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Chefs Choice: Shelley Adams



Without Whistler there would be no Whitewater cookbooks.

Author and chef Shelley Adams, whose latest book Whitewater Cooks with Passion joins three other bestsellers under the "Whitewater Cooks" name, lived in Whistler until she was 28.

Actually, she shuttled between the resort and Vancouver, working as a caterer and head chef for Real Appetites.

Then love hit faster than you can say "soufflé".

"Whistler is where it all began. I was a caterer and I met a boy, a cute boy in a red ski uniform in Whistler Mountain Ski School. And the rest is history," Adams said. "I followed him to Nelson where he got the job as the manager of Whitewater (Resort)."

The couple ended up buying the Kootenays resort, with Adams operating Whitewater's Fresh Tracks Café. With skiers continually asking for recipes, she thought there might be a book in it — and a foodie franchise was born.

Her new book joins Whitewater Cooks with Friends, Whitewater Cooks: Pure, Simple and Real, and Whitewater Cooks at Home.

The couple sold the resort five years ago, but still call Nelson home.

"It's basically the same sort of idea as my earlier books, delicious, easy recipes that I know people will make. I have the same theory; I collect, invent in my kitchen, read about, get recipes from my friends," Adams said.

"This book has a breakfast section, which I've never had before. It also has quite a few vegan and vegetarian and really healthy recipes."

Adams is one of three cookbook authors coming to this year's Whistler Writers Festival (WWF) for an event called Tasting the Divine: Cooks with Books. It is billed as a fun, social event where participants can meet the chefs, have a glass of wine and enjoy appetizers found in their books. Adams is joined by Lisa Ahier (SoBo cookbook) and Eric Arrouzé (A Gourmand in Training).

This event takes place on Friday, Oct. 17 at 6:15 p.m. at Millennium Place. Tickets cost $12 and can be purchased at

Adams is very excited about being a participant at the festival.

"I want to go to the self-publishing and marketing session (which takes place on Friday, Oct. 17). I'm really keen. And, of course I want to see Joseph Boyden (in conversation at the festival on Saturday, Oct. 18)," she says. "I'm really thrilled. I'm going to spend the whole weekend listening to whoever I can."

It's the first time a cookbook author night has taken place at the WWF in 13 years.

"How can you go wrong? It's the welcoming evening and it includes snacks. There are appetizers and wine and a few cookbooks you could buy if you wanted to," said Adams.

She said her style grew out of the resort culture, which makes her books popular in B.C. on so many levels.

"There are so many people who use my books, I am so thrilled. I get emails all the time from backcountry lodges and fishing charters and little cafés. I've been in a little town, gone into a café and seen a sign that says, 'Whitewater granola bars,'" Adams said. "I love that. It really is all about sharing recipes. I've just tried to collect really good recipes, tweak them and share them."

Whitewater Cooks with Passion is ultimately about bringing all sorts of eaters together. The recipe she has shared is from this latest book.

"Everybody who has big families or groups of friends have a vegan in the crowd, I find. Often there are vegetarians and then there are the meat eaters," she said. "The book is funny; on one page there is a mushroom nut meatloaf in miso gravy, which is totally vegan, totally delicious. Then you flip the page and there is crispy pork belly with quince sauce and cinnamon yams.."

Asked if she has ever considered making products to sell in stores, Adams lets a delicious secret out.

"I'm about to release four bottled sauces. I'm about three weeks from being finished, after two years' work," she says.

There will be a glory bowl dressing, honey-curry vinaigrette, miso marinade and a maple balsamic vinaigrette.

The sauces will be available in Whistler and Vancouver from mid-November.

Red Velvet Beet Cupcakes with Raspberry Icing

Red Velvet Cakes are all the rage and this one is super healthy, delicious and has vegan options. Makes 12 large cupcakes or one 9" round layer cake


¾ cup (398 ml) canned or fresh cooked peeled beets, pureed in food processor

½ cup vegetable oil

¼ cup buttermilk or almond milk

3 tbsp sour cream or applesauce

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

2 eggs (for vegan – 2 tbsp ground flax seed in 6 tbsp water)

¾ cup flour or rice flour

2/3 cup sugar or cane sugar

½ cup cocoa powder, sifted

1 tsp baking powder

½ tsp baking soda

½ tsp salt


Preheat oven to 350°F.

Beat together beets, oil, buttermilk, sour cream, balsamic vinegar and eggs until well mixed.

Blend dry ingredients together in a separate bowl.

Add dry ingredients to wet and blend until well mixed, about 2-3 minutes.

Grease cupcake tin or line with baking cups.

Spoon batter into cupcake tin.

Bake for 15 – 20 minutes until skewer inserted comes out clean.

Ice when completely cooled.


½ cup butter, room temperature

1 cup cream cheese, room temperature

3 cups icing sugar, sifted

3 tbsp frozen raspberries, thawed and drained

Place butter in food processor and blend until smooth.

Add cream cheese and process until butter and cream cheese are smooth.

Add icing sugar in two batches.

Add raspberries and process until smooth.

Spread on cupcakes.

Vegan Icing

1 cup frozen raspberries, thawed and drained

½ cup cashew pieces, soaked in 1 cup water for at least 30 minutes and drained

2 tbsp maple syrup

¼ cup coconut oil, melted

Combine raspberries, cashews and maple syrup in food processor until smooth.

Add melted coconut oil and blend again.

Pour into a shallow bowl and chill for a minimum of 2 hours.

Pipe or spread on cupcakes.

You can also make a lovely cake with this recipe. Pour batter into a 9 inch round cake pan and bake for 30-35 minutes.

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