Meat But No Potatoes
IMAGES BY JOERN ROHDE
Ketogenic, paleo, gluten-free — low-carb diets are all the rage and we don’t mind one bit. Who needs sugary processed foods when you can fill up on milk-fed pork, meaty halibut, buttery peas and healthy guacamole? Whistler chefs make low-carb meals a joy to eat. Here are just a few of the healthy options they’re cooking up this summer.
THE GRILL ROOM AND WILDFLOWER RESTAURANT at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler
604-938-8000 | fairmont.com/whistler/dining
Gaspor Farms Porcelet
Milk-fed suckling pig is just one of many reasons The Grill Room was recently named best Whistler restaurant in the Vancouver Magazine Restaurant Awards.
Executive Chef Isabel Chung and Sous Chef Derek Bendig have been working with new suppliers over the past year. And this incredibly succulent porcelet from Gaspor Farms in Quebec, fattened up with warm milk and natural supplements, so they grow sweeter and twice the size of the average piglet, is a dream dish for ketogenic dieters — or any meat eater, for that matter.
At the Wildflower, you’ll find the densely rich belly crisped to a crackling finish, served with creamy celery root, rhubarb glaze and toasted hazelnuts. In the adjacent Grill Room, a four-diamond steakhouse, the leg is slowly cooked on the bone until the juicy meat slips right off and is served with roasted loin.
“It’s such a pure, clean flavour,” says Bendig. “I always tell people, ‘That’s what pork should taste like.’”
604-938-1879 | carambarestaurant.com
Halibut Petits Pois
If you can tear yourself away from the wood-fired pizzas, you might be amazed by this buttery pan-roasted halibut served à la Françoise on a creamy bed of garden-ripened peas and smoky bacon. If this is why French women don’t get fat, we’ll take a second helping.
Petits pois is a classic dish that Executive Chef James Paré and Chef de Cuisine Nick Surowy often served at the legendary Savoy Hotel in London, where Paré was executive chef, before he returned home to partner with his uncle, Jay Paré, at Caramba! Together, they have turned one of Whistler’s favourite casual, family-friendly restaurants into an underrated, Mediterranean-focussed gem that hits far above its weight class.
Paré pairs the wine-braised peas with fresh local halibut in the summer months. “It’s packed with protein, but not fatty like salmon. It’s the steak of the sea.”
604-932-3433 | bearfootbistro.com
Renowned for her artistic plating and creative use of seasonally fresh ingredients, Executive Chef Melissa Craig often offers a juicy ceviche to stimulate palates at the beginning of her elaborate tasting menus. This vibrant rendition, as eye-catching as it is sating, is a jewel-like example of her sophisticated style.
Free of gluten, dairy and shellfish, the full-sized appetizer works well for almost any diet — except those for guests with fish allergies. Clean, summery halibut is a perfect complement for the herbaceous cucumber-and-cilantro broth. Mild trout roe, compressed cucumber and tapioca crisps lend textural pop and crunch, while candied kumquat adds a surprising touch of sumptuous sweetness.
“I really like doing ceviche with halibut,” Craig explains. “It can dry out really fast when you cook it. This preparation keeps the fish fresh and moist.”
GRILL & VINE at the Westin Resort & Spa Whistler
604-935-4338 | grillandvinewhistler.com
Sakura Pork Tomahawk Chop
Paleo dieters have their choice of several pastured meats on the “Simply Gilled” menu at the Westin Resort’s casual, yet always impressive Grill & Vine. But this Sakura Pork Tomahawk chop is a showstopper that has been brought back for the summer menu by popular demand.
Canadian-raised versions of the premium and highly prized Japanese Kurobuta, these pigs are fed an all-vegetable-grain (primarily barley) diet, which produces a firmer, whiter fat, and richer flavour, than corn-fed pigs. The bone-in tomahawk cut, which resembles a single-handed axe, makes it even juicier and quite dazzling to behold.
Executive Chef Bradley Cumming serves the massive chop with sautéed vegetables and (optional) fingerling potatoes, braised fennel, kale, toasted walnuts and a tangy apple glaze kissed with honey.
“Those cavemen were able to get honey, right?” he jokes. “I’m sure they were.”
THE MEXICAN CORNER
604-962-4450 | themexicancorner.ca
It’s hard to avoid rice, beans and tortillas in a Mexican restaurant. “They’re essential for us,” says Chef Juan Carlos Hernandez. But chances are you won’t even miss them with an easily adapted stuffed pepper at this lively hotspot next to the Whistler Mountain Gondola base.
Hernandez chars, peels and deseeds a large poblano pepper, which is then stuffed with braised beef cubes and ground pork that have been slowly simmered in aromatic spices. It’s all smothered in an earthy guajillo-pepper sauce and baked with melted cheese (if you choose). The textural mix of meats gives the dish an exceptionally voluptuous mouthfeel.
Although typically served with rice and beans, it can be ordered with creamy, house-made guacamole, which is full of healthy fats. And if you need an extra serving of greens, you can always pair the pepper with a freshly blended cilantro margarita.