Black Pub's head chef Paul Green has a fairly soft voice, but that doesn't really matter. He gets listened to.
"We can't yell and scream anyway, the restaurant is open," he said with a laugh.
He arrived in Whistler just after the busyness of the 2010 Olympics, direct from France where he had worked for six years.
The Melbourne, Australia, native has been in Whistler for five years and he says he has spent his entire working career at the resort with Black's Pub first joining the restaurant as a sous chef.
"I'd applied for the breakfast chef job. Simon (McNeil), the head chef at the time, asked me instead to sous chef. When he left I was asked if I wanted to take it on, so I did," Green said.
The stability of the position has helped him apply for his Canadian residency, which came through last September.
"It wasn't that hard for me (to decide)," he said. "I knew I wanted to stay here. I went home, tried it for six months, but my heart was more here. Especially in this industry. Here there is always something to do."
So when he took on the lead role, he took the previous menu and tried to shape it.
"I shot myself in the foot a little bit. You try to do what you are used to doing and then it is the volume that kills you," he said.
"There is no prep time and things like that. It's just a matter of finding your balance."
In a logistical sense, this means that their dishes will take two preparation steps in order to do things well and fast. This was a contrast with his time in France where he would be putting together more difficult involved dishes; dishes would take three of four steps.
"We can't do that as it would take too long," Green said.
It is worth pointing out that Black's Pub is in a prime central Whistler location in Mountain Square, next to the Whistler Village and Excalibur Gondolas. Volume is a huge consideration because so many people walk past on their way to the Promised Land of the ski runs.
Green said they can serve anywhere from 300 to 500 "bills" in the busiest times, comparable to the large hotels.
"That's bills not people," he says. "Looking for that balance is something we can do still. We try different things. The challenge is good. The hardest part is staff."
This is because of that perennial Whistler problem — turnover.
"The lack of housing in the last couple of years has had an effect on it. The Temporary Foreign Workers situation hasn't bit yet, but I think it will," Green said.
"There are some people that have stayed a long time. Some will come and go. You need to build that core team. Then there are visas to stay. If house prices keep going up, that's the biggest part.
"You come for the work-life balance and it's more work right now than anything."
Still, he is looking forward to the summer and wants to attract new workers then who will stay for next winter season.
Green describes Black's as a "gastro-style pub," firmly Canadian rather than U.K.
"We try the higher-end stuff, we have duck on the menu. But I think simplicity is what people want these days. They don't want to try something they don't know about," he said.
Particular favourites at the moment include their bison ribs, pasta and pizzas. The summer will bring a fresher, produce-driven menu.
"We sell a lot of bison ribs. It's a little stronger," he said.
"I just put on a carbonara pasta for the first time since I've been here and that is just a classic dish. It just flies out. People know it and people love it. I guarantee that now we sell more carbonara than we sell other pastas.
"It's the classics. It's why the French haven't changed their menus in 200 years."
Green said there are no typical diners.
"We get a lot of people who just come for lunch and want burgers, which is good for us because we can knock that out fast," he said.
Earlier in the winter season, Green said he noticed the impact the warm weather was having on the numbers of customers.
"But while it has been sunny and no snow it has been perfect for us. It's actually better for us," he said. "People will sit and eat and drink for six hours, as opposed to ski for six hours and sit for a couple. It has been an up and down season. I wouldn't say we're ahead on last season but last season was a really good one. We've stayed busy."
Plans for the summer will be a lighter-style menu with fresh sauces, smaller and simplified.
1 cup Arborio Rice
1 Chorizo Sausage
2 Chicken Breasts, diced
1 red pepper, chopped
1dozen Tiger Prawns
1 tbsp Cajun Spice
Dash of Tabasco or Saracha
1 large white onion, diced
3 large cloves garlic, minced
Small amount green onion for garnish
1 can/jar tomato pasta sauce (500g), or home-made Marinara sauce
Lightly fry off one cup rice with a touch of oil. Add one cup of water or stock cook until the rice absorbs all the water, stirring constantly add another ½ cup of water a little at a time allowing the rice to absorb it before adding more. Rice should be soft with the smallest amount of crunch (Al Dente).
Cook off diced white onion until soft, then add garlic (minced) on a low heat in a large pot.
Then add Chorizo Sausage and diced chicken breast then turn up the heat and cook until chicken is almost cooked through and the Chorizo Sausage has good colour. Add red peppers and Cajun spice and cook for a few more minutes.
Add your Saracha and marinara and bring the sauce to the boil
Then add the cooked Arborio Rice and stir though and garnish with finely sliced green onion before serving.
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