Photos and text by Maureen Provençal
PQ: What’s your food/wine philosophy?
ES: Love life, cook with integrity, dine with passion.
PQ; What’s the most important principle in cooking?
ES: Appreciate your ingredients.
PQ: How far would you go for a great meal?
ES: When I lived in London we would fly down to the south of France or Italy for gourmet weekends. I fly down to San Francisco and LA for an overnight trip to try out new restaurants.
PQ: One food you can’t live without?
ES: The basics: salt, pepper, olive oil, foie gras.
PQ: One ingredient you can’t live without?
PQ: Weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten?
ES: I had to cook an iguana once.
PQ: Most memorable meal you’ve ever eaten?
ES: I had a perfect mango once in the Marquesa Islands – it was the size of a small basketball and the texture of a ripe peach. It was intoxicating, absolute bliss. Yet another example that Mother Nature knows best.
PQ: What’s your solution for a last minute meal?
ES: Smelly cheese, artisan bread, good olives, and great wine.
PQ: Best trend in food/restaurants?
ES: The dawning awareness that we are poisoning ourselves with the mass production and over-processing of modern day foods.
PQ: Worst trend in food/restaurants?
ES: Bastardizing stuff under the guise of creativity.
PQ: Greatest professional moment?
ES: Helping friends open their own restaurants – it’s so satisfying to be part of the fulfilment of a dream.
PQ: Do you dream of opening your own restaurant?
ES: Yes, almost as often as I have nightmares of doing the same.
PQ: How would you describe what it is to be a chef?
ES: A good cook makes food taste good; a chef turns food into money.
PQ: Where would you go for your last meal in Whistler?
ES: Home. My husband makes an incredible linguine alla vongole.
PQ: What brought you to Whistler?
ES: I met a real cute guy in a bar in France many years ago. We got pretty drunk and when I finally sobered up I was married, with a big mortgage and a garage full of ski gear and bicycles – "loving life and living the dream."
PQ: Who has been the most influential person on your career?
ES: My life is a mosaic of all the great and wonderful people I have been privileged to know.
PQ: What would you advise anyone wanting to come into this industry?
ES: Look carefully at where it will take you as you get older. The attrition rate is huge.