Slow Food Movement gaining speed in Whistler 

It takes an iron will not to gobble down the exquisite food coming from the kitchen of apres restaurant as soon as it touches the table.

What: Slow Food in Fast Time Dialogue Café

Where: apres restaurant, 103, 4338 Main Street

When: Wednesday, July 21 at 7 p.m.

There’s the fresh Dungeness crab sprinkled throughout with mango salad, the creamiest of mozzarella on a bed of ripe organic tomatoes straight from the Pemberton ground, and let’s not forget the mouth-watering duck confit paired with a spicy apricot preserve.

But wolfing down the food in a few hearty bites would defeat the purpose, according to Chef Stefano Leone, director of apres.

"The nicest moments in life you have around the table," he said in his rich Italian accent.

"That’s the beauty of life. So that’s what we’re promoting here at the restaurant."

Leone is the head of the local chapter of the Slow Food Movement, a group just getting off the ground in Whistler.

And while a part of that movement is to promote taking time out of our busy lives to enjoy the dining experience, Slow Food is about a whole lot more.

Born out of a backlash to "the standardizing effects of fast food and frenetic pace of the ‘fast life,’" Slow Food is an international non-profit association that’s gaining momentum throughout the world.

It started in the mid-80s in Italy and has now spread to over 100 countries and boasts more than 80,000 members.

A handful of Whistler locals are now jumping on board and trying to establish a "convivium" – the grassroots part of the organization where locals can interpret the Slow Food philosophy at the local level.

Among those involved are chefs from the Fairmont Chateau Whistler, the Westin, Whistler Cooks and Astrid Cameron, of Astrid’s Fine Foods.

They will join the roughly 700 other Canadian members who are part of the association to date.

Slow Food promotes a gastronomic culture – a culture of eating and drinking well and taking time to savour the delights of the palate. Among other things the movement strives to develop taste education, conserve agricultural biodiversity by supporting local food producers as well as safeguarding traditional foods at risk of disappearance.

That philosophy is built right into the apres menu said Leone, leaning back in a comfortable booth at the trendy new village restaurant.

Leone has only been here for a few months, recently leaving behind the political unrest and turmoil in Jakarta, Indonesia where he was working at the Hilton Hotel.

He joined his friend Chef Lindsay Petit in Whistler and together they have woven the Slow Food principles into their work at apres.

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