Canada’s 100 Best EIC Jacob Richler is on location at the West Coast Fishing Club‘s annual David Hawksworth and Friends Culinary Adventure.
The fishing is picking up. The morning was flush with Coho. And after lunch, Chinook were taken by nearly every boat. Mine took in four. Not of trophy proportions but, more important, perfect for cooking (high teens, low twenties). The halibut fishing was strong too. Two hally over 100 lbs. were landed and released, as well as a couple of 80s. Much appetite inducing fun all around, in other words.
The new lodge chef – Rob Ratcliffe – is an alumnus of Hawksworth restaurant. And he is committed to and excited about trying to up the food-quality ante at a lodge that was already a culinary over-achiever. For my part, I was hopped up to find sliced blood sausage newly added to the breakfast spread. If that doesn’t excite you as much as does me, well, consider this. Fresh off the water, and famished you collect a cocktail, then head out onto the Clubhouse for a pre-dinner snack. The first stop, at the Yoder smoker, delivers choice portions of duckling, braised to tenderness, then finished on the smoker with a glaze rich with ginger and soy. Next stop, poached octopus charred on the grill and tossed with diced spicy pork sausage.
Inside you can pay a visit to Dino Renaerts, long-time guest chef, who set up a cooking station on the covered snooker table. There, beautiful plates of seafood– a seared Alaskan scallop, firm halibut cheek, and side-stripe shrimp with fluffy basmati rice and a good lashing of green Thai coconut curry. Chef Rob meanwhile was stationed on the pass to his kitchen, carving slices of buffalo loin roasted à point, which he doused with a red wine reduction spiked with sloe gin gastrique. On the side, beautiful salads and…wait for it…marmite focaccia.
Naturally, a good selection of appropriate wines were to be found at the bar. A quality Muscadet Granit Vallet 2015, from Luneau-Papin., a Saath Cab-Merlot blend from B.C., and a new-style Grenache named Tarot (2015), from Australia’s Alpha Box and Dice, that could easily pass for a pinot noir.
All photos: Jeff Vinnick