Goodbye Aubergine, hello Grill & Vine 

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As of Sept. 25 the Westin Resort and Spa in Whistler will launch some big changes. Executive Chef Brad Cumming hinted at this back in December.

He's now sharing much more information as the hotel bids adieu to the Aubergine Grille.

Construction on the new Grill & Vine is going to begin Sept. 26 with the new eatery scheduled to open in December.

Cumming says he's out to create a fun place where guests will enjoy traditional favourites with a local twist.

"I want it to be fun," says Cumming.

A year of planning has been put into a task that Cumming says has lots of moving parts.

"September's turning out to be quite a busy month for us," he says. "The original date was going to be the beginning of September but it is just one of those things. Business levels are just going. September is always a pretty good month I always find for Whistler."

The contractors will have a six-week window to clear out the old and bring in the new so the restaurant is back in business well ahead of Christmas.

Once the work is finished and Cumming gets to take back the space he'll have a 105-seat restaurant designed to be sophisticated, yet approachable, and free-spirited enough to become a social hub.

The news release from the hotel describes how the redesign will offer up open space in a sleek, simple, clean and fresh restaurant.

"All the linen will be taken away, we're going to have a couple of communal tables... there's going to be a soft-seat seating into the back with a lounge feel," says Cumming. "We're also bringing in a wine by the glass system."

A big highlight for the new restaurant will be pairing food with the wine available by the glass stored in an Enomatic Wine Preservation System. The makers of the system boast that open bottles of wine can be stored for up to four weeks inside the system. Sixteen bottles will be available at any given time in the new storage system to be served by the glass.

"Part of our wall will become a wine system so we can get the premium wines by the glass and bring a lot of fun to it," says Cumming.

The wine selection is promised to include a variety of price points from makers in the Okanagan and around the world.

To go with the new emphasis on wine, Cumming says the menu will feature a small snack section that will pair perfectly with the wines for those who are looking for a glass of wine with something lighter than a full meal. Think wine and cheese after a long day carving turns in the snow or a quick bite after work with a fresh glass of red or white.

Adding to the fun, Cumming says a Woodstone hearth oven is being installed to bake breads, fire pizza and to heat other dishes.

"The open kitchen is going to stay and then we'll bring in the beautiful big

Hearthstone oven and we'll be finishing all our meats (in it) and it will become a major player into the menu," says Cumming.

Cumming says to look for stone and hardwood in a modernized reinterpretation of the classic grill.

"We want something that is fun, it's happening, people want to be there, not pretentious," he says.

Cumming promises the new eatery will fit nicely into what Whistler is all about.

"We want to make sure that when you're sitting in that room it has that feeling, it's going to make a very nice connection with everything and with the Westin brand because it is all about wellness and the outdoors," Cumming says.

While the work is underway, the Firerock will operate as usual and in-room food service will also continue unaffected.

Cumming says he's very excited about the changes.

The new Westin restaurant and lounge will be open for breakfast and dinner year round, and during the winter season the doors will be open for après ski service.

Speaking of The Aubergine Grille


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