Kudos to Raven's Nest for going vegetarian
A recent letter to the Pique, complaining about the vegan-only nature of the food menu at Raven's Nest, so completely missed the boat that I felt compelled to reply (Pique, Dec.3).
The letter is quite correct in stating that the Gardein products used in some of the Raven's Nest menu items are indeed "processed" food. We could argue all day over whether "processed" food is always a bad thing; surely it depends on the quality of the ingredients, and how they are processed?
However, that is not the main point of my letter.
The main beef (excuse the pun) about the non-meat alternatives at Raven's Nest, seems to be based on whether or not the food offered is "healthy."
Here's the thing — there is a much, much bigger picture here that must be considered over and above whether plant-based foods are healthier than meat-based foods, or whether a Gardein "meat" or "chicken" menu item, even though processed, is still preferable to steak, chicken, fish, eggs or dairy.
There is a bigger picture we all should think about, due to its implications for the earth, for climate change, and for the ethics involved in animal agriculture.
The vast majority of vegans of my acquaintance, and many of the vegetarians, do not actually choose their lifestyle for "health" reasons, but for reasons of ethics, morality, and deep concern for the environment. (They all feel healthier for the choice but again, that's another argument.)
Here are just a few facts taken from the pages of Cowspiracy, a mind-blowing, eye-opener of a documentary now available on Netflix. You can read a great many more at www.cowspiracy.com/facts/. The research behind Cowspiracy is impeccable, undeniable, and very disturbing. Read the facts, and better still, watch the movie.
• Animal agriculture is responsible for 18 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions. This is more than the combined exhaust of all transportation.
• Livestock and their by-products account for at least 32,000 million tons of carbon dioxide per year, or 51 per cent of all worldwide greenhouse gas emissions.
• 2,500 gallons of water are required to produce one pound of meat; 1,000 gallons for one gallon of milk; almost 900 gallons for 1 pound of cheese; 477 gallons for 1 pound of eggs.
• Livestock and livestock feed crops occupy one-third of the earth's available ice-free land.
• A farm with 2,500 dairy cows produces the same amount of waste as a city of 411,000 people.
• Three-quarters of the world's oceans are exploited or depleted, and we could see fish-free oceans by the year 2048.
• For every one pound of fish caught, up to five pounds of other marine species are caught and discarded as "by-kill."
• Scientists estimate 650,000 whales, dolphins and seals and 40-50 million sharks, are killed each year by fishing vessels. and 40-50 million sharks.
• Animal agriculture is responsible for 91 per cent of Amazon rainforest destruction.
• 70 billion animals are reared annually for meat slaughter. More than six million are killed for food every hour.
• Billions of male chicks (considered "useless" by the poultry industry because they do not lay eggs) are tossed alive into meat grinders every year.
Shall I go on? Because I could. And these facts don't even touch the tip of the iceberg if you want to discuss the health implications for humans involved in meat and dairy and egg consumption.
They do not come within light years of the tip of the iceberg if you want to discuss the savage brutality involved in the rearing and slaughter of "food animals," of dairy products, of eggs.
And this is why I applaud Whistler Blackcomb, chef Wolfgang Sterr, and any others involved in the courageous and far-seeing decision to switch Raven's Nest to a vegan restaurant. More power to them.
I read the letter from the Troughton family (Pique, Nov.26) and I was left a little disappointed. Disappointed in the fact that this letter was one, placed in the Pique at all rather than directed to the Gibbons group itself, and second that the Troughton family didn't recognize that there are many facets to marketing strategies across Whistler.
The Whistler experience is different to each individual. Some come here for a family vacation, some come here for adventure sports, some come here for relaxation, but there is definitely the market that comes here to celebrate.
Celebration comes in many forms, and the Gibbons Group is obviously utilizing this TV series to showcase the limitless possibilities in Whistler when it comes to celebrating an occasion.
An episode showcasing the once-in-a-lifetime Peak 2 Peak dining experience, an episode showcasing the natural beauty of our surrounds with the hot springs adventure; yes, there is some drinking involved and celebrating at bars, but that is their clientele.
The clientele that this show is marketing Whistler toward is adults of legal drinking age.
It is unfortunate that this show has made the Troughton family feel unwelcome, but having come here for seven years, one would think you may have come across the huge crowds celebrating their day on the mountain with après at the Longhorn, or a bachelorette party walking from Tapley's to Bills.
I do hope that the Troughton family keep an eye out on their vacation to Banff and realize during their drive to the mountain that there are also many facets to their marketing strategies.
We welcome you back next season to the No. 1 mountain resort in the world with slope-side mountain accommodation and more terrain than Banff and Lake Louise combined.
We are sorry that you missed our 50-year anniversary celebrations with amazing activities focused at families.
Have a lovely vacation.
Dishing out thanks
Thank you to the Pique for such flattery (in the Nov.26 cover feature, "A More Savoury Slopeside Experience").
I would like to add a big thank you to the following people for their time and energy to achieve this level of success:
• Cindy Filipenko, Pique feature writer — Thanks for taking the time to sit with Steve and I. We are very humbled and appreciative of the work you have done;
• Sean Richard, Alpine GM — The strategist, it has been a great pleasure working with you over the past couple of years. Your mountain knowledge has served me well understanding our operations;
• James Paton, Rendezvous Manager — you have a great gift leading people;
• Waide Wright, Rendezvous Chef — could not have done this without your hard work!
• Lia Fowler, Logistics Manager — equipment deliveries on a mountain are not easy! Well done!
• Kristine Leise — my vegan inspiration for Raven's Nest. Thanks for pushing the meat-free button;
• Mike Varrin, Valley Bar GM — for (your) support during the Garbo's project;
• MC Marie-Christine Boulet — Love your energy and support during the Crystal Hut project;
• Maren Oetling — Purchasing and sourcing anything we dream up;
• James Linklater, Food safety — could not have do it without you James;
• Laura Davies — My partner in life, your spirit inspires me. Thanks for putting up with me.
To all food and beverage leadership and front-line workers, it is a great privilege being part of this dynamic team.
And last but not least Paul Street, VP of Food and Beverage, the man that ensures I eat enough animal proteins...
Thanks for your guidance and the opportunity to be part of this great team.
Executive Chef, Whistler Blackcomb
Yoga at WSS
I would like to thank Peta Gascoigne at Lululemon and the Whistler Secondary PAC for generously donating 30 yoga mats to Whistler Secondary School.
There has been an increasing interest in yoga/meditation to improve stress levels and reduce injuries through flexibility. With these mats we can now offer after-school yoga club, as well as include more yoga in physical education.
Physical Education Dept. Head
Whistler Secondary School
The Whistler Mature Action Community held its annual Christmas party (an event that has been happening in Whistler since some time in the 1980s) this year at Nicklaus North.
Nicklaus North is worth a visit just to see their lights — inside it is a Christmas fairyland!
The reason I'm writing though is to thank all the wonderful sponsors who helped us have a great evening: Scandinave Spa, Nesters Market, Can-Ski, Tim Hortons, MarketPlace IGA, The Grocery Store, and Profile Ski Tuning all contributed.
Our dinner dance was a great success and we sent a carload of groceries to the food bank at the end of the evening.
Pemberton peace rocks
Our family would like to thank everyone who bought a hand-painted "Peace Rock" at the St. David's Craft Fair in Pemberton last Saturday.
We wanted you to know that because of your generous spirit, we raised $350 all of which is being donated to the Pacific Immigrant Resources Society in Vancouver.
This organization is a community based, non-profit organization, which has been serving immigrant and refugee women and children from many countries all around the world since 1975.
Thank you for warming our hearts and making a small difference in the world.
Katrina, Alan, Sophie and Aiden Nightingale
Thank you from St. David's Church
St. David's annual Christmas Bazaar, held at Pemberton Secondary School on Saturday, Dec. 5, 2015, was a wonderful festive event.
The congregation at St. David's would like to thank all who helped make it happen: those who provided baking; those who helped move and set up tables before and after the event; those who organized and served at the cookie table, the white elephant table and the concession; AG Foods for donated supplies; school district staff for their helpfulness before and during the bazaar, and of course our coordinator for her many long hours of hard work in bringing it all together.
Special thanks to the Pemberton Museum, the Pemberton Lion's Club, the Pemberton Valley Supermarket, Signal Hill Elementary School and Richard Doucet for lending us tables for the event.
Sincere appreciation also goes out to the many participating vendors without whom there would be no bazaar. For those who helped and are not mentioned above, please accept our apology and be assured that your contribution has been greatly appreciated.
Thank you from St. David's to the whole community for attending and making this another successful Christmas Bazaar!
Mart Gilmore, secretary
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