The big resort hotels of Whistler make monumental preparations for New Year's Eve.
Not only do they have their holiday season guests, who will come in after a day on the slopes looking for fireside après nibbles, drinks, a delicious meal and celebrations with family and friends, they also have to take care of New Year's revellers and hardworking staff.
Tory Martindale, the executive chef at The Four Seasons Resort and Residences, said he had his New Year's menu prepared at the end of the summer.
"We have to get it into our clientele, a lot of whom are booking in our residences. People are booking their winter vacations and calling asking for the Christmas and New Year's menus. By the end of the summer we're already rolling it out."
This year, they have two major New Year's events to prepare for.
"We do our gala dinner in Sidecut (Restaurant) and we'll have two seatings for that, an earlier a la carte seating for families... and what we call 4 x 4 dinner in Sidecut with four courses and four options for each course," Martindale said.
"Big Cuts" carved at the table in traditional steakhouse style is an important part of their offerings.
"It is, of course, a gala event, with really high-end appetizers."
They will also close down their bar for several hours to prepare for their other event... a 1930s prohibition-style night. This will be an open event, with no tickets being sold for it.
Chef Tory's recommended appetizer is his Steakhouse Sushi Roll.
Richard Samaniego, the executive sous chef at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler, said they will be lots of variety for guests.
"The Wildflower and Grill (Room) earlier on New Year's Eve will have an early buffet for families. At 7 p.m. we flip the whole room and put down the white table clothes and do a five-course prix fixe menu for both the Grill Room and The Wildflower combined together," Samaniego said.
The Fairmont's banquet room is hosting "an elaborate, humongous buffet" with dancing, that should keep the revellers full and celebratory until midnight.
"We will be serving 400 in the big banquet room, and in the Wildflower and Grill Room another 200," Samaniego said. "I've been here for three years now and the amount of preparation is part of the routine in getting reading for Christmas. I think we got the menus started in July, in September we had meetings over the menus and tweaked them.
"And recently, the ordering, planning and final chef and kitchen meetings took place in November. Because once we get rolling into the 20th of December, it's nonstop."
Chef Richard's recommended New Year's appetizer is Crab-stuff Pequillo Peppers with Cavier Beurre Blanc.
Brad Cumming, the executive chef of the Westin Resort and Spa, said he hopes to sell out 75 or 80 per cent of their new restaurant, The Grill & Vine, which opened in early December. The rest of the seating would be held for hotel guests.
There will be regular dinner sittings serving around 180 people by the end of the night.
"We do New Year's Eve in the Grill & Vine itself, a four-course plated dinner that night. It always fills, saving that bit of availability. We end up with people who have not made all their plans yet and they are staying with us in the hotel for a week at a time," Cumming said.
There's no dressing-up theme for the evening. It's the food that is the centre of attention, with twists on the Italian style.
"We definitely go with our local theme, regional food with a little bit of decadence in there," Cumming said. "In this area it's easy to be regional because there is so much. The seafood and the meats, there is a lot to offer. We definitely put more of an emphasis on it, with the Pemberton vegetables."
Chef Brad's recommended New Year's appetizer is Crispy Quail with multigrain waffle and maple grapes.
Steakhouse Sushi Roll
Prep time: 20 minutes (and overnight)
Cook time: 1 minute
1 tin escargot
5 oz sirloin steak
4 oven-cured tomatoes
3 slices of avocado
1 tsp black truffle paste
1 tbsp rub spice mix
8 pea shoots
1 tsp sweet soy reduction (see recipe below)
1 tbsp pickled mushrooms (see recipe below)
1 tbsp seaweed salad
Cut the sirloin into 5" x 3" squares. Pound the meat to a ¼-inch thick sheet. Arrange the pea shoots, avocado, truffle paste and cured tomatoes in a line across the middle of the meat long ways. Roll up the meat with the ingredients on the inside, like a sushi roll. Wrap the meat log tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. Remove the plastic from the roll and moisten lightly with olive oil. Sear in a very hot pan to blacken the roll. Roll the meat every six seconds to cover the whole roll. Remove from the pan and allow to set. Slice the meat in 1-inch segments. On a plate, smooth the wasabi over the surface. Arrange the sushi roll in a fan along a line. Garnish the plate with pickled mushrooms and seaweed salad. Drizzle the sweet soy reduction over the roll.
Sweet Soy Reduction
Prep time: 4 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
1 cup soy sauce
¼ cup sugar
1 tsp sembal chili
Combine the soy sauce and sugar in a pot. Cook until the liquid is reduced by 50 per cent. Add sembal chili to the mixture.
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 5 minutes
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 5 minutes
Bring the water, vinegar and sugar to a simmer. Add the mushrooms and set aside to cool.
Crab-Stuffed Pequillo Peppers with Caviar Beurre Blanc
8 Piquillo peppers
8 oz dungeness crab meat, picked
3 tbsp Mascarpone cheese
zest of 1 lemon
1 tbsp chopped chives
salt and pepper
For the beurre blanc:
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 shallot, chopped
1 sprig thyme
8 oz cold butter, cut in to chunks
1 tablespoon caviar
For the peppers:
In a bowl mix the crab meat and the Mascarpone, fold in the zest and the chives, season with salt and pepper. With a teaspoon fill the peppers with the crab mix. Place the peppers on a baking sheet and brush lightly with butter. In a 325-degree oven heat the peppers for 10 minutes.
For the sauce:
In a small saucepan pour the wine, add the shallots and thyme sprig. On medium heat reduce the wine to two tablespoons, strain the wine in to a clean sauce pan. And over low heat slowly work in the cold butter chunks with a whisk, one at a time. To finish, season with salt, pepper and lemon juice and lastly add the caviar. To serve, ladle the sauce in the centre of four plates, place two stuffed peppers on top and garnish with a lemon wedge.
Crispy Quail With multigrain waffle, maple grapes
2 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
2/3 cup whole-wheat flour
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup toasted wheat germ, or cornmeal
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon canola oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Mix buttermilk and oats in a medium bowl; let stand for 15 minutes. Whisk whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, wheat germ (or cornmeal), baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a large bowl. Stir eggs, sugar, oil and vanilla into the oat mixture. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients; mix with a rubber spatula just until moistened. Coat a waffle iron with cooking spray and preheat. Spoon in enough batter to cover three-fourths of the surface (about 2/3 cup for an 8-by-8-inch waffle iron). Cook until waffles are crisp and golden brown, four to five minutes. Repeat with remaining batter.
250ml maple syrup
60 leafs kale
Salt and Pepper
Soak the quail in buttermilk, for four hours. Drain and pat dry on a kitchen towel. Place the grapes and maple syrup in a small sauté pan and bake at 450 deg for five minutes. Dredge the quail in seasoned flour and fry in oil 1" of oil until golden brown on one side. Flip the quail over and fry until golden on both sides. Remove the quail from the oil and dry on a fresh piece of kitchen towel. Pour the waffle batter into a waffle iron and cook until the waffle is golden brown Sauté the kale in butter until it is wilted, remove from the pan and place on a plate with waffle and piece of quail cut in half. Drizzle the grapes and syrup to finish.