Page 2 of 3
"Much more support of regional suppliers, or even provincial. So much more availability of cheeses from B.C., more emphasis on quality wines by smaller producers, more emphasis on local meats and poultry, more interest in local vegetables much more of a presence than there is now," he says.
"Instead of Whistler being, to some degree, representative of the food trends of the world, it could help it become more of a culinary destination where people are focusing on local, seasonal, high quality foods."
In years of floundering tourist numbers, could such an approach create new business opportunities if Whistler re-branded itself with a new local identity?
"Absolutely," says Sinclair.
He cites San Cassiano in the Val Gardena area of northern Italy, which is known for top-rated restaurants specializing in high mountain foods of the region.
"People go not only for skiing or for mountain climbing in the summer, but these restaurants are a major draw for that area. Its become a culinary destination," he says.
These restaurants are not part of the slow food movement per se. More importantly, says Sinclair, they serve only the mountain foods of that area so that every dish is local, soundly trouncing the kind of tiresome, low-quality ingredients and trendy styles that can be found virtually anywhere.
But change like this doesnt happen overnight. If you want new ideas to take root, you plant them at home. Serendipitously, slow food concepts also get embedded in the community at a more personal level.
"The ordinary consumer at home gains a deeper understanding of where, within that community, food comes from and what makes a difference in quality, and how we can develop something sustainable in terms of foods being available for them," says Sinclair.
"By that I dont just mean that we support organic growers and those sorts of things. But also that people have enough understanding of how to use the ingredients so they will be able to find the ingredients next year and work with them properly for home use, parties or whatever purpose.
"Part of it is more groups of people or families dining together as they understand how slow food can help facilitate that."
Excellent food, conviviality, sustainability does this sound like your Whistler?
Putting your money where your mouth is