There’s a chef in Spain who is the
Mick Jagger of the cooking world. Chefs swoon in his presence and await his
next move with parted lips and bated breath. Customers wait for years to pay
hundreds of dollars for meals that include gold-plated egg yolks, cherries
wrapped in ham fat, crepes made of nothing but milk, and foamed beetroot.
There are the TV personality chefs
and big-time authors, bamming this and bamming that, or suggestively licking
the sauce off their fingers and transforming cooking demos into escapades that
are more about eroticism and bedroom goings-on than anything you can find in
Then there’s Rolf Gunther.
Rolf is the chef/co-owner and
creative force in the kitchen at Rimrock Café. It’s a 25-year-old success story
that, despite or perhaps because of, its out-of-the-way location has become a
Whistler icon. For in some inexplicable way, Rimrock has distilled and captured
a quintessential essence of “Whistler” while delivering a mighty fine dining
experience at the same time.
Touted by many as the best restaurant
have voted it “Best of Whistler” four years in a row, Rimrock has been
commended by culinary bastions like
overall excellence. Movie stars hear about it and try to squeeze in a visit,
even when the place is sold out. Sometimes the likes of Bill Murray and Danny
DeVito get in — and sometimes they’re just plain out of luck.
So Rolf has every reason to start his
own show on the Food Network or pump out designer cookbooks and go on
cross-country tours. After all, he has all the credentials: culinary training
at the four-star Park Hotel in Germany’s Black Forest region, and experience in
fine restaurants from Basel, Switzerland to Berlin before delivering the goods
But he can’t. Because Rolf is the
original anti-celebrity chef.
You likely know somebody like him
yourself — one of those people who hates putting him- or herself in the
spotlight, even in a modest, neighbourly kind of way. As his business partner
Bob Dawson puts it, some people don’t even know who Rolf is, and he’s been
around for decades.
“We just don’t care about a lot of
the things that are going on out there. We just keep doing what we do,” says
Rolf on a crisp autumn afternoon before leaving on a holiday to Maui.