In three months, the Four Seasons resort will become officially recognized as “local” with its three-year anniversary just around the corner.
I personally think the hotel was local long before it.
One of Whistler’s cornerstone citizens, Isobel MacLaurin, defines local not in years, but in how much an individual or organization has invested in the community.
With general manager Scott Taber at the lead, the Four Seasons has definitely woven its way into the fabric of this community, most notably in its support of the arts. That commitment includes the Whistler Theatre Project and hosting Whistler’s most talented, not to mention youngest, jazz chanteuse Ali Milner, who sits down at the grand piano every Friday from 4 to 7 p.m. in the hotel’s Fifty Two 80 Bistro and Lounge. The EMI recording artist, who will graduate from Whistler Secondary School next year, needed a local outlet to call home and she found it at the Four Seasons.
So why all this talk about local in a food column?
I joined the new communications manager for a sampling of two new tasting menus this week priced at $29 and $39. The bistro’s Wellness Menu was prompted by Whistler Wellness Week, but the light rendezvous will carry on in the regular menu as well. (Thank goodness; diners looking for a flavourful, weightless and breezy summer dining experience are going to have a new favourite hangout.) There’s also a Chef’s Tasting Menu that aims to tantalize locals into the bistro’s garden hideaway in the Upper Village.
My host and I discussed the different identities of restaurants in Whistler. The Rim Rock is known as the local’s place, sort of the Boot Pub of the fine dining industry. The Bearfoot Bistro is the champagne hangout of luxury that draws a local crowd with the $10 dozen oysters from 4 to 6 p.m., not to mention pianist Cameron Chu’s fancy finger work. But what about the Fifty Two 80 Bistro and Lounge?
So young, I don’t think the bistro has formed a local identity yet — of course internationally it is recognized as one of the most luxurious hotels in the world (recently by Conde Nast Traveler and Travel and Leisure).
If anyone is going to find this elegant yet not-stuffy bistro an identity, it is going to be the new executive chef Scott Thomas Dolbee. The former Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel chef served all of Hollywood’s red carpet royalty.
He smiles when I ask who.
“Ever watch E?” he said of the entertainment show. He then mentions something about the never-ending requests for Cobb salads.