau Whistler, Whistler, British Columbia

Nestled at the base of Blackcomb Mountain, it took Canadian Pacific Hotels to build another chateau with luxurious rooms, lots of dining options including the Wildflower, award-winning golf and a full-service spa. Although it’s now a Fairmont property, it remains one of the finest such properties in Canada.

Chateau Whistler’s Executive Chef Isabel Chung, the only female Executive Chef in Fairmont, has built quite a team in this, one of the busiest hotels in western Canada.

Enter Executive Sous Chef, Derek Bendig who leads the culinary charge in all four full-time and two seasonal restaurants.  I’m not sure anyone has his energy!  His expansive personality and prodigious knowledge of all things food-related make him a perfect choice to oversee such a complex and important side of the hotel’s food service. He’s won accolades from Food Day Canada and in 2017 was invited to cook with other Food Day chefs at the James Beard House in Manhattan, after which he pretty much tasted his way through the city. I’m not sure any of the other chefs could keep up with him….I know I couldn’t. 

There’s a ton of talent in these hotel kitchens and what we’ll see unfolding over the summer does Canada proud. You may taste maple-cured Arctic char with a wild vegetable salad, watercress aioli, and wrapped in smoldering cedar paper (at left). Or there might be a Chateau-smoked salmon poutine using legendary Yukon Gold potatoes, likely grown up the road in Pemberton, a spoonful of fresh cream cheese, extra virgin canola oil sabayon and local B.C. sturgeon caviar.  Can it get any more decadent?

Chef Bendig is a hunter and although no wild game can be served in his restaurants, he knows how to serve it forth. Check out the roasted venison loin with wild mushroom and barley “risotto”, wilted mustard greens and mustard seed jus. It would have to go with a lusty cabernet franc or possibly even a Syrah from the Okanagan. And speaking of wine..for as long as I can remember, the emphasis has been on B.C. first with a cellar gathered from the likes of Quail’s Gate, Cedar Creek and Mission Hill to name only three. And there are cocktails including this one dedicated to Canada 150!

Menu Introduction ~ Food Day Canada 2018

Tradition and Innovation in Agriculture

For this years menu I chose the theme of tradition and innovation in agriculture for a number of reasons, firstly there is no doubt that over the past 50 years or so there has been tremendous “innovations” in agriculture, however these have been mainly dominated by massive scale single crop farms and animal production. These practices where hailed as technological triumph’s at the time but we know better now, this system is not sustainable, relies heavily on chemical fertilization to replenish the depleted soil from growing a single crop, heavy pesticide use as these monoculture fields are very attractive to certain weeds and pests. If we are going to be able to feed the growing population and do so in a manner that not only nourishes our population but also starts to again nourish our planet instead of destroying it, I believe there needs to be a better balance between science and tradition. There are many Innovative technologies being developed and perfected that do just that. As the price of food continues to sore I feel people will start to go back to the time of our grandparents and start to dig up their lawns and start growing food for their families again in home gardens.

It is my goal to bring these two elements together for the dinner on August 4th. We will be growing the majority (hopefully all depending on yields from the gardens) of the produce for the dinner in my two community garden plots, our rooftop garden, and at Chef Isabel’s back yard garden at her home in Pemberton. This produce will then be paired with some of these innovative technologies being developed right here in BC, Berezen shrimp being farmed in a Recirculating aquaculture system or RAS, they are bringing fresh chemically free pacific white legged shrimp to our tables. West creek Coho salmon being farmed similarly in a RAS system in Agassiz BC, both these companies are looking to improve on the technologies and become more efficient and sustainable, whether that is looking to develop better feeds, using the filtered solids to fertilize their fields, in the case of West Creek looking to grow vegetables using aquaponics above their tanks. There is Gindara Sablefish on the coast that is doing open net pens in sustainable manner, Sablefish are not a natural host for sea-lice and growing in its native environment, are naturally resistant to local pathogens and bacteria. Gindara Sablefish mature in Kyuquot Sound without the use of antibiotics, hormones, or chemical treatments. They are cultured among the lowest population densities of any farmed animal, land or sea. Revolutionary sea cage design has virtually eliminated the threat and interaction of predators and further ensures they have no impact on our environment.

We will be showcasing the more traditional element with grass fed beef with our partners from Hanceville Cattle Company and their Grass fed/finished Highland steers. And also going back to the idea of home gardens, we will have lettuces and herbs with fresh chicken eggs from Chef Isabel’s back yard, goat cheese made right here in the kitchen of the hotel.

We are thrilled to be able to pair all of these items with the portfolio of Roche wines out of Penticton BC, winemakers Penelope and Dylan Roche have deep roots in French traditions dedicated to natural, artisanal farming and winemaking. They grow using traditional and organic methods and their wines reveal the relation of the terrior and the wine. They will prove to be excellent pairings for the menu.

Chateau Whistler Food-Day-Canada 2018


 Contact Chateau Whistler & The Grill Room at the number below to reserve a Food Day Canada table.

The Chateau Whistler & the Grill Room est l’un des beaucoup de restaurants à travers tout le Canada qui participent au Journée des terroirs.

The Chateau Whistler ~ Grill Room
4599 Chateau Boulevard
Whistler, British Columbia
V0N 1B4

Photography by Julie Zoney.

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