It’s a beautiful place to call “the office” — long tables set with polished silver and stemware perched atop crisp table linens, all set against the serene backdrop of Green Lake. The dining room is essentially all windows, so, on a beautiful summer day like this, sunlight streams in, and there’s a faint breeze off the water coming in through the open doors that lead out to the patio, which is surrounded by lush gardens.
This is my first visit to the Edgewater Lodge, a popular lakeside retreat, tucked away and off the beaten path. I’ve come to check out the venue, and chat with the man who has recently taken over their culinary creations, Chris Shiner.
Originally from Brookside, Nova Scotia, Shiner moved to Whistler in 1998. He isn’t a stranger to living in tourist towns, either. Before Whistler, he lived and worked in Victoria, just outside of Banff, and Blue River.
Shiner grew up in a household that appreciated different types of cuisine, so food was always of interest to him.
“My mom grew up in an old-school meat and potatoes family, so she hated it… so they’d cook anything out of magazines, something new all the time,” Shiner said.
But it wasn’t until he went to work at a summer camp at the age of 16 that he had his first taste of cooking for others. There, he whipped up breakfast for 200 hungry kids, plus camp favourites, like grilled cheese sandwiches, en masse.
A lot’s changed since his days as a cook at a camp.
Shiner went on to train with a Swiss master chef and worked for a local catering company until 2002, when he decided to strike out on his own and start a personal chef business, Chris’ Cuisine, which saw him going into some of the larger chalets in town to prepare gourmet meals. Through that job, Shiner ended up cooking for the women’s national ski team for the last few years.
“I have an artistic background and a bit of a science background, so it’s good,” Shiner said. “It lets you work with your hands and be artistic, but at the same time, there’s a lot of logic involved.”
He also enjoys teaching, and thrives in the busy dynamic of the kitchen.
Now, he’s the man responsible for the cuisine at one of Whistler’s hidden fine dining gems.
“I get to be in the kitchen doing most of the cooking myself… and my wife was tired of me driving Snowcat,” he added with a laugh.