Chef Hawksworth Raising His Game For 10th Annual Culinary AdventureMarch 23, 2016 | 5112 Views
The problem with setting stratospherically high standards in any endeavour is how to go about “improving” upon them in the future. How do you break the two-hour barrier in a marathon? How do you better an undefeated season? How do you shoot a lower round than 59?
One could argue that Chef David Hawksworth is facing such a challenge. How do you improve upon an event that is arguably the most unique and extraordinary culinary experience offered anywhere in North America?
This would be the annual David Hawksworth & Friends Culinary Adventure, during which 42 guests of The West Coast Fishing Club are whisked by helicopters to one of the most remote regions of Canada’s Pacific coast to take in master chef cooking demonstrations, food and wine servings to tempt the Gods, and a side plate of the world’s best Salmon fishing. But Vancouver’s best-known chef and restaurateur is determined to raise his game even higher in anticipation of the 10th anniversary edition July 17-21 at The Clubhouse.
Although he remains non-committal about specifics, Hawksworth has tipped his hand as to who will be among this year’s roster of celebrity guest chefs. Notably, he has looked farther afield than ever before – the other side of the Atlantic to be specific – in his quest to entice other internationally revered friends to take part in what is shaping up to be a global summit meeting of culinary artistry.
One of the headliners is England’s Valentine Warner, who trained as a portrait painter before putting down the brush to pick up the spoon. He worked in London restaurants for eight years under such chefs as Alastair Little and Rose Cararina, before setting up a prestigious private catering company, Green Pea. A keen outdoorsman, Valentine can often be found seeking new adventures outside the kitchen, and in particular, fishing. He is also a prolific author of best-selling cookbooks, a sought-after magazine contributor, and a well-known BBC television personality, hosting and appearing in a number of popular culinary series, including Hook It Cook It, and Valentine Warner’s Wild Table: Canada (Fox).
Another of this year’s guest chefs is no longer a Londoner, but BC-born Derek Dammann tasted great success during his time in England, culminating in becoming a business partner with the nation’s number one culinary export, Jamie Oliver. After several years of working in some of the finest restaurants in Victoria, BC, Dammann eventually ended up in London where he landed a job at Oliver’s restaurant, Fifteen. Four years later, he returned to Canada to run Oliver’s North American catering business. Nostalgic for the pubs of London, he later joined forces with Oliver to create a neighbourhood tavern concept, which is now Montreal’s Maison Publique, currently ranked 11th by Canada’s Best 100 Restaurants for 2016.
Speaking of finer food emporiums of Montreal, executive chef and owner of Toque!, Normand Laprise has accepted Chef Hawksworth’s invitation to take part in this year’s adventure for a second consecutive year. A Relais & Château Grand Chef and award-winning cookbook author who trained in the Burgundy region of France, Laprise was well-received by participants at last year’s event for his affable personality and presentation flare. Rounding out the list of Hawksworth’s friends at this year’s 10th annual is Dino Renaerts. The partner and executive chef of Vancouver’s prestigious Bon Vivant Group, Renaerts is an avid angler who has made numerous appearances in previous years.
Then of course there is Hawksworth himself, who on the final evening will prepare a signature dinner in the trademark manner which has made him one of the most recognized names in Canadian restaurant history. A long-time friend of The West Coast Fishing Club, Chef Hawksworth has been extra busy of late, creating new menus for Air Canada’s renowned International Business Class service, not to mention the imminent launch of a new restaurant. Set to open later this spring in the Coal Harbour region of downtown Vancouver, Nightingale is part of the Hawksworth Restaurant Group, which includes namesake Hawksworth Restaurant, Bel Café and Hawksworth Catering.
With sommelier extraordinaire Mark Davidson also back for 2016, the table is already set for a magnum opus of gastronomy. Stir in The Clubhouse executive chef Shaun Snelling and you have an all-star roster such that few conventional dining rooms have ever seen, let alone one located in the extreme northwestern reaches of Canada.
Typically sold out months in advance, The David Hawksworth and Friends Culinary Adventure is today the most popular attraction on The West Coast Fishing Club’s special events calendar. For the past 10 years it has symbolized The Club’s commitment to differentiating its offerings to the global sport-fishing community by ensuring premium standards of food and wine as part of its overall five-star approach to guest service. One of the by-products of the Culinary Adventure’s profile and popularity has been the recruitment of some of Canada’s best and brightest young chefs to the kitchen staff at all three lodges, along with frequent special guest appearances by some of the nation’s most well-known names, including Vikram Vij, Jamie Kennedy and Anthony Walsh.
More recently, The Club’s well-earned place in the upper echelon of Canada’s culinary industry has resulted in a partnership with Canada’s Best 100 Restaurants. As a result, The Clubhouse will invariably welcome many more of the top chefs from Canada and beyond for special guest appearances throughout the season and during other culinary themed trips.
Anyone seeking to release their inner chef amid the stunning marine wilderness of Langara Island is advised to reserve their spots now for 2017.
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