It was recently announced that the winner of season six of the hit reality cooking series, Hell’s Kitchen (featuring Chef Gordon Ramsay), will receive the coveted Head Chef position at Whistler’s Araxi restaurant.
I was fortunate enough to be able to interview Araxi’s Executive Chef James Walt, who also started up Yaletown’s Blue Water Cafe + Raw Bar.
Located in scenic Whistler, BC the show should shine a welcoming spotlight on the region, which is not only co-host to the 2010 Winter Games, but is also becoming a thriving culinary hot spot.
“Obviously it’s a ski town but we have a really good food scene here as well,” noted Walt. “We have a hundred restaurants andâ€”Araxi in particularâ€”we draw 70% of our produce from the Pemberton Valley, which is just behind us.”
Walt also noted that Chef Ramsay was “blown away” with the diversity of fresh, local ingredients in the area. “He didn’t expect we’d have this kind of product. The oceans are not far away, then we have the Fraser Valley, the Okanagan, and he did not expect what we had in our wines from BC.” — Read more in my weekly E!Online article
As a bonus for Miss604 readers, I also asked Chef Walt what was his favourite dish to prepare.
“We have an incredible beef that’s coming from 20 miles away at Pemberton Meadows,” said Walt. “I do two preparations, I roast the fillets then I take the blade and I make a braised croquette of beef to go with it – it’s a capsule of beautiful warm stew and then this really nicely warm fillet. That’s probably one of my favourite dishes right now.”
Looking at Araxi’s menu you’ll find numerous local delights such as Qualicum Beach Scallops, Paradise Valley Pork, and Spinach + Ricotta Gnocchi (with BC Hazelnuts). Watch for the restaurant and the region to be highlighted throughout the season of Hell’s Kitchen which begins July 21st.