December 29, 2013 Features & Images » Feature Story

Whistler appetizers for New Year's Eve 

Four Seasons' steakhouse sushi roll, Fairmont's pequillo peppers and the Westin's crispy quail

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  • Steakhouse Sushi Roll

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.


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