Droves of foodies from far and wide have made the pilgrimage to Pemberton to get their mitts on a legendary burger from Mile One Eating House.
But chef and proprietor Randy Jones could soon be putting the iconic Spud Valley eatery on the map for a dish you won't regularly find on the menu after it was selected to take part in next month's Vancouver Aquarium Chowder Chowdown.
Jones' dish was chosen from dozens of recipes submitted by other Ocean Wise-certified restaurants from across B.C., pitting the cozy eatery against a veritable who's who of the Vancouver culinary scene.
"To see Mile One Eating House next to some of those big names that are there, with the large upscale hotels and some of the top restaurants in Vancouver competing, it's just a really cool thing," Jones said.
"By definition of our location and the casual offerings we do, for sure I'd say we are (the underdog), but we love good food just like they do and I think that's what matters with something like this."
The recipe Jones crafted is not your run-of-the-mill chowder, featuring sustainably fished albacore tuna loin, Pemberton potatoes, onion, arugula and fresh peas, garnished with wild mushrooms and a touch of aged white cheddar, lending it a hearty, creamy quality that mimics the flavours found in the restaurant's popular Nerka 1 mac and cheese dish, named after the fishing vessel Jones sources his tuna from.
"Some of the flavour profiles from the mac and cheese really fit into a chowder with its creamy richness. So we'll take away the pasta and take it in a bit of a different direction," Jones said.
"When we approached the recipe portion of the competition, I felt that we had to do something that just wasn't your everyday clam chowder or smoked salmon chowder."
Considering the last 12 months Mile One has had — the burger joint was featured on the Food Network's You've Gotta Eat Here, in the Los Angeles Times and Powder Magazine, to name but a few of its recent accolades — it should come as no surprise that Jones and his team are now rubbing elbows with some of the elite chefs of British Columbia. For Jones and his wife Cindy Yu, the increased exposure is a welcome, albeit slightly overwhelming development that they credit to their dedicated staff working day in and day out to make Mile One the darling of Pemberton's culinary scene.
"We've had a phenomenal, busy summer ... and it's really hard to put into words how we feel about the successes we've had," said Jones. "It blows my mind the scope a little 50-foot restaurant in the Pemberton Valley can achieve. And it's not just Cindy and I, it's a team effort that created this."
The Vancouver Aquarium Chowder Chowdown pairs sustainable chowders with craft beers, with the winning recipe decided by event attendees. The 19-plus event is scheduled for Nov. 19 from 7 to 10 p.m. at the Vancouver Aquarium. Tickets are available at www.oceanwise.ca/news/chowder-chowdown-vancouver-calgary-toronto-halifax.