“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 the summer salad of baby greens, semi-dried tomato pearls, Chioggia beets, Salt Spring Island goatmilk cheese, and mixed herbs – where only the cheese, XV olive oil and aged balsamic are outsourced.
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 5:00am 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.
Breakast favourites include the Flores Frittata made with free-range egg whites, hard-roasted cauliflower, roasted garlic, chives, truffle oil, walnuts and parmesan; the Westcoast Benny with Clayoquot salmon, potato rosti and Pacific seaweed hollandaise; the maple yoghurt parfait with housemade granola with fresh seasonal fruit and rhubarb compote; and the giant buttermilk pancake with maple sausage and fruit.
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.
Lunch is as glamorous or rustic as you please. Choose a window table in the Cookhouse and partake of a fabulously elegant Clayoquot Cobb Salad with roasted tomato vinaigrette, egg, Bleu Claire cheese, bacon, fired croutons, slow-roasted chicken and avocado, Chef’s famous steak and frites with seared stone fruit, bone marrow and hand-cut truffle fries, or perhaps the squid ink cavatelli alla puttanesca with fried whie anchovies, capers, parsley, tomato, olives and fennel.
At mid-day, the sun dapples beautifully in the dining tents – more beautifully over a slow-roasted pulled pork sandwich with housemade BBQ sauce, crispy onion straws, smoked Gouda cheese and truffle fries, or one of the daily special pizzas made in-house using long-simmering San Marzano tomato sauce, the freshest vegetable, meat and seafood toppings, and finished in our wood-burning pizza oven.
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 seared Clayoquot Salmon, smoked tomato papardelle, seasonal vegetables. lemon ricotta and XV olive oil; pea crusted Peace River lamb rack with charred zucchini, blooming onion, potato pave, and black garlic balsamic jus; and smoked Yarrow duck breast, duck confit and lentil ragout, cherry and peach mostarda, beets and duck sauce. Fresh-caught Dungeness crab with kombu garlic butter, garnished seasonally with mussels, clams or BC spot prawns, is always on the menu.
On your final night before departure, in celebration of your time gone wild, resort chefs prepare a multi-course BC wine-paired Family Style Tasting Menu of extraordinary proportions.
Highlights are the roasted cauliflower, whey, parmesan and smoked almonds; the hay-smoked carrot salad with flax seed and crème fraîche; porcini-crusted Haida Gwaii sablefish in mushroom tea; the kale salad with roasted farro, ramp and mushrooms; the heritage roasted pork rack with maple mustard glaze and caramelized onion reduction; and the roasted herbed chicken in its own succulent juice.
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 proprietors the Genovese Family Trust.
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 housemade fruit sorbet; goat’s milk yoghurt semifreddo with rhubard, foraged elderflower and grapefruit; coffee ice cream baked Alaska; chocolate posset with spruce tip ice cream, cocoa crumble, and seasonal berries; and Pastry Chef Merri’s famous dark chocolate bar with wild currant leaf ice cream.
The multi-course Family Tasting Menu concludes with a post-dessert selection of house-made chocolates, truffles and petit fours – offered alongside a selection of dessert wines from signature BC wineries.
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.