The man behind one of Whistler's most iconic fine dining establishments wants the Bearfoot Bistro to be known for more than just exquisite seasonal fare.
And for anyone who's ever been in the luxurious confines of Bearfoot's Listel Hotel location, you soon realize the restaurant is about the experience as much as it is the culinary journey.
"Bearfoot has lots of bells and whistles, we get a lot of traction from that," said Bearfoot founder André St. Jacques. "From the nitro ice cream to the coldest vodka room in the world, the champagne sabering, the nitro martinis, the open kitchen and the tastings that (Executive Chef) Melissa Craig does, we're very blessed. We get lots of recognition that way and without a doubt it always helps us."
Now a prestigious group of chefs, restaurateurs and food journalists have taken note as well, highlighting Bearfoot as a must-see culinary destination as part of The Diners Club Global Selections series, which recognizes restaurants from around the globe that received votes on the annual World's Best Restaurants list, but didn't crack the top 50.
Bearfoot was the only B.C. restaurant honoured for the USA Mid and Canada region, and voters took note of more than just Craig's elegant approach in the kitchen.
"Far more than just a bistro, Bearfoot is a hedonist's playground in the ski resort of Whistler, comprising a fine dining restaurant, Champagne lounge, patio and vodka bar made of ice," read The Diners Club selection.
Voters pointed to Craig's originality, combining B.C. game and seafood with international delicacies to create one-of-a-kind dishes that take diners "on a culinary adventure."
"Canadian lobster, oysters, caviar and foie gras are all specialties, while the five-course menu kicks off with tuna tataki, thai basil and sesame pesto, and leads on to Australian rack of lamb with ras el hanout, textures of carrot and Israeli couscous," the selection continued.
The Diners Club also picked pastry chef Domenic Fortin's delicate confit quince and ice apple cider millefeuille with salted caramel chiboust cream mascarpone sorbet as the menu's standout dish, and complimented the Quebec City native's innovation in the kitchen.
Although Bearfoot is no stranger to industry accolades, the exposure gained by the The Diners Club selection is hard to top. Just ask Craig, whose phone has apparently been chiming non-stop since the award was announced last week.
Just another day in the life when you're the brains behind one of Whistler's most beloved culinary experiences.