Cornucopia’s Twentieth Anniversary

Whistler is shrouded in a layer of white gold as the snow falls and Cornucopia, presented by BlueShore Financial, wraps for another year.  As the gateway to winter in Whistler, Cornucopia ushered in a new season, kicking off winter with a celebration of Whistler’s love for it’s people, love of its village and appreciation for the harvest and bounty of the region.

Thank you to everyone who participated for making the 20th Edition of Cornucopia a success! To all our partners, agents, wineries, breweries, food purveyors, Chef partners, speakers and presenters thank you so much for your support. To all the local businesses, restaurants and hotels, thank you for once again showing the very best of Whistler to all our resort guests. And most importantly, THANK YOU to all our volunteers for your hard work and dedication! It takes a village to make Cornucopia happen… and we love our village.

People from far and wide came to partake in over 150 different events reflecting an entire village coming together in creativity, thoughtfulness and appreciation, meeting its goal of raising money for local organizations doing great work.  As Cornucopia’s 2016 partner recipient, Whistler Adaptive Sports Program provides year round programs for people of all ages with disabilities.  Alongside Whistler Adaptive Sports, volunteers and organizations held fundraisers for the Whistler Public Library, the Audain Art Museum and Ecole La Passerelle.  Cornucopia has raised over $500,000 to help community initiatives. Each year, Cornucopia events raise in excess of $35,000 for its named charity which changes every two years.

Photo: Darby Magill


Cornucopia 2016 began with an homage to Whistler’s culinary tradition as the community came together to honour one of its pillars at the Restaurant Association of Whistler’s first ever Hall of Fame Ceremony at The Picnic: Cornucopia’s 20th Anniversary Party. Through speeches, smiles, tears and toasts, they honoured Mario Enero for his outstanding contributions.  In the words of Keeley Higgins, former manager of La Rua and Caramba, “Good food, good service, good people…Mario is a patriarch in Whistler’s culinary and hospitality scene because of simple principles and a gift for sharing his experience and passion with the community and those who work with him.”

Photo: Julie Zoney


It was the perfect kick-off to an 11 celebration where ten signature tasting events took place from Crush 20th Grand Tasting, anchoring the first Saturday, to Poured Grand Tasting, anchoring the 2nd Saturday.  Attendees sipped and tasted the craft and passion of wine-makers, brewers, distillers, chefs and more.

Photo: Julie Zoney


This set the stage for the region’s restaurant and hotel community to shine.  Bringing their best work and most creative collaborations, over 50 different culinary establishments delighted and amazed attendees at restaurant and winery dinners, Cornucopia’s Chef’s Table Luncheons, Culinary Stage chef demonstrations, and more.

The London Chef. Photo: Julie Zoney


Cornucopia 2016 was also an event for the industry.  Through workshops and forums, Whistler held space for the hospitality, wine and beverage industries to share, debate and exchange knowledge.  Holding the WSET Level 1 and 2 certification with vetran wine educator DJ Kearney, as well as the first annual Cornucopia Wine Summit, Whistler saw some of the best mids in wine and hospitality come together.

The Cornucopia Wine Summit. Photo: Julie Zoney


And more.  From Cornucopia Junior Chef for teen cooks to the Cornucopia Drink Series, hosting expert panels in over 45 different sessions, to the newly expanded Nourish Health and Wellness micro-festival where fresh ideas abound at Cornucopia it is safe to say the 20th edition had something for everyone.  Cheers to the village that made it happen and the attendees who came to enjoy.

The 21st edition of Cornucopia takes place November 9-19, 2017.  See you there!

Cornucopia Junior Chef. Photo: Julie Zoney

A Foodie’s Ponderings: By GD Maxwell

Beloved local writer, GD Maxwell, deconstructs breakfast for his fellow foodies.


Nutritionists, who have proven time and time again how little science actually knows about nutrition and how the human body processes foods, have claimed for, well, ever, that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. I’m here to tell you it’s simply not true.

This, of course, is good news to those of us for whom the thought of digging into a hearty meal shortly after bouncing out of bed is nauseating.

So what, you ask, is my proof for such a statement? Statistics — which we all know don’t lie — bear me out. In recent surveys, a full 10% of Americans never eat breakfast and an astounding 50% skip it at least once a week. Half of Brits say they regularly skip breakfast, a figure that’s doubled in the past several years. If breakfast was as important as nutritionists want you to believe, there would be bodies piling up in the streets.

Let’s face it, nobody except naughty children skip supper, and it’s not like naughty children have a choice in the matter. Lunch is a necessary break in the day’s grind.

If stark statistics aren’t enough for you, consider this: Breakfast is the only meal humans consume in restaurants that doesn’t have a dessert offering! There is no breakfast dessert menu! Never! Nowhere!

Breakfast is the neglected stepchild of meals.

Oh, I know, there are lots of sweet things people can choose to eat at breakfast. Belgian waffles piled high with strawberries and whipped cream, gooey cinnamon buns, pastries of many varieties and — ugh — hideously sweet cereal adults never confess to eating notwithstanding far more is sold than children could possibly eat.

But those things are breakfast. They’re not dessert. Why is there no breakfast dessert? A separate menu with a few tempting choices to finish off your morning meal and satisfy our ancestral evolutionary predilection for sweet, calorie-rich things would put a bounce in breakfast eaters’ step, make them feel special and, perhaps most importantly, add 10-15% to restaurateurs’ bottom line.

Hello people; opportunity knocking.

Why is there no Breakfast Brûlée?  Breakfast Brownie? Why are eggs a staple breakfast choice but a decent dessert soufflé never hits a menu until lunch? Why is pie a PM thing but never sees the light of dawn?

What’s the matter with breakfast that it’s too ashamed to be associated with dessert?

A skier contemplating a day filled with harrowing steeps, uphill hikes in search of fresh powder and the occasional, interminable lift line, would cheer local restaurants serving up a power-packed breakfast dessert of, say, energy bar topped with a truffle mountain draped in white chocolate ganache glacier and coconut snowfall? Everything you need and nothing you don’t for a hard day on the mountain, all for $7.95.

Don’t thank me — just get to work and make breakfast as important as nutritionists try to make us think it is.

You can find Max’s musings in his weekly column in the Pique Newsmagazine,

Baja Meets Mountain At Whistler’s Cornucopia

Cornucopia is thrilled to present Chefs Benito Molina and Solange Muris as the 2016 International Guest Chefs!

Chefs Benito Molina and Solange Muris are the husband-and-wife duo behind Ensenada, Mexico’s Manzanilla Restaurant– rated as one of ‘Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants’. Ensenada, located 120 kilometres south of San Diego on the Pacific Coast, is a popular culinary tourism destination, increasingly known for its compelling seafood-centric cookery married to the distinctive wines of the nearby Calle de Guadaloupe wine region. Since founding Manzanilla (‘Camomile’) in 2000, the couple has been recognized as pioneers of the hybrid ‘Baja Med’ cuisine that has proved such a powerful draw for dining cognoscenti.

On Friday, November 11th, Araxi Restaurant Executive Chef James Walt will welcome Chefs Benito and Solange for an epic culinary collaboration. Chef Walt joined the couple in Ensenada for the 2015 Festival de las Conchas el Vino and was challenged to craft dishes applying his internationally-gained technique to local fare. Now, with the tables turned, Chefs Benito and Solange will create Baja-inspired dishes utilizing British Columbia’s best ingredients and wines to present a multi-course dinner alongside chef Walt. An extraordinary evening – with a sunny take on tastes and flavours – is in store!

“We are truly thrilled to welcome Chefs Benito and Solange to Cornucopia 2016,” Chef James said. “The evolution of Mexican gastronomy is due to their passion to share the riches of this wonderful culture with the food community from all corners of the world. And their early commitment to sustainability has shaped their unique perspective on sourcing and cooking local. Their thoughtful treatment of seafood pulled from their back door is truly remarkable, and we look forward to welcoming our guests for this collaborative event.”

Then on Saturday, November 12th, Chefs Benito and Solange will participate in Cornucopia’s Chefs Table Luncheon series, preparing a multi-course feast for an intimate group in a secret Whistler home. And don’t miss his appearance on Cornucopia’s Culinary Stage on Sunday, November 13th, when Chefs Benito and Solange will demonstrate classic Baja cuisine

Nourish Your Strongest Life

Nourish is a platform for a cornucopia of ideas that are ancient, delicious and fresh.  Cornucopia, presented by BlueShore Financial, not only gives you a chance to sip and savour but also offers an opportunity to restore the body, inspire the mind and celebrate the spirit.  Full programming can be found at

Set within one of B.C.’s premier food + drink festivals, Nourish at Whistler Cornucopia brings together those who are curious and committed to greater health to share ideas, create community, and to inspire action and play in the world and in the kitchen. Commit to a full Nourish Retreat package or check out the Nourish Wellness Series of workshops, seminars and cooking demonstrations.

Chef Marina Koly on the Nourish Culinary Stage, 2015. Photo: Darby Magill

The Nourish Retreat at Cornucopia, hosted by Allison Hunter, Nourish producer, and veteran strengths coach, Tracy Hutton, gives you three nights and four days dedicated to restoring your body, inspiring your mind, and celebrating your spirit. Taking place during the second dynamic weekend of Cornucopia, this full package features meditation and yoga each day followed by fuelling your body with healing local foods, demonstrations by chefs and experts and connecting with Whistler’s natural beauty, through forest forages, spa visits and more. After an energizing day of movement, healing and relaxation, join Cornucopia’s world-class food and wine events and celebrate the best of what this region has to offer.  The Nourish Retreat is a perfect blend of restoration and inspiration.

Sage ceremony with the Squamish Lillooet Nation, Nourish Retreat, 2015

Or, choose your workshops a la carte from the entire Nourish Wellness Series during the 11 days of Cornucopia. Enjoy round-table seminars with passionate experts on topics such as Food Sustainability, and 10 Happiness Habits to interactive cooking demonstrations that showcase everything from natural fermentation to raw food cooking, and workshops such as Fuelling for Endurance Trail Runs and Building a Healthy Family. The Nourish Wellness Series lets you share ideas, create community and inspire action and play in the world and in the kitchen. With seminars starting at only $20, there is something here to nourish everyone.


The Nourish Retreat at Cornucopia
You can! Pickling, Preserving and Canning Workshop and Lunch
Fuelling for Endurance Trail Run and Workshop
The Ancient Art of Fermentation – Workshop and Brunch
Master Gardening – Food Sustainability for the Here and Now
Farmers Breakfast on the Culinary Stage
Aging Gracefully – Nourish Seminar
Building a Healthy Family Workshop and Brunch
For the Love of Plants Lunch with Wolfgang Sterr on the Culinary Stage
Nose to Tail Techniques and Traditions Workshop
Mastering the Basics Workshop and Lunch
Healing Foods from Around the World Lunch
10 Happiness Habits – Nourish Seminar
Cooking in the Raw Workshop and Breakfast
Seasonal Health – Nourish Seminar
Zero Mile Breakfast

Whistler Restaurant Don’t Miss Events

Embracing the palate, the plate, and the Pacific North West, Cornucopia is a promise of warmth and welcome to all-comers to experience Whistler’s talented taste-makers. Relying on the raw and rugged backdrop of the Pacific Coast Mountains to cleanse the senses and focus the palate, Cornucopia shines a spotlight on the craft and talent of the chefs, vintners, brewers and distillers of this village and region. Cornucopia brings together a village that is ready to host, delight and amaze you. Let your tastebuds run wild.

New to the 2016 dinner selection is the Audain Art Museum: Artistic Expressions. This event hosted by Michael Audain and Yoshiko Karasawa, will feature a culinary adventure designed by Collective Kitchen and guided wine pairing by Fort Berens Estate Winery followed by a private tour of Whistler’s newest cultural hub – the Audain Art Museum.

This year, The Four Seasons Whistler introduces the Peak to Peak to Peak – A Four Seasons Mountain Collection Chefs Collaborative at SIDECUT Modern Steak + Bar. Executive Chef Eren Guryel plays host to his Four Seasons Vail and Jackson Hole counterparts to create a culinary experience paired with premium Kettle Valley wines. SIDECUT Modern Steak + Bar will also host a Best in Show dinner to celebrate British Columbia’s local producers with the culinarians on hand to speak about what makes their products so special. Wines from Fort Berens Estate Winery Lillooet will be paired to perfection.

The Rimrock Café: California Outer Limits Wine Dinner presents a four- course wine dinner with Hope family wines of Paso Robles & Michael David Wines of the Lodi Valley, California. Quattro restaurant features a multi-course meal paired with the wines from esteemed Barolo producer Ceretto. The Venue will host a dinner with a focus on sustainability and paired with wines from Siren’s Call and The Escapist all from the B.C. Wine Studio. The popular Red Door Bistro offers two five course winemaker dinners expertly paired with wines from Tightrope Winery.

Araxi will host its dinner series in the beautiful private dining space known as The Cellar by Araxi. The dinner series lineup features legendary Canadian wine pioneer Don Triggs sharing the exceptional wines of his family’s Culmina Family Estate Winery, an intimate wine dinner with Foxtrot Vineyards, Pacific Northwest cuisine paired with wines from Chateau Ste Michelle, and the rare opportunity to savour the great South African Anthonij Rupert Wines. Not to be missed, of course, is Araxi’s well-renowned Big Guns dinner but also Araxi’s The Best of British Columbia with Cornucopia’s 2016 International Guest Chef Benito Molina of Ensenada’s acclaimed Manzanilla Restaurant. This multi-course collaboration will see a friendly duel as Chef Molina adds subtle Baja twists to prime British Columbia ingredients.

At Nita Lake Lodge’s Aura restaurant’s Sip & Savour Nose to Tail Dinner with Laughing Stock Winery, Chef Dean celebrates fresh, local produce by using all of the specially raised pig from Root Down farm just 50km away in this unique four course winemaker’s dinner.

The Fairmont Chateau Whistler will host multiple winery dinners in the private and intimate setting of the Grill Room. Act quickly though as most are already sold-out! Choose from dinners paired with wines from Blasted Church Vineyards, Meyer Family Vineyard, Tinhorn Creek Winery or Quails’ Gate Winery.

Looking for something different than wine? Fear not, as beer-paired or whiskey-paired dinners are also on offer. Black’s Pub features a five course guided dinner paired with five local beers from Whistler Brewing. Nita Lake Lodge’s Aura Restaurant is offering a Sip & Savour Beer Dinner where great local food is paired with beers from across Europe. Or choose their Sip & Savour Whiskey Dinner and let master of malt guide you through a delicious journey of great food paired with incredible whiskeys from Diageo spirits.

Don’t miss out – tickets are selling fast!

Whistler Restaurant Hall Of Fame Launches

In collaboration with the 20th Anniversary of Cornucopia, presented by BlueShore Financial, the Restaurant Association of Whistler (RAW) is launching their Hall of Fame with renowned legendary local restaurateur Mario Enero as the first inductee.

“This annual celebration will honour members of our food and beverage community that have been pioneers, trailblazers and innovators within our beloved restaurant industry.  As our first recipient, Mario Enero exemplifies all of those qualities and more.  He took a chance on a young and unproven little ski town over 20 years ago and managed to create two amazing establishments with La Rua and Caramba. His warm and charming demeanor matched the flair, style and genuine hospitality of both his locations.  We could not be more proud, or more delighted, to honour Mario as our very first inductee into the RAW Hall of Fame,” said Amy Huddle, president of the Restaurant Association of Whistler.
Restaurant Association of Whistler first-ever inductee Mario Enero

Restaurant Association of Whistler first-ever inductee Mario Enero


The Restaurant Association of Whistler Hall of Fame was established to give recognition to individuals in the hospitality industry who have made significant contributions to the Whistler restaurant community. Enero, a former Spanish bullfighter with a passion for both hospitality and fine cuisine, has been at the forefront of British Columbia’s elite dining scene for some 35 years. Enero’s global sensibilities and enduring yet unpretentious style inspired a distinctive brand of culinary fusion.

In the words of Keeley Higgins, former manager of La Rua and Caramba, “Good food, good service, good people…Mario is a patriarch in Whistler’s culinary and hospitality scene because of simple principles and a gift for sharing his experience and passion with the community and those who work with him.”

The Hall of Fame ceremony will take place on Thursday November 10th prior to Cornucopia’s 20th Anniversary Party at The Picnic: A Celebration of Whistler Culinary Excellence.

Cornucopia would like to extend our greatest of congratulations to both Mario Enero and the Restaurant Association of Whistler and also thank both for your great contribution to the spirit of Whistler and its culinary excellence.

The 20th Anniversary Top 20


For a festival celebrating its 20th anniversary, it’s apropos that a record number of wines were submitted for consideration in Cornucopia’s annual top wines awards.

With 167 exceptional wines on the table, determining the winners of Cornucopia’s 20th Anniversary Top 20 Competition was not for the faint of heart (or palate). DJ Kearney, international wine educator, wine writer, festival presenter and head judge, led the diverse panel of experts from Whistler and Vancouver. Each judge is recognized as a leader in their field within the B.C. food and wine industry, and includes wine directors, wine instructors, food and wine writers, sommeliers and restaurateurs. The panel gathered for the day in a blind tasting session at Whistler’s Quattro Restaurant on September 19.

“To receive 167 high-caliber entries is an indication of the festival’s stature among B.C.’s wine and food festivals,” says DJ Kearney, Cornucopia Top 20 chief judge. “With the finalists reduced to 20 wines in honour of Cornucopia’s 20th anniversary, it was even harder than usual to determine the best of the best. Don’t think I’m complaining, though — I led a crack team of Whistler and Vancouver experts who fearlessly blind tasted and evaluated the record number of entries on-site in Whistler. I’m looking forward to seeing the crowds arrive for the festival and make their own discoveries among the blockbuster lineup of wines at this year’s event.”

With characteristics such as colour, aroma, flavour and finish taken into evaluation; the scores were tallied and the top 20 wines were chosen.  Judges were put to the test.  Paul Street, VP of Food and Beverage for Whistler Blackcomb was one of the 14 on the panel. “It was an honour to judge the Cornucopia Top 20 under DJ Kearney, with such an experienced panel of judges from both Whistler and Vancouver. The wines were excellent, and I was pleased to see such a great mix of domestic and international wines represented. It’s too bad we couldn’t have awarded more of the wines, but this leaves more opportunity for discovery by Cornucopia attendees!”

Eric Blouin, judge and Cornucopia Ambassador agreed, “It is so great to be able to host this competition here in Whistler with a full Whistler hospitality crew on the tasting panel. With a record 167 wines submitted, you can definitely see that there’s some excitement in the industry for Cornucopia’s 20th Anniversary.”

Eric Griffith, of Whistler’s Alta Bistro noted, “The tasting was set up professionally with DJ Kearney overseeing to allow for a blind tasting and it was a real test to taste so many wines systematically and assess their merits in a short time.  The panels were moderated very well and the tasting groups were able to focus in on the wines which were the best in the flights – there was a lot of agreement concerning the the best of each grouping and which wines were considered for the Top 20.  I felt that our group did a good job finding the best, no wines that weren’t meant to be top were left behind.  The wines voted into the Top 20 are definitely worth finding and buying for enjoyment this Fall at Cornucopia!”

As in previous years, the judges recognized the Top 20 wines and awarded three wines as the Top Bubble, Top White and Top Red.

Without further ado, the Top 20 wines for 2016 are:

Top Bubble – Haywire The BUB 2014
Top White – Quails’ Gate Stewart Family Reserve Chardonnay 2014
Top Red – Kaiken Reserva Malbec 2013

Best of the Rest, in alphabetical order:

  • Barossa Valley Estate Shiraz 2014
  • Black Hills Nota Bene 2014
  • C.C. Jentsch Cellars Cabernet Merlot 2014
  • C.C. Jentsch Cellars Syrah 2014
  • Ceretto Barolo DOCG 2011
  • Ceretto Langhe DOC Arneis Blangé
  • Chateau Ste. Michelle Columbia Valley Riesling 2014
  • Culmina Family Estate Winery Dilemma 2014
  • Foxtrot Vineyards Foxtrot Vineyard Pinot Noir 2013
  • Hardys William Hardy Shiraz 2014
  • Harper’s Trail Pioneer Block Dry Riesling 2014
  • Howard Park Miamup Cabernet Sauvignon 2012
  • Mascota Vineyards Unanime 2012
  • Pegau Plan VSIG
  • Tantalus Chardonnay 2014
  • Villa Maria Taylors Pass Vineyard Chardonnay 2013
  • Villa Maria Taylors Pass Vineyard Pinot Noir 2012

Cornucopia participants can congratulate the winners and sample these wines during the festival at Crush Grand Tasting, and Cornucopia Trade Tasting (exclusive to industry professionals).

An enormous thank you to Cornucopia’s expert judges:

  • DK Kearney, Head Judge
  • Andre St. Jacques
  • Daenna Van Mulligen
  • David Brownridge
  • Eric Blouin
  • Eric Griffith
  • Geoff Weddell
  • Joanne DiGeso
  • Kurtis Kolt
  • Luc Trottier
  • Michael Kompass
  • Olivia Halla
  • Paul Street
  • Samantha Rahn
Judges Daenna Van Mulligen, Geoff Weddell and Michael Kompass Photo: Julie Zoney


Flight of White at the Top 20. Photo: Julie Zoney

Where Culinary Minds Meet

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.

Loving Local Honey: How Sweet-Hearted Foodies Can Save The Planet, One Jar At A Time.

by Lisa Richardson

“Your average consumer is curious about colony collapse, or honey’s health benefits. But serious foodies are the only ones asking about fake honey.” ~ Bruce Boynton, CEO of the US National Honey Board. 

You just have to learn a little bit about honey to realize it’s a true culinary marvel, but it takes a foodie, it seems, to appreciate that this rare delicacy is in danger.

Across the world, honey is being cut with corn syrup, or adulterated with illegal Chinese honey, or even packaged and counterfeited as a different type of honey altogether. It doesn’t help that the bees themselves are in peril – dying off in unprecedented numbers.

Which is why the beekeepers of the BC, including throughout the Sea to Sky, are perhaps the most important people in our entire local food chain. After all, in a world without bees, there’s not much left to eat. To say nothing of honey, which may truly be the most underrated foodstuff on earth. Just ask the pharaohs. They were entombed with it. And because of the marvellous bacteria-proof nature of the stuff, when they peeled back the wax seal on the honeycomb, the honey found in Egyptian tombs was still edible. It hadn’t gone bad, because honey doesn’t go bad.  It’s that good.

Delores Los is one of Pemberton’s most experienced bee keepers.

As a young Outdoor Ed teacher in Squamish, she was asked to take on the care of the school’s hives. Knowing nothing about bees, she sought out a local expert, the late Orval Van Horlick, of Paradise Valley, one of Squamish’s pioneers, who took her under his wing. When she later moved up to teach at the Pemberton Outdoor School, she set up hives and kept bees there for 15 years.

40 years after that first entree into bee-keeping, she has eight hives of her own, housing, at the height of summer, almost 800,000 bees.

When she realized that a new generation of young bee keepers was coming to the craft – inspired in part by the media attention given to colony collapse disorder – she initiated a beekeepers association in Pemberton, which now has 23 members, from 80 year old veterans to complete rookies, sharing know-how, and building a stronger bee-keeping community.

This July, Mark Winston, bee expert and the award-winning author of Bee Time: Lessons from the Hive, reported that BC bees are thriving, with the lowest colony winter losses in North America –  a resilience due partly to the high level of expertise among local bee keepers, and partly because the bee colonies tend to be smaller, local, and less industrial here.

He’s also noted a shift in bee-keeping, over his 40 years in the craft, since the advent of the bee apocalypse. “A typical local meeting of bee-keepers used to have ten crotchety men over the age of 70.” Now, even for a local meeting, hundreds of people, including young people and women, are in the crowd. “People care about bees. And the new wave of beekeepers also care about food, and growing local, and many put bee health first, emphasizing the enjoyment of beekeeping as much or more as maximizing colony productivity. It’s a movement deeply rooted in an expanding food culture that favors local farming and reductions of synthetic pesticide and fertilizer use.”

It’s a trend that the Fairmont Hotels & Resorts embraced, placing honeybee hives on rooftop gardens and installing wild bee “hotels”, throughout their hotels from 2008. The Fairmont Chateau Whistler installed four beehives in 2013, expanding to 12 hives last year, which house between 180,000 and 300,000 bees each year. With the help of honeybee keeper Steve Gourley, of Gold Strike Honey, (a Squamish and Whistler Farmers’ Market regular) who checks in on them weekly, the Fairmont’s bees produce about 180 kg/400 lbs of delicate wildflower honey every season, for use by the Chef and mixology team.

Photo: Rob Miller / Fairmont Chateau Whistler

Gourley actually relocated his own bees to Lillooet, from the Fraser Valley where he was grown and raised, in 2012, in search of a less contaminated ecosystem. “We decided to take a leap of faith and come up and try and produce honey in a cleaner environment.” It worked. “They look amazing now.”

In Gourley’s ideal world, every ditch would be full of flowers and every yard would be full of dandelions.

And every table, no doubt, would feature authentic local honey.

They can’t do it alone. They might have millions of bees on their side, but they need us, too, to swell their ranks, be loud for local, devour their honey, and revel in imperfect clover-covered lawns.

Writer Lisa Richardson has been lovingly awarded Pemberton’s favourite writer award 7 years running. Cornucopia’s favourite local food writer, Lisa is currently also senior writer for Coast Mountain Culture magazine, editor of the Winds of Change’s Wellness Almanac and columnist in the Whistler Question.  

For more about living locally and living sustainably, check out Cornucopia’s fresh ideas at Nourish – our series dedicated to action and play in the world and in the kitchen.

Photos: Photo: Rob Miller / Fairmont Chateau Whistler

Announcing The Inaugural Cornucopia Wine Summit

What is remarkable about each and every year of Cornucopia is the sheer number of passionate, knowledgable people from all over the world that gather in one place at one time.

And because that gathering typically pulls together some of the most thoughtful and interesting people in the world of food and wine, there was an occasion to make a whole that is much more than the sum of its parts.

Such was the inspiration behind launching Cornucopia’s brand new initiative, The Cornucopia Wine Summit.  With keynote speaker Dr. Jamie Goode and hosted by Michaela Morris, the Cornucopia Wine Summit is an industry forum for leaders, thinkers and wine industry professionals to exchange, debate and celebrate.  The Cornucopia Wine Summit brings together experts and topics relevant to the wine industry and its changing landscape, in a setting where those who have a common interest can share and debate.  Get Jamie’s outside perspective on BC wine, learn the latest news on topics such as inter-provincial trade and sub-appellations, and be a part of the great debate on the future of BC wine. Plus much more. Marking 20 years of Cornucopia, this Summit will combine great speakers, hot topics, food and wine in a thought provoking forum that is not to be missed.

The Summit is for anyone interested in the ins and outs of the industry.  Its for those who want to talk about wine in a deep, political and technical way in a setting that revels in the grit, the geek, the minutia, the debate, and the heat and soul.  It’s for those committed to their businesses and who need to stay on top of what’s shifting in a constantly changing environment.  It’s for those who want to have a say, know more and be a part of the future. And its also for those who want to raise a glass and say cheers to everything that has been accomplished so far and for what’s to come.

And besides? Where better to have a Summit than in the mountains? The Cornucopia Wine Summit is our birthday present to ourselves and we want to welcome you to the party.  See you in November