Where Culinary Minds Meet

September 23, 2016

A meeting of culinary minds will take place in Whistler during Cornucopia, presented by BlueShore Financial when the festival welcomes a stellar lineup of nine chefs from near and far to head up the Chef’s Table Luncheons and The Culinary Stage demonstrations.

Making their first appearance in Whistler are Cornucopia 2016 International Guest Chefs – Benito Molina and Solange Muris from one of Latin America’s Top 50 restaurants – Manzanilla restaurant in Ensenada, Mexico. Molina trained at the New England Culinary Institute and worked in Brittany before learning Mediterranean techniques under Chef Todd English, while Muris trained at the Central Piedmont Culinary College in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Minami Chef’s Table Luncheon, 2015. Photo: Darby Magill


Next up, Chef Luis Valenzuela returns to the stages of Cornucopia. Valenzuela, originally from Guadalajara, Mexico – immigrated to Toronto in 2001 where he is now co-owner and executive chef of Carmen Cocina Espanola – named in 2013 as one of Canada’s Best New Restaurants by Enroute Magazine.

UK-born Chef Dan Hayes will make his way “across the pond” from Victoria, B.C. Co-owner of The London Chef cooking school with his wife Micayla, Hayes will showcase his classic French training and love of rustic Mediterranean cuisine during Cornucopia. When Chef Hayes is not in the kitchen you can find him on TV as host of documentary food series Moosemeat & Marmalade.

Alan Ferrer, executive chef of Yaletown hotspot Minami Contemporary Japanese regaled past-Cornucopia goers with the restaurant’s specialty – Aburi sushi. Aburi is an old-school method of cooking in which the topside is lightly seared with a blowtorch and bamboo charcoal. That said, there’s more to Chef Ferrer’s repertoire than Aburi, of course, which he will present during a Chef’s Table Luncheon.

Edible British Columbia founder and proprietor, Chef Eric Pateman will share his insatiable passion for the great food and wine available in British Columbia on The Culinary Stage. Pateman has become a leading ambassador of Canadian cuisine, co-authored two books “The BC Seasonal Cookbook” and “How Canadians Communicate About Food” and is a recipient of the Mayor of Vancouver’s Art Award for Culinary Arts in 2013 as well as being named a Top 40 Under 40 Business People and Top 40 Under 40 Foodies in Western Canada.

Chef Eric Pateman on the Cornucopia Culinary Stage, 2015. Photo: Darby Magill


Renowned Vancouver Chef David Hawksworth – of Hawksworth Restaurant — will demonstrate why he’s considered one of Canada’s leading culinary influencers during his Chef’s Table Luncheon.  Hawksworth is certainly no stranger to Whistler, as an avid skier, he has partnered on several occasions with Whistler Blackcomb for a series of pop-up lunches and après. In addition to Hawksworth’s numerous awards such as Vancouver Magazine Restaurant Awards Restaurant of the Year and Chef of the Year (2012, 2013) and for four consecutive years, Best Upscale Dining, as well as enRoute magazine’s top three Best New Restaurants, and Maclean’s magazine Restaurant of the Year – Hawksworth is also known for the Hawksworth Young Chef Scholarship Foundation; a recent partnership with Air Canada for signature dishes exclusively featured on Air Canada flights in International Business Class and in Maple Leaf Lounges, television appearances and charitable causes including his long-standing commitment to Fishing For Kids the West Coast Fishing Club’s annual charity tournament benefiting the Canucks Autism Network.

Closer to home, Chef Randy Jones – chef/owner of Pemberton’s Mile One Eating House once again returns for his extremely popular (and quick sell-out) Culinary Stage event – Pembytopia. Mile One Eating House’s motto is “we take comfort food seriously” and the restaurant team is passionate about showcasing great B.C. food & beverage products. Jones’s culinary career began at the Dubrulle French Culinary School in Vancouver and then to an apprenticeship with Fairmont Hotels & Resorts. He has worked in kitchens from seaside, to mountain top and all points in between with locations like Tofino, Whistler, the Canadian Rockies, the South Chilcotin and downtown Vancouver. His passion for the bounty of B.C. has evolved from these amazing places, with the casual offering of Mile One Eating House reflecting this.

Last but certainly not least – in anticipation of the upcoming winter season — two of Whistler Blackcomb’s culinary leaders will also join the fun of Cornucopia.

Born and raised in the Bavarian Alps – Executive Chef Wolfgang Sterr, joined Whistler Blackcomb in 2011. Combining his two loves for food and snowboarding, Sterr worked in Davos, Arosa and Engelberg Switzerland on a quest to expand his culinary knowledge. Over the next four years he was exposed to Italian, French and German cuisine and was able to snowboard 100 days each season. As is the story with the majority of Whistler-ites – Sterr initially came to Whistler on a snowboard vacation in 1991 and fell in love with Canada. After moving around the country for several years, Sterr returned to Whistler for a visit in March 2010 which made Wolfgang realize that life has more to offer than just work and the mountains called out to him to return. And in a twist of fate Sterr joined Whistler Blackcomb to run the Roundhouse lodge, and nine months into the journey, was promoted to Executive Chef to help lead the massive food and beverage division which includes 17 on and off mountain restaurants.

Steve Ramey joined Christine’s on Blackcomb as Head Chef as part of the restaurants re-vamp and re-launch in 2015 – just in time for Whistler Blackcomb’s 50th Anniversary. In this new role, Ramey brought the culinary prowess he honed as the sous-chef at Vancouver’s renowned Hawksworth Restaurant to Whistler Blackcomb. Ramey was awarded his Culinary Apprenticeship and Inter-provincial Red Seal in 2007; and in August 2003, he was the top apprentice in his class. He started with the Hawksworth Group in 2011 and was responsible for menu development. Under his watch, Hawksworth Restaurant was consistently named Vancouver’s top restaurant, and one of the best restaurants in Canada.

This is just a snippet of culinary offerings at this year’s Cornucopia. A plethora of winery dinners at Whistler’s best restaurants, drink seminars, various tasting events including the must-attend flagship tasting event Crush Grand Tasting — there is a menu for every taste and budget.  Don’t miss out – tickets are on sale now.