From Whistler to Rome then back to Whistler, chef Michael Guy is taking over the kitchens at the Nita Lake Lodge.
Trained at the Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts in Vancouver, Guy spent a few years working at Vancouver institutions like the Bluewater Café, Raintree Restaurant and West Restaurant. He then did a one-year stint as chef for the Canadian Ambassador in Rome before coming back to B.C. to work at Araxi — eventually opening a catering business in Pemberton.
"I hope to help Nita Lake Lodge become the number one boutique hotel in Canada with a reputation for incredible food, made from scratch," says Guy.
"The hotel is a beautiful property within a stunning setting. I want to further the reputation of Nita Lake Lodge's three restaurants as a destination unto themselves."
Nita Lake lodge's former executive chef Owen Foster left the lodge on the lake a few months ago after a change in the ownership structure at the hotel.
That opened up the position for Guy, who had been working as the executive sous chef since the start of the year at Nita Lake.
"My first night here was Dec. 31 of 2011, so New Year's Eve," says Guy.
He already has plans to add some new twists of his own to the offerings at the lodge — one of which might be handmade ice-cream — a welcome revelation in a week where it feels like summer is finally here.
He envisions cyclists and walkers out enjoying the weather and shores of Nita Lake buying an ice cream snack from the café.
"It's basically the perfect project for someone who likes projects," he says of his new title and his new job. "With Roger (Soane) coming on board there's clear and decisive direction as to what has to be done with the property and the order in which we do it. There's a lot of work to be done and it is actually quite exciting."
Roger Soane, the former general manager of the Fairmont Chateau Whistler and current chair of Tourism Whistler, was hired to manage the Nita Lake Lodge as of Feb. 1.
Soane says he came on board after Ram Tumuluri, the former Nita Lake Lodge managing partner, moved on.
Guy plans to tweak the food and beverage operations through the spring and this summer to create a brand and an identity. He says the hotel has lacked a strong identity in the past and working with Soane he's looking forward to developing the food and beverage part of the vision.
Credit Union cooking night
Barbecuing, beer and banking are an odd combination but the North Shore Credit Union in Squamish is bringing all three together at the end of this month.
The financial institution is setting aside its mortgage dealings, RRSP's and savings accounts for an evening of exploring simple grilling techniques by hosting a special event evening with chef Ryan Liebrecht. Joining him will be Brewmaster Paul Wilson of Howe Sound Brewery to demonstrate how to produce gourmet barbecue dishes that pair well with premium beer.
Liebrecht is the owner of Ciao Thyme Bistro in Whistler and the executive chef at the Living Room in the Garibaldi Springs Executive Inn and Suites.
Liebrecht will grill up the food and then Wilson will pair each dish with beer.
The event will take place Wednesday, May 30 starting at 7 p.m. — things should wrap up about 9 p.m. The organizers are calling it the Perfect Marriage: Pairing Gourmet BBQ with Premium Beer.
According to the organizers, tasting will be encouraged.
The best part is the fact that there is no cost to attend this event. Pre-registration is required and there's a strong likelihood that this event will fill up quickly.
So, to sum up, we have food, fine ales, expert instruction, sampling and a social gathering all in one at a credit union.
Squamish NSCU branch manager Mark Stephens and his team are onto a winning formula. Those interested in attending are encouraged to avoid disappointment by pre-registering early. Visit this web site for more information: www.nscu.com/cometoknow.