Mile One Eating House's Erin Kerr has never been one to sit idle for too long.
"I just always need to keep new projects going, apparently. It's not fun to get stale," said the chef and proprietor of Pemberton's beloved burger joint.
Kerr's latest project, called Supper Club, is envisioned as a "destination dining experience" featuring "thoughtful food and drink" that veers away from the mouth-watering burgers and decadent mac n' cheese that Mile One is typically known for.
Held on Thursday nights, Supper Club will emphasize more upscale fare using products that the restaurant doesn't regularly offer. Kerr feels the foodie focus reflects the changing demographics of Pemberton—along with the abundance of top-shelf ingredients Spud Valley offers.
"I think there's a void in Pemberton for this kind of food. There are a lot of people in Pemberton, myself included, who want to go out and have this experience but you don't necessarily want to drive to Whistler," she said. "We thought we should try to tap into that little market we have and then grow it, because we have such a following of locals that trust us and what we do, so we can get people to eat outside their comfort zones and experience new things that they wouldn't normally order."
Last week's inaugural dinner featured handmade pasta served with house-made sausages and fresh cheese, and included a bread course. Tickets are affordable at $25, with the option to add a flight of local craft beer or wine for $10.
Kerr said the Supper Club is a way for Mile One's staff to flex their creative muscles and share the food they love with guests.
"We're using the night to let the culinary team and the front-of-house team focus on their passions," she explained.
"In the past, when I was working with (Mile One co-founder) Randy (Jones), he always gave me those opportunities and it worked out pretty well for me. I think it's super important to keep your staff engaged and interested and creative. That's why we're doing this. It's key to being successful, I think."
Speaking of Jones, the Mile One team continues to work closely with the entrepreneur through his new Chilcotin-Country ranch, Hanceville Cattle Co. (HCC), which he opened after selling the restaurant to long-time sous-chef, and now executive chef, Kerr. The ranch supplies Mile One with whole steers for both the retail and restaurant side, with plans to expand on the partnership as the ranch increases its production capacity.
"We use HCC beef in a couple dishes on the menu, and then we always try to have stock from (Jones)," Kerr noted.
"We're not quite at the point where we're going to use his beef for everything yet, because we go through a lot of beef. They're growing at a rapid pace also, so I'm sure it won't be too long before that happens."
Another new project in the works at Mile One is its Family Meal, which gives customers the chance, once a month, to take home a fully cooked, multi-course meal prepared by the chefs at Mile One for $29 a person. The first meal package, available this Thursday, Jan. 31, features slow-roasted porchetta, scalloped potatoes, winter squash salad, buttermilk bread and a chocolate marquise.
"We think it's a great thing for Pemberton families on the run. Kids have activities, you've got work and all these things, and I think it's just a really cool option to be able to order this in advance for however many people you want, and all you have to do is pick it up and take it home," said Kerr.
Since taking over the reins at Mile One last year from Jones and co-founder Cindy Yu, Kerr has stayed extremely busy—and even picked up some unexpected skills along the way.
"I'm really good at maintenance now," she said with a laugh. "I can fix a lot of stuff that I couldn't before. Fridge doors and oven doors and dishwashers—all kinds of stuff. I'm very well rounded in all maintenance things, along with cooking, so that's good."
For more information, visit mileoneeatinghouse.com.