At the corner of Main Street and Northlands Boulevard there's an opportunity to step out of Whistler and into Germany.
Angela Ruffer, who was born in Munich, launched the restaurant with her husband Joel Thibault in 2000.
When Thibault passed away in 2005, Ruffer had some tough decisions to make. She was operating a successful property management company and tried for a bit to run both businesses. When she decided it was too much to run both she opted to stick with the German restaurant.
She hasn't looked back, carrying on with her late husband's passion for fine European food.
She recently promoted Jordan White to the position of head chef.
White's resume includes an impressive list of food outlets in Whistler from Dusty's (where he served nachos to Robert Redford) to La Rúa and a few stops in between.
A month after he started at Bavaria, the top job opened up and Ruffer offered him the chance to move from his work as a sous chef to the top job. His first mission: buy closer to home.
"I'm sick of buying fruit from Peru," he says while seated at the bar writing out his favourite summer salad recipe. An artisan greens salad with duck breast was added to the menu as a special at the beginning of summer. The salad is now a regular item in a new, simplified menu that features more local produce than ever before at Bavaria.
"I like to buy from the Fraser Valley, Lillooet, Pemberton," says the new chef of his shift to choosing more locally sourced food. "It's a European-based menu. There's a lot of game and things like that but in the hot months we're trying to keep it light."
Bavaria, of course, offers the traditional German favourites like fondue, Schnitzel, cheese and chocolate.
White loves his German-inspired salad featuring mainly local ingredients: gem lettuce and Fraser Valley duck.
His appreciation for food is matched by his love of music. He's as well known for his music as he is for his work in the kitchen. White is one of the members of the legendary Whistler rockers called She Stole My Beer and he leads the group Sweaty Cheddar.
For now, he's focused more on lettuce, arugula and watercress than his keyboards.
"I kept it as simple as possible and it's super light and the nice thing about the watercress and the arugula is that it is bitter and the dressing is a little bit sweet so it contrasts nicely — and you've got the salty, crispy skin duck," he says of the duck salad receiving rave reviews from customers. "I serve it warm rather than hot. I cook the duck then let it rest for 10, 15, 20 minutes. I could even eat the duck cold. We'll serve it warm on the salad but cold duck is great."
He calls the salad a spin on Duck a l'Orange.
"The orange is very forward and there's actually orange segments in the salad as well," says White.
When it comes to choosing a wine, White thinks out loud and lists a few. He's not really truly satisfied with any of the pairings he's suggesting. Then there's a realization that he's working in the wrong beverage type.
"Or a beer," he says perking up on his barstool. "Whistler Grapefruit! It would go great with a pint of freezing cold Whistler Grapefruit Lager."
It just makes sense with everything White is trying to accomplish with Ruffer at Bavaria. The salad has citrus, the beverage has citrus and it brings home the new emphasis on purchasing as close to home as possible.
White's wine choices, for those who prefer wine to beer, include any wine from Alsace, dry Riesling or Sauvignon Blanc.
Ruffer jumps into the discussion to point out that municipal workers recently cleaned up the pétanque court just off the deck at Bavaria. She says she has pétanque balls at the restaurant for anyone who wants to get a game in after enjoying the duck salad.
White recommends a slice of apple strudel after the match to wrap up the Whistler trip through the German region of Bavaria.
Green salad with duck breast
- Gem lettuce
Candied pistachio nuts
Toss pistachio nuts with honey and bake 5 min at 375 degrees on parchment paper. Let cool
- 1 tsp Dijon
- 1 tsp brown sugar
- 1 shallot
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 orange
- 1 cup orange juice
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- ½ cup pistachio nuts
- ½ cup olive oil
- sea salt
- fresh ground pepper
- fresh thyme
- Blend dressing ingredients until smooth
1 duck breast
Sear skin side down until crispy (6 min)
Cook other side 3 min
Let rest 10 to 20 min
Slice thinly, lay on salad
Top salad with candied pistachio nuts