“With an eye for design, culinary daring and a clear adventurous streak, Clayoquot Wilderness Resort shows just how wild luxury can get.”
Lodestars Anthology, Canada
It is true that one cannot play well, sleep well or be well without dining well. In the Cookhouse kitchen, well is defined by local, sustainable, seasonal, clean and beautiful – prepared with love and passion by an extraordinary team of Relais & Chateaux class artisan chefs.
Cuisine is fine, luxurious, storied and comforting – rooted in sustainable, locally grown, foraged and harvested ingredients sourced almost entirely from Clayoquot Sound and Vancouver Island, and delivered daily to the resort by boat.
Contemporary coastal best describes the signature elegance of the culinary program, complemented by a traditional slow-oven and period-inspired gastro-adventures.
A small vegetable and herb garden, and a greenhouse on the property provide fresh greens, baby vegetables and garnishes, and help reduce the carbon footprint of dishes like roast summer squash with charred zucchini, semi-dried tomato pearls, Chioggia beets, Salt Spring Island goatmilk curd, and lemon herb potato gnocchi – where only the cheese, the flour and the broccoli are out-sourced.
Local fisherman and fishmongers provide fresh, Oceanwiseⓒ Dungeness crab, scallops, salmon, halibut, albacore tuna and spot prawns from the cold, clean and deep waters of the Pacific. Local foragers, converse in the language of food traditions of the Nuu-chah-nulth First Nation source over 100 wild foods from the rainforest and foreshore.
Morning is an exciting time at the Cookhouse as morning chefs are very passionate about breakfast. Coffee is on at 5am as chefs and cooks arrive early to prepare for Continental buffet (6:30 thru 10:00 am), and a la carte service (from 7:00 am). There is no in-tent food-service of course, as bears and other wildlife would enjoy that all too much, but morning coffee and tea service is offered daily – delivered quietly on bicycle.
Breakast favourites include the BC roll eggs benedict with Dungeness crab salad, sea asparagus and seaweed hollandaise; the wake and bake of chorizo, kale and mushroom baked eggs, chipotle beans and grilled bread; and buttermilk pancakes with lemon blueberry compote and bourbon maple syrup.
Fresh-squeezed juices, a made-to-order smoothie bar, housemade granola and vanilla-yoghurt, fresh fruit, smoked salmon and cream cheese and other assorted cereals comprise the Continental buffet. Housemade daily breads, scones, muffins, trail mix, and an impressive assortment of gluten-free, vegan and dairy-free items are available throughout the day in the vintage pastry case, as well as in the self-serve old-fashioned candy and cookie bar.
Housemade, glassine-wrapped caramels, and authentic old-fashioned licorice, saltwater taffy, candy sticks, and nougat appeal to all ages, and more than a few intra-generational stories have been shared with great delight and enthusiasm, over the candy bar.
And, if you are out and about in the wilderness, Chef’s hearty backpack lunches including daily soups, gourmet sandwiches, charcuterie, local cheeses, more than satisfy. New this season, inspired by the 150th anniversary of Canada’s Confederation, are fun and fabulous period-inspired gastro-adventures.
Imagine sitting beside a private lake 4500-feet above sea level at Cloud Camp, feasting on Clayoquot Sound seafood chowder, Salt Spring Island stew or roast Rossdown Farm chicken and dumplings straight from a cast-iron cauldron hanging over a campfire, or, skillet-frying your own trout or salmon in sweet butter and lemon. Closer to home, a Bedwell Beach Feast of alder-smoked cedar-staked salmon, and crab & clam boil, might be just the thing after a long day hiking the Wild Side.
Dinner is an event at the Outpost. Seatings begin at 6pm and guests are encouraged to experience dining in the Cookhouse, the dining tents, and at the open-kitchen bar, over the duration of their stay. The dinner menus are extraordinary and include vegetarian and gluten-free options. Chef work within all dietary preferences and restrictions to ensure that all guests receive Relais and Chateaux class cuisine, regardless of limitations.
On all but your final night with us, you will be offered an extensive a la carte menu featuring local ingredients and signature Canadian specialties. Favourites include Roast Haida Gwaii halibut with lemon and tarragon gnocchi, serrano and artichoke fricassée, and pea verhus emulsion; pistachio crusted spring lamb rack, purple potato fondant, baked apricot, smoky eggplant purée and pea tendrils; and truffle-poached Rossdown Farm chicken, crispy potatoes, morel mushrooms, asparagus and lemon verbena supreme sauce. Fresh-caught Dungeness crab with kombu garlic butter, is always on the menu.
On your final night before departure, in celebration of your time gone wild, resort chefs prepare a six-course BC wine-paired Tasting Menu of extraordinary proportions.
Three highlights are the warm asparagus soup, seared smoked bay scallops, crisp phyllo, parmesan, nasturtium oil and cured yolk; spring pe and Dungeness crab risotto with mascarpone and lemon; Brant Lake wagyu bresaola, kohlrabi remoulade, wild watercress, charred tomato, beetroot and hazelnut; roasted spring salmon, potato rosti, smoked watercress puree, maple rye soil and salmon eggs. And to finish, perhaps a dark chocolate ganache with salmon berries, candied walnuts and moscato sabayon.
Pairings highlight some of British Columbia’s most extraordinary and award-winning red, white and desert wines, including some made by Intersection Winery of Oliver, BC – owned by resort proprietor Richard Genovese.
The resort’s pastry programme is truly incredible, with house-made scones, rolls and breads, fresh daily. A vintage self-serve cheese-box takes pride of place in the Cookhouse, showcasing a special Cake of the Day appearing at lunchtime and lasting not-so-long-at-all.
Seasonal desserts feature signature delights like dark chocolate mouse and raspberry sorbet; vanilla bean panna cotta with cocao sorbet and bee pollen; late summer pavlova with lemon cream, Italian plums and coconut sorbet; chocolate tart with poached pears; and dark chocolate bar with wild currant leaf ice cream.
The six-course tasting menu concludes with a post-dessert selection of house-made chocolates, truffles and petit fours – making it seven in fact.
A childrens’ menu features tiny person favourites like chicken fingers and fries, spaghetti and meatballs, macaroni and cheese, fish of the day with veggies and smashed potatoes, and of course pizza. Kids love to sit at the open kitchen bar to chat up and inspire resort chefs to try new specials like blueberry pancakes with butter-glazed baby carrots from the resort garden.
Speaking of tiny people – a favourite half-day educational activity, particularly suited to families, is foraging for wild foods and berries and then returning to the Cookhouse to observe and/or participate in their preparation. During berry season – which begins early with salmon berries and extends well into summer with evergreen huckleberries – our pastry chef spends as much as 45-minutes each day, competing with black bear, foraging for fresh berry ingredients and chlorophyll-enriched garnishes like spruce tips, for breads, pastry, desserts and housemade chocolates and chocolate bars.