I landed in Vancouver, already a major foodie destination, but kept my palate from wandering around town and gobbling up all the goodness that abounds. I was heading out to the wilderness and ready to indulge every sense at this Relais & Chateaux wilderness retreat. You may have read my rave reviews about the resort itself but for the real food lovers out there that may have only served to whet the appetite. It’s time to delve into to culinary delights orchestrated in the open kitchen of the cookhouse at Clayoquot by Chef Justin Witcher.
Picture yourself in a massive log cabin with floor-to-ceiling glass panels separating you from the great outdoors and the call of the wild and at the center of it all is a smoothly run kitchen effusing the most delectable aromas. Competing with views of a coursing river and mountainscapes is one tall order. Chef manages it all with such aplomb that I found myself torn between watching his orchestration of each meal service and the display that Mother Nature was putting on. It seemed she was constantly trying to outdo herself, perhaps knowing what was going on in the cookhouse. It had to make her a bit envious. Chef had a way of bringing everyone together at mealtime, snack time, and really any time throughout the day. The chimney was pouring out wisps of smoke from dawn til well past dusk and every curl of that smoke carried a whiff of what was going on inside. This was truly a game between nature versus nurture and the comfort of a well-designed menu tended to win me over every time. Hey, that’s why the floor-to-ceiling windows exist. A perfect melding was to be found in the cookhouse. Day after day, there were options upon options and courses upon courses to choose from. From North Island Spot Prawns, bone broth, Fava Bean purée with wild mushrooms and seaweed appetizers to Foie Gras terrine. Not only wasn’t I going hungry in the wild, I was spoiled for choice.
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