The GOODS from Araxi
Whistler, BC | The Araxi Longtable Dinners are British Columbia’s most exciting al fresco dining experiences – and on Monday, August 4th, Whistler’s Araxi Restaurant is bringing its first Longtable to Vancouver at the oceanside Bard on the Beach venue in picturesque Vanier Park.
“This will be the largest Longtable to date,” says Araxi’s award-winning executive chef James Walt, “and we’re thrilled to celebrate our culinary provenance with the very best of British Columbia ingredients at the peak of the summer season, as well as some terrific wine pairings.”
Chef Walt will be joined by the entire collective of Toptable Group chefs: Andrew Richardson from CinCin, Frank Pabst from Blue Water Cafe, Quang Dang from West, and Thierry Busset from Thierry Patisserie and Cafe. Guests will also have the opportunity to meet the suppliers who raise the produce. Get all the details and the full menu after the jump… Read more
The GOODS from Araxi
Whistler, BC | The Araxi Longtable Dinners are British Columbia’s most exciting al fresco dining experiences – and this summer, Whistler’s Araxi Restaurant will add a Vancouver date at the famed Bard on the Beach venue at the picturesque Vanier Park.
Staged at North Arm Farm in Pemberton and Lost Lake in Whistler in past summers, these sold-out events embraced our extraordinary local ingredients picked at the peak of the season. Guests have the opportunity to meet the suppliers who raise the produce, and at North Arm Farm, tour the organic fields where, only hours earlier, the ingredients were harvested just steps away from the outdoor kitchen.
New this year, the inaugural Longtable Dinner in Vancouver will be the largest dinner to date and will provide a dramatic oceanside setting. Araxi’s award-winning executive chef James Walt leads the charge and as a special treat, welcomes his Vancouver-based Toptable Group counterparts Andrew Richardson from CinCin, Frank Pabst from Blue Water Cafe, Quang Dang from West, and Thierry Busset from Thierry Chocolaterie Patisserie and Cafe for guest appearances.
2014 Longtable Dinner Dates are as follows:
Vancouver – Monday, August 4th at Bard on the Beach at Vanier Park
Pemberton – Saturday, August 16th at North Arm Farm
Whistler – Saturday, August 30th at Lost Lake Park
Presented in striking outdoor settings, Chef Walt crafts exclusive four-course menus that showcase his internationally recognized farm-to-table creations. With wine pairings by Araxi wine director Samantha Rahn, 2013 Sommelier of the Year, and service orchestrated by renowned restaurant director Neil Henderson, the Longtable Dinners salute both our culinary provenance, and our future.
Tickets are $175.00 per person per event and include a welcome reception, four-course menu, wine pairings, and tax and gratuity. The Longtable Dinners sell out quickly. For reservations or further information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 604-932-4540.
The GOODS from CinCin, Araxi, & Blue Water Café
Vancouver & Whistler, BC | This Spring, Toptable Group and its team of award-winning chefs and renowned wine and restaurant directors, is pleased to present a trio of exclusive wine dinners at Blue Water Cafe, CinCin Ristorante, and Araxi Restaurant on May 20, 22, and June 6 respectively. Get all the details regarding each supper after the jump… Read more
by Andrew Morrison | There have been rumblings about this for several months, but today it’s official. As of this morning, the Aquilini Group is now in full possession of Toptable, the collection of eateries developed over the past 33 years by legendary Vancouver restaurateur Jack Evrensel. The official announcement will be released to the media this afternoon.
Evrensel opened some of the most successful and impactful eateries we’ve ever had. These included them Araxi (Whistler) in 1981, CinCin in 1990, Blue Water Cafe and West in 2000 (two months apart), and Thierry in 2011. Many of Vancouver’s top bartenders, servers, sommeliers, managers, and chefs honed their skills under the Toptable umbrella – so many that they’re hard to count. And the staff they currently have on payroll are some of the best in the business.
“Our team has never been stronger nor this rich in talent,” Evrensel is quoted as saying in the official news release that is coming out this afternoon. He attributes this to the commitment and passion of the company’s “award-winning chefs, renowned restaurant and wine directors, and dedicated employees,” but at least some of the credit needs to be pointed his way. I’ve seen perhaps one of two restaurateurs in my life who are as dedicated to the higher standards of hospitality. What has set Jack apart, however, has been his penchant for managing from the background. There’s never been any personal glory-basking or attention-seeking. In all the years that I’ve been reporting on restaurants, I’ve managed to take his photo just once, at an Araxi long table supper on Pemberton’s North Arm Farm several years ago (see above). I remember him shifting his weight to one leg and tilting his head as if to say, “Aw, c’mon” like a little kid. I trust that he’s doing that right now as he reads this.
Evrensel will stay for the next three months in a consulting role to help manage the transition, and operations will continue as normal. On the phone yesterday, he couldn’t tell me what he was going to do after that. “I really don’t know. I’ve never really had a five year plan. I go with the flow. I’m at peace. I don’t know the future, and that’s the way I like it.”
I don’t expect the Aquilini Group – a real estate, development, renewable energy, sports, and entertainment behemoth - will mess around with a good thing. The managers currently in place at every Toptable property are at the top of their game, so the maintenance of the status quo sounds ideal.
All I know for certain is that Jack deserves a round of applause, not only for a long career of excellence, but also for finding and locking down the one deep-pocketed buyer who could afford to take his considerable life’s work off his hands.
Terms of the deal are not being disclosed.
Though Scout is decidedly Vancouver-centric, we often adventure north up the Sea To Sky highway for kicks. Whistler offers so much more than just the slopes its famous for, and both Squamish and Pemberton are magnetic small communities that seduce with incomparable scenery and genuine character. Each town (and the wild spaces in between) is an essential facet of the complete British Columbian experience, and we encourage our readers to get out there and explore each of them.
Right now we see the red of the Peak 2 Peak gondola; the tri-colour of the Whistler Mountaineer train; the peak of Blackcomb when it catches the last rays of the sunset (five colours); drooping epiphytic moss on the trees surrounding Alice Lake; the freezing Vodka Room at Bearfoot Bistro; the tri-colour of the exterior of Nita Lake Lodge; Australian green and gold; charger plates at Araxi; turquoise meltwater off Squamish; and a turkey vulture’s pink head.
BRIGHTLY COLOURED JACKETS FALLING DOWN MOUNTAINS
AN OPEN AIR OBSERVATION CAR ON THE WHISTLER MOUNTAINEER
THE LONG, DEEP “WUP WUP WUP” ECHO OF RESCUE HELICOPTERS
TOURS OF WHISTLER BREWING COMPANY
GREAT STACKS TO BROWSE AT ARMCHAIR BOOKS
PLAYING “AVOID THE BEAR” ON THE 40KM WHISTLER VALLEY TRAIL
DAWN SKINNY DIPPING AT ALICE LAKE
MASS CAVORTING AT THE CORNUCOPIA FOOD & WINE FESTIVAL
EXCELLENT FARMER’S MARKETS IN BOTH SQUAMISH & WHISTLER
STELLAR’S JAYS WAKING CAMPERS UP WITH HIGH PITCHED SCREECHES
A LITTLE SNAKE RUN & MELLOW BOWL AT THE WHISTLER SKATEPARK
GLACIAL POWDER BEACH CAMPING ON THE SQUAMISH VALLEY CAMPGROUND
CALM CANOEING ON ALTA LAKE
2,500+ AUSTRALIANS WHO HAVE LEARNED HOW TO TIP
OLYMPIC LEGACY CABINS AT PORTEAU COVE
THE PRETTIEST HOLE IN CANADIAN GOLF (14TH AT FURRY CREEK)
VINYL HUNTING AT KELLY’S ECLECTIBLES
OUTSTANDING IN THE FIELD SUPPERS AT NORTH ARM FARM
16OZ DELMONICO STEAKS AT SIDECUT
BIG GUNS SUPPERS AT ARAXI
HOT STUMPTOWN COFFEE & COCONUT BANANA LOAF AT PUREBREAD
FIVE COURSE TASTINGS AT BEARFOOT BISTRO
BREAKFAST BURRITOS AT ZEPHYR CAFE
BANGERS & MASH AT THE PONY
PRE-SLOPE WARM UP AT LIFT COFFEE
VEGGIE BURGERS AT WILDWOOD BISTRO
PINTS OF GUINNESS AT THE DUBH LINN GATE
DEEP FRIED CHEESECAKE AT HOWE SOUND BREWPUB
SMOKED SALMON EGGS BENEDICT AT FERGIE’S CAFE
SCHRAMM ORGANIC GIN FROM PEMBERTON DISTILLERY
- The great granite monolith known as the Grand Wall of the Stawamus Chief was first climbed in 1961 by Jim Baldwin and Ed Cooper. It took them 40 days to get to the top.
- Pemberton Distillery’s Lorien Schramm was named after the fair forest realm of the Elves in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord Of The Rings.
- Bearfoot Bistro chef Melissa Craig won the country’s biggest cooking competition, the Canadian Culinary Championships, in 2008.
- Squamish’s Britannia Mine produced 56 million tons of copper in its 70 years of operation from 1904.
- The “Sea To Sky” highway from Horseshoe Bay to Whistler is considered one of the most beautiful drives in the world.
- Whistler was named after the call of the Hoary Marmot, North America’s largest (and loudest) ground squirrel.
- Australians make up a third of the workforce at Whistler Blackcomb.
The GOODS from Araxi
Whistler, BC | In its quest to continually raise the culinary bar, Araxi – Whistler’s leader in exemplary food, wine and hospitality – has introduced a dedicated Oyster Bar just in time for the Whistler Film Festival.
As skiers and riders take their final turns of the day on Whistler Blackcomb, an elevated après ski experience awaits at Araxi’s new Oyster Bar. Every afternoon from 3:00 to 5:00 pm, guests can enjoy a platter of fresh-shucked oysters for $15.00 while they unwind in Araxi’s warm yet contemporary setting. Experienced oystermen Patrick Cantin-Gayton and James Tims, who shuck up to a thousand oysters every evening, will also explain the subtle differences from a list that counts up to a dozen varieties delivered fresh daily.
Sleek in design and clad in stainless steel with a classic marble countertop, the Oyster Bar is located adjacent to Araxi’s bar and lounge. A convivial place to meet locals and fellow travelers, or to simply enjoy recommended oyster and wine pairings, Araxi’s Oyster Bar is open late and also provides an oyster du jour special from 10:00 pm to midnight. Read more
The GOODS from Araxi
Whistler, BC | As summer approaches, we near another exciting season featuring Araxi’s famed Longtable Series. This year, we are pleased to announce a new location as part of the series – in addition to Lost Lake in Whistler and North Arm Farm in Pemberton, Araxi’s Longtable dinner is also coming to Stanley Park in Vancouver! The striking long table has a capacity of 300 people, and guests will have an opportunity to experience Araxi right in the heart of the city.
Award-winning Executive Chef James Walt will craft an exclusive four-course menu, showcasing his internationally recognized farm-to-table creations. Chef James celebrates locally sourced ingredients, and has built close relationships with the regional farming and ranching communities. As part of this year’s Longtable Series, an exclusive Farmers’ Market will be on site at the Vancouver and Whistler events, allowing guests to meet the producers and taste Chef James’ favourite ingredients in their raw form. Participating suppliers will include, amongst others, Root Down Organics and Pemberton Meadows Natural Beef. Guests attending the event at North Arm Farm can look forward to a guided farm tour with proprietor Jordan Sturdy.
Chef James says, “We are very excited about expanding our Longtable series into Vancouver, and offering three very special settings to choose from this summer. We look forward to introducing our guests to our valued producers and showcasing the vibrant flavours of BC’s harvest.”
Samantha Rahn, Araxi’s Wine Director and 2013 Sommelier of the Year, has invited some of the region’s top winemakers to partner for each dinner, giving guests an opportunity to meet and mingle with the industry’s finest talents. Each event will begin with a cocktail reception, followed by a magical family-style dinner thoughtfully paired with select BC wines.
A percentage of ticket sales will go to The Chef’s Table Society of BC, supporting regional chefs, producers and the local food industry. Get all the details and dates after the jump… Read more
The GOODS from Araxi
Whistler, BC | A passionate sommelier and world traveler, Araxi Wine Director Samantha Rahn has won the Vancouver International Wine Festival’s 2013 Sommelier of the Year Award. Nominated from the top sommeliers in British Columbia and Alberta, and voted on by a wide cross-section of industry professionals, the award represents the highest level of achievement in Western Canada.
Samantha exemplifies the modern sommelier in her approach to tasting, sourcing, and educating our staff and guests. With formal training from the Wine and Spirit Education Trust, and over 15 years of hospitality experience, Samantha is well known for procuring exciting, value-driven wines to complement Araxi’s extensive cellars.
“We are absolutely delighted that Samantha has been recognized,” said Toptable Group proprietor Jack Evrensel. “Samantha is enormously talented, and passionate in ensuring the enjoyment of every guest whom she serves. This award, coming on the heels of the VIWF Gold Wine List Award for Araxi, is truly representative of a very dedicated professional.” Read more
The GOODS from CinCin, Araxi, West, & Blue Water Café
Vancouver & Whistler, BC | This autumn we are pleased to present five extraordinary wine dinners at Araxi, Blue Water Cafe, CinCin and West. Our award-winning chefs will craft multi-course tasting menus to complement each evening’s progression of wines. Senior representatives from select wineries will speak to the history and terroir of their estates and winemaking methods. Get all the details on these unmissable evenings after the jump… Read more
The GOODS from Araxi
Whistler, BC | As a greatly anticipated annual event, this year’s Big Guns: Icons of the Wine World dinner will feature a spectacular collection of highly rated, rare and collectible wines. On Friday November 9th, seven stellar wineries from the world’s top wine regions will come together at Araxi for an exclusive one-off dinner event. Each critically acclaimed wine has been thoughtfully hand-selected by Wine Director Samantha Rahn, in order to deliver a truly unforgettable tasting experience.
“This year the wines I have selected represent complexity and finesse,” says Rahn. “We want to open our guests’ eyes and palates to some truly unique expressions of grape varieties and diverse regions in a mix of old world and new, tradition and innovation, rule breakers and trend-setters.”
Araxi Executive Chef James Walt will create a bespoke seven-course menu that showcases the excellence of Canadian produce, with standout dishes including Wild Mushroom and Local Beef Cheek Ravioli topped with generous shavings of White Alba Truffles. Guest will be treated to a parade of striking flavours such as Northern Divine Caviar, White Grace Cheese from Salt Spring Island and a tasting of Pemberton’s six varieties of Famous potatoes from Across the Creek Organics. Each course will be carefully paired to these exceptional wines… Read more
The GOODS from Araxi
Whistler, BC | Summer is nearly upon us – and at Araxi, it represents the start of an exciting season featuring our annual Longtable Dining Series. This year, the series will be set in Whistler’s picturesque Rainbow Park, which boasts stunning views of Whistler, Blackcomb, and Alta Lake – serving as the ultimate al fresco backdrop for this highly anticipated dining series.
Araxi’s acclaimed Executive Chef, James Walt, prides himself and his menus on local provenance, and has built strong relationships with Pemberton Valley’s farming and ranching community. As part of this year’s Longtable Series, an exclusive Farmers’ Market will be on site, allowing guests to taste Chef James’ favourite ingredients in their raw form. Participating producers will include, amongst others, Root Down Organics and Pemberton Meadows Natural Beef. The evening will begin with a cocktail reception, featuring wine tastings and a dedicated vodka station by Pemberton Distillery.
Chef James and his expert team from Araxi will craft an exclusive four-course tasting menu, aiming to deliver a truly memorable and unique farm-to-table experience. Chef James says, “We are extremely excited about this summer’s Longtable Series at Rainbow Park, and especially to introduce our valued producers. I believe the Farmers’ Market will give guests a unique opportunity to engage with some of our very best suppliers in an intimate and relaxed setting.” Details after the jump… Read more
The GOODS from CinCin, Araxi, West, & Blue Water Café
Vancouver & Whistler, BC | If cherry blossoms herald spring across the province, in British Columbia’s culinary industry, the change of seasons is marked by the Vancouver Magazine Restaurant Awards. Now in their 23rd year, and unique in Canada, the awards were convened on a fitting spring day – Monday, April 23rd – at the Sheraton Wall Centre. A panel of 18 judges acknowledged industry excellence as Araxi, Blue Water Cafe, CinCin, West and Thierry were honoured before an audience of leading restaurateurs, chefs, and service professionals. Details after the jump… Read more
The GOODS from CinCin, Araxi, West, Blue Water Café
Vancouver & Whistler, BC | Top Table Group’s restaurant wine lists were once again saluted at the 9th Annual Wine List Awards Luncheon convened earlier this afternoon during the 34th annual Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival. In attendance at the Luncheon were Top Table wine directors Samantha Rahn (Araxi), as well as Andrea Vescovi (Blue Water Cafe) and Owen Knowlton (West), each of whom has previously been awarded ‘Sommelier of the Year’, in 2009 and 2011 respectively. Blue Water Cafe and West were two of only six restaurants awarded with the highest Platinum Wine List Award, while Araxi and CinCin Araxi and CinCin were among a distinguished group to win the Gold designation. Read more