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Switching: the new Whistler trend

Restaurant swaps are popular during Cornucopia celebrations



There's so much room to be creative with food.

In the midst of Whistler's Cornucopia the Bearfoot Bistro, took its fine dining creative flair in a unique direction on Saturday, Nov. 8 with an event dubbed Switch It Up. The concept was simple — execution, not so much.

The Bearfoot Bistro teamed up with Vancouver's Market By Jean-Georges in the Shangri-la Hotel to switch locations for a night. On Saturday, Whistler dinner guests were welcomed to Market By Jean-Georges at the Bearfoot Bistro then on Wednesday, Nov. 13 Vancouver dinner guests were welcomed to the Bearfoot Bistro at Market By Jean-Georges.

The Market By Jean-George tables and chairs were all moved up to Whistler for the evening and a number of the Market cooks and servers were also transplanted along with the Market menu.

The driving force behind the move was the Bearfoot's Andre St. Jacques.

"I was moving tables and chairs at 3 a.m.," St. Jacques says with a smile as dinner service was getting underway on Saturday.

St. Jacques got help from David Auer, the restaurant manager at Market, keeping the customers happy on Saturday while Market's chef de cuisine, Montgomery Lau, prepared meals in the Bearfoot kitchen with Bearfoot executive chef Melissa Craig.

While Bearfoot visitors on Saturday dined on items from the Market menu a group of food writers and special guests like Rick Cluff and Cecilia Walters of CBC Vancouver radio's Morning Edition dined on sweet potato macaroons, soy cured salmon, caviar, herb salad and a choice of roasted sablefish or beef tenderloin with ginger shitake mushrooms.

Meanwhile, one night earlier, the Mexican Corner switched it up in its own fashion and in a more permanent way by moving into a new location in the Sundial Hotel. The restaurant moved to the location where the Chinese Bistro once operated. For the grand opening of his new outlet Pepe Barajasa flew in two esteemed Mexican chefs and a third special guest from France to work with Mexican Corner executive chef Edgar Navarro for the night.

The all-star chefs were Pablo Salas and Diego Hernadez from Mexico and Christian Ernst from France.

Opening night guests received red-carpet treatment on the way in and a tequila seminar delivered by tequila connoisseur Pablo Contreras before dinner. The five-course dinner included a shot of tequila from Patron with each course.

The switch for Mexican Corner is more permanent than the one-off involving the Bearfoot and Market. Barajas is switching the former Mexican Corner location in the Marketplace into a casual Mexican cantina.