Chef Randy Jones of Pemberton's Mile One Eatery is keen to emphasize that his restaurant's successes are down to teamwork.
"There's no question that Cindy (Yu, his wife and co-owner) and I had a vision of what we wanted Mile One to be and how it fit into the Pemberton community, the ingredients we wanted it to be and how we wanted to reflect regional B.C. style of food offerings," Jones said.
As the restaurant, which is now in its fifth year, has evolved and grown team effort is what is most important, he adds.
"We've got some really skilled, dedicated and passionate people on our team that took the original vision and have added their touch and their work ethic to it in order to make sure we can deliver to the larger groups that we're now getting here. It's awesome," Jones says.
All members of Mile One's 20-person staff — around five are dedicated to food production and service — add elements that come into play at crucial times, whether it is a new culinary path or feature they want to try.
"We've got a very diverse team. Some put their heads down and just work hard, others work hard but are very creative and have a mad scientist approach, that's a very common characteristic for a chef. And we've got people who are quite young in their culinary careers and some who are more seasoned," Jones says.
"You pull together these different styles and say 'Hey, that's the next approach we're going to take.'"
And the popularity of Mile One cannot be denied for other reasons, too.
The restaurant has won no less than seven "best ofs" in the 2015 Best of Pemberton survey, which comes out in a special issue of Pique on June 11.
It's impossible to deny the talent and popularity of an establishment that wins Best Overall Eatery, Best Value, Best Burger, Best Beer Selection, Best Breakfast, Best Chef and Best Service.
Jones says increasing business means adapting what they do and he returns to his staff. They get to take credit for creative decisions made on a daily basis.
"We look at it as a team approach to problem solving. The ideas come together and we find solutions. It's the logistics part of letting the business grow that they are a part of, as it is the creative side when we're developing a dinner feature or our $10 lunch features. I rarely have input on those things anymore, I have a team that put their creative pieces together. I get to put my creative touches on the whole thing," he said.
One example, Jones said, was a Cache Creek Natural Beef dipped beef that proved very popular recently. He was out of town when it was put on the menu.
"We got great feedback via social media channels on it," he said, "I'd hate to sit back and take credit. I'd hate for people to think, 'that was Randy.' I wasn't even in Pemberton. Our team knows the expectation and they collectively came up with the right thing. They do that daily without me being right there."
Mile One has expanded in the past few weeks, adding a retail market section by taking on another 336 square metres of space and knocking down a wall.
"We call it the Market at Mile One," Jones said. "We've always had a retail shelf of B.C. foodie products and we've now blown it up. It's now a dedicated space that our guests can go into. Our meat fridge, which sold our sausages and our ground beef, that is now self serve."
They also added infographics on the windows on potato growing in Pemberton, on farming, on where the products they use come from. It was painted by a Vancouver artist with connections to the region.
"They're very quirky, cartoony in a Where is Waldo kind of way," Jones laughs.
"We've got an old Chevy truck box with a herb garden growing in there."
And they are continuing to search for retail products, including Anita's Organically Milled Flour products.
"We also have a large production kitchen on that other side now and that was very important for us to allow our culinary team to have more space. Now they can do more. The business has grown and they have a little more back space and it is dedicated to doing daily service," Jones said.
And there is a hint at future Mile One products.
"When we want to reach out and do some dressings, some preserves and our own preparations, we'll need more space to do that," he says.
"The sky is the limit. We can do cooking demos in there, so many cool and different things."
8oz elk chorizo — fully cooked (can substitute your favourite chorizo sausage)
2 cups assorted wild & cultivated mushrooms — chopped into ¾" pieces
12 medium size green asparagus stalks – cut about ¾" long (woody bottom section removed)
1 cup fresh tomato — diced
3 ½ cups 36 per cent whipping cream (plus a little extra)
1 ¾ cups mozzarella cheese — grated
1 ½ cups aged white cheddar cheese — grated
4 cups cooked elbow noodles (plus a little extra) — cooked al dente
2 tbsp butter
Salt and pepper to taste
Slice chorizo in half, length wise, then slice into 1/4" pieces cross wise.
In heavy bottom wide pot, melt butter over medium heat, don't brown butter.
Add sliced chorizo to pot.
Sauté chorizo until oils start to come out, add mushrooms and gently cook.
Once mushrooms have just started to cook down add diced tomato and asparagus.
Sauté mixture together for about 30 seconds on high heat. Add whipping cream.
Allow cream to come to a boil and then simmer, reducing cream by about one third.
Add cooked elbow noodles, simmer noodles in hot cream to warm.
Add all cheese, and adjust temperature to a gentle simmer.
Incorporate cheese by stirring/folding with a heat-proof rubber spatula.
Cheese should be fully melted and adding some viscosity to the cream mixture around the noodles.
If mixture is too dry add additional cream, if too wet add a little extra pasta or cheese.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Present in individual bowls or family style in a large serving vessel. Makes a great comfort food meal and would go great with a fresh garden salad!