Local restaurants aren't the only ones capitalizing on the spring shoulder season with great deals to entice people out to dine.
The thing is, you can get great deals and dine in too.
Antipasti Catering, through its personal chef services, has a tasty spring special on offer for the next two months. It's $45 per person-plated, plus the personal chef fees.
Chef Chris Szewczyk said it's time to forget the shopping list, the prep work, the cooking while you entertain. Forget the stack of dirty pots and pans afterwards. Don't worry about making reservations and getting the kids ready to dine out.
He has the answer to your cooking and entertaining woes.
He will bring the fresh ingredients to your house, or hotel suite, or somewhere else on-site and take over in the kitchen. No stress. No mess.
"It allows our clients to focus on entertaining and spending quality time with their guests and family and friends," said Szewczyk.
The spring special has a little something for everyone: your choice of appetizers, from the antipasti platter, to Sambuca prawns with a herb butter sauce, or quinoa salad with fire roasted pepper, baby spinach and bocconcini. The choices continue through the mains: blackened halibut, or beef tenderloin with goat cheese butter, or risotto with gorgonzola and cremini mushroom.
And for desserts? Molten chocolate with caramel and sea salt, a warm mixed berry crumble with gelato, or a chocolate cheesecake brownie with berry compote.
This spring menu is a set menu but choices still abound.
"We're happy to customize a menu with our clients if there's something more specific they want to see served," he said.
"We're serving restaurant-quality cuisine prepared by professional chefs using old-world cooking techniques and modern methods."
Szewczyk learned those old-world cooking techniques growing up in an Italian household in Timmins, a small town in northern Ontario. He is a second generation Canadian. And not to take away from his Polish roots too (his dad is Polish), it was the Italian side that often dominated in the kitchen.
And so, those traditional cooking techniques, like making pasta from scratch, were commonplace in his childhood home.
"My family embraced the old-world cooking," he said. "That's what I was really raised on."
It's these traditions that he carries on in his Italian inspired cuisine.
Szewczyk is a long-term local, who came to Whistler more than 22 years ago.
His is a familiar story.
"I came out to do some snowboarding on vacation and here we are 22 years later!"
A few years ago he started Antipasti Catering.
In addition to his personal chef services, he also does catering for events, business luncheons, dinner parties, cocktail evenings, or any special occasions.
He creates family style take home meals, pre-cooked with easy re-heating instructions as well.
And he's doing this from Pemberton to Vancouver, though his home base remains in Whistler.
To learn more about Antipasti Catering go to antipasticatering.com. The spring special runs until June 21. After that Szewczyk will be creating another personal-chef menu. He keeps his ideas and choices fresh every three or four months.Wild Morel Mushroom Risotto with Shaved Asiago
6 cups mushroom stock or chicken stock
3 tbsp olive oil (divided – see method)
1 lb wild morels (preferably hand-picked)
2 shallots, diced
1½ cups Arborio rice
½ cup dry white wine
sea salt to taste
fresh ground black pepper
3 tbsp finely chopped chives
4 tbsp butter
½ cup freshly shaved asiago cheese
In a saucepan, warm the stock over low heat.
Warm two tablespoons olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Stir in morels and cook until soft (about three minutes). Remove mushrooms and their liquid, set aside.
Add one tablespoon olive oil to skillet and stir in shallots over medium heat. Cook for one minute. Add rice, stirring to coat with oil for two minutes. When rice has taken on a pale, golden colour, pour white wine, stirring constantly until the wine is fully absorbed.
Continue on medium heat and add ½ cup of stock to the rice and stir until the stock is absorbed. Continue adding stock ½ cup at a time, stirring continuously until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is al dente (about 15-20 minutes).
Remove from heat and stir in morels with their liquid, add butter, chives, shaved Asiago. Season with sea salt and fresh ground pepper.