What We Love Now
Stories by Nikki Bayley / Images By Joern Rohde
A Culinary Destination — Wild Blue Restaurant + Bar
Vancouver Magazine called Wild Blue “the most important Whistler restaurant opening in a decade,” and for once, you can believe the hype — thanks to a dream team that includes legendary restaurateur and Restaurant Hall of Fame inductee Jack Evrensel (founder of Araxi), Iron Chef Canada champion Alex Chen, and esteemed front-of-house industry veteran Neil Henderson. “It’s important for us to be ambassadors for our B.C. region,” Chen tells me. And his seafood-forward, West Coast-influenced restaurant has been delighting diners with its seafood towers, juicy steaks, and hand-made pasta since it opened this past summer.
For Henderson, long-time Whistler local, partner and restaurant director, opening Wild Blue is coming full circle. Thirty years ago, in his first season in the Village, he worked as a busser at the now-shuttered Jimmy D’s in the very same spot. “We wanted to make a difference here in Whistler and create an inspiring restaurant to work in,” Henderson says. “We’ll have French and Italian coastal influences for techniques and presentation, but we want to be very focused on our local products and regional proteins.” Chen agrees. “We want to highlight our fishmongers, our farms, and all the amazing people we work with whose products have the No. 1 taste!” he says.
Although new to Whistler’s dining scene, Chen has been visiting the resort for more than 30 years. “Every time I come up, I discover something new; I know I’m not a ‘local’ yet, but I’m here at least four days a week, and the community is becoming mine; all the other chefs have been so welcoming. It’s great to build these new relationships.”
wildbluerestaurant.com | 604-962-2233
Get Your Groove On at Rockit Coffee
Something far more exciting than the same old big-brand, corporate coffee shop is coming to Creekside Village this winter in the fabulously funky shape of the Rockit Coffee Co. Brought to you by the team behind the ever-popular Mexican Corner and Tacos La Cantina, CEO Pepe Barajas can’t wait to open its doors. “In life, you need coffee and music to be happy, and at Rockit, we’re mixing the two together. Rockit is going to be fun with features like a wall of old-school speakers pumping music! I’ve been learning so much about coffee culture. It’s like wine —a whole experience!”
Rockit is sourcing beans from Vancouver’s Oughtred Roasting Works, who’ve been in business for 50 years, developing relationships with growers across Latin America, from Peru to Nicaragua and Honduras. “They roast in very small batches and have an amazing, state-of-the-art roaster from Japan,” Barajas says. “Their attention to detail and high quality drew us to them, but I’ve learned that when it comes to coffee, the most important thing is the barista. The farmer, the roaster, they can all do a terrific job, but the barista needs to honour that work.”
On the drinks menu, you’ll find all the usual cortados, lattes, matcha, and so on, and for breakfast, lunch, and supper, there’ll be plenty of plant-based options, plus tonkatsu bao buns, creamy corn soup, maple sausage breakfast wraps and more. “There are no evening coffee shops around, and we’ll be open till 8 p.m. I have a vision of Rockit being a place for people to come and enjoy great coffee, great music and just enjoy being themselves; come as you are, we wanna see you with all your colours!”
Chef David Hawksworth Partners with Whistler Blackcomb Venues
Skiing and breathing are two of my top things — besides cooking,” deadpans chef and restaurateur David Hawksworth. “Winter is always my favourite time of the year. I can’t wait to get on the mountain; I’ve been visiting Whistler since I was eight. I’ve always loved it up there.”
Combining that lifelong love of skiing with his culinary expertise, Hawksworth is back consulting on the menus at mountaintop favourites Steeps Grill & Wine Bar and Christine’s on Blackcomb, finally open again after closing through the pandemic. He will also be visiting the Village to cook at a trio of fun pop-ups.
“I’ve been talking with Steeps and Christine’s about recipes, exchanging ideas and suppliers — all that back-of-house stuff,” Hawksworth says. The menus are being finalized, but you can expect influences from the chef’s popular Vancouver outposts: Bel Café, Nightingale, and his eponymous Hawksworth Restaurant, along with that unique Whistler flair. “I always see a lot of our Vancouver clientele up on the slopes in Whistler,” says Hawksworth. “I’ve skied a lot in Europe, and I thought it would be great to throw my ideas up there doing a more European-influenced thing. I’m really excited about our GLC après pop-up; we want to do something fun and get a great DJ playing. I need to figure out if I can get my pizza oven up there and do cool pizzas, maybe even hot dogs with a twist, too!”
Look for the après pop-up at GLC with passed appetizers, cocktails, and a DJ on Jan. 14, and lunch at Steeps on Feb. 4 and April 1.