We’ve invited Tofino’s excellent Spotted Bear Bistro to join our GOODS section. They are now proud members of Scout, and as such we will be posting their news in addition to hosting a page for them on our curated list of independent goodness. We would like to thank them for their support of Scout, and for making British Columbia a tastier place to be.
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Head Chef | Cameron Young
About The Spotted Bear
The Spotted Bear Bistro is located in charming downtown Tofino just steps from the harbour, set against the backdrop of the lush mountains of Clayoquot Sound.
Here at the end of the road, be delighted by classic upscale comfort food from a menu that reflects the abundance of quality products available on Vancouver Island. Along with a cozy, intimate atmosphere and an open-concept kitchen, this locals’ favourite also deals in sophisticated cocktails, local brews, and carefully selected wines. The casually elegant dining room combines salvaged wood, seating at a yellow cedar slab bar, antique cookery and eclectic local art for a funky, friendly setting. Private heated patio seating is available in the summer.
Head chef Cameron Young brings a fresh perspective to former-chef-turned-creative-consultant Vincent Fraissange’s tradition of classic French-inspired cuisine. A proud member of the Tofino-Ucluelet Culinary Guild, the Spotted Bear focuses on the freshest and best in local seafood, specialty meats, and Vancouver Island sourced produce.
Chef Young’s seasonal menus include such delights as tuna tartare, braised local octopus, duck breast and daily fish. Also available are chef’s three- and five-course tasting menus, family-style dinners, and an unforgettable weekend brunch (Sundays only in off-season). On an innovative beverage list developed by service manager Meggan Leeck, find Tofino Brewing Company beers on tap, inspired cocktails, and specialty wines and liqueurs.
A perfect setting for an intimate dinner, and ideal for private group events and wedding dinners, the Spotted Bear Bistro truly offers the best of the west coast.
The GOODS from Shelter
Tofino, BC | Shelter Restaurant’s chef, Joel Aubie, will be competing on Top Chef Canada Season 2 and all of Tofino is anticipating the March 12th start date of the series.
Joel will be in Vancouver on February 16th representing Shelter and the Tofino Ucluelet Culinary Guild (TUCG). He will be working along side Nicholas Nutting (Wickaninnish Inn) and Bobby Lax (Community Food Coordinator for TUCG) at “A Taste of Tofino”, where they will introducing guests to the coastal ingredients and producers that make eating on nature’s edge such an inspiring and pleasurable experience. Learn more about the restaurant after the jump… Read more
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Charles McDiarmid, Managing Director
Warren Barr, Executive Chef
David Sider, Restaurant Chef
Jamie Wilson, Sous Chef
Martin Dean, Junior Sous Chef
Adrian Gatt, Food & Beverage Administration Manager
Daniel Vogel Food and Beverage Service Manager
About The Pointe Restaurant
Wickaninnish Inn, a Relais & Châteaux property since 1997, overlooks the Pacific Ocean from a rocky point on Vancouver Island’s rugged west coast, near the eclectic town of Tofino and Pacific Rim National Park. Two contemporary cedar buildings, set against a backdrop of ancient rainforest, boast an extensive local art collection (complemented by the neighbouring wood carving shed), and all rooms and suites offer ocean or beach views, gas fireplace, soaker tub and individual balcony. Uncompromising service, including a Clefs d’Or Concierge team, is a standard. The sole resort on Chesterman Beach, Tofino’s longest at 2.5km/1.5mi, the Inn is home to naturally-inspired treatments at its intimate Ancient Cedars Spa and refined West Coast cuisine at award-winning The Pointe Restaurant. Surveying the panoramic vistas from the westernmost point of Tofino’s idyllic Chesterman Beach, The Pointe Restaurant’s inspired West Coast cuisine and attentive service come gift-wrapped with 240 degree views of the Pacific Ocean, surrounding islands and wildlife. Much of the fresh seafood is fished from the very waters overlooked by The Pointe, and a longstanding focus on locally sourced, high quality ingredients is evident. Dinner is offered on a seasonal à la carte menu, but for the best of the best, try Chef Warren Barr’s weekly tasting menu. Daily brunch is a true treat and a favourite with local Tofitians. Out of the ordinary desserts reflect an innovative Pastry program where most everything – from bread to butter to scrumptious chocolate croissants are house made. An extensive wine list, recognized yearly by Wine Spectator magazine, showcases BC’s finest selections with a broad range of international bottlings. Over 100 Scotch Whiskies and a creative cocktail menu can be savoured in the comfortable On the Rocks Lounge. A true taste of Rustic Elegance On Nature’s Edge – and the West Coast’s best views – are on the menu at Wickaninnish Inn and The Pointe Restaurant.
Member, Tofino Ucluelet Culinary Guild Vancouver Magazine Restaurant Awards, Best Resort Dining Wine Spectator, Best of Award of Excellence (July 2011) Travel + Leisure Magazine, T+L World’s Best Awards, #1 in Canada 91.67 Andrew Harper’s Reader’s Survey, #7 International Hideaway out of 1,000 Inns (October 2011) Sunday Times Travel (London Times), 100 Best Hotels in the World, #1 in North America (October 2011)
I’m on the island tooling a new book for a week and then sticking around to MC the Clayoquot Oyster Festival). Posts will still be coming fast and furious, as I’m wired to the hilt for this trip and our contributors have their own keys. I hope to see some of you up there.
PS. We’ll be launching the new version of Scout shortly after I get back. Ooh, bells and whistles!
We’ve just returned back from a stay at Tofino’s stunning Long Beach Lodge on Cox Bay. It seemed like we’d only just left (we were there last month, too), but what can I say? There is no other place on earth that I’d rather be than on a beach in Tofino, taking it nice and easy.
The reason for this particular trip was to take in the 8th Annual Tofino Food & Wine Festival, which – as I’ve noted in past years – is always the coolest and most highly anticipated local event on my work/pleasure calendar. If you’ve never been before, the best way I’ve found to describe it is this: imagine if a bunch of hobbits high on Longbottom Leaf and Old Toby got together dozens of wineries, breweries, artisan food producers and top drawer local restaurants and set up stalls for them to dispense their awesomeness in a rainforest on a perfect June day with the occasional naked woman wiggling her painted boobs for extra fun and a band that plays on and on. That’s what it’s like for me at least. I suggest you go next year and create your own memories.
Between skating the skatepark with a brand new board (weird), watching a Rip Curl surf contest go down in front of our room (a pleasant surprise), going on shell collecting hikes (we found plenty of good ones) and just plain hanging with good friends (always wonderful), we were able to pay visits to some of our favourite scarf spots, including Tacofino, Wildside, Tough City Sushi, Sobo, the Long Beach Lodge’s beautiful Great Room, and for the first time ever, Spotted Bear. With the season now well underway, all were on their game. We had great food within the festival and without, as we have year after year. The good luck flows in this town, and we lap it up. Here are over 100 photos that Michelle and I took to give you a scattered idea as to how it all went down… Read more
by Bobby Lax | In this interview I sit down with Lutz Zilliken, owner of Tofino’s West Pacific Seafood and the Fish Store (because he smokes a beautiful fish and has a great big grin on as he does it).
Born and raised: Born in Weilburg Germany, moved to Canada when I was 13.
Education: Bailed after grade 11.
What brought you to Tofino? Salmon fishing and commercial diving for geoduck and sea cucumbers.
What keeps you here? In the short term my store needs fish cut. In the long term I love the summers.
The person in town you most respect and why? Spencer Vaird. I have never heard him say a single bad word about anybody.
The best place to go in the area that not many people know about? Cannery Bay. There is this dock with a slide. You got to go there to understand.
The number of times that you have moved away from Tofino and then moved back? Zero, been here since 1993.
Your favourite local artist? Can’t pick one so I would say Mark Hobson for his underwater paintings, Paul Sam for his jewellery and Keith Plummley for his beautiful wooden plates.
First place you take friends who are visiting? Out on the ocean.
Best drink in town? SoBo’s hand squeezed key lime Margaritas.
Best job you have ever had? Cod Jigger. You just had to reel them up nice and slow.
We recently took a kid-less trip up to Tofino to see and celebrate the launch of the Tofino Ucuelet Culinary Guild, the just-baptised association of west-Island cooks and restaurateurs.
First off, how awesome is it that Tough City and Ukie now have their own organised collective of “like-minded chefs, restaurant entrepreneurs and culinary visionaries whose mission is to work closely with each other and regional farmers, foragers and fishermen to provide, support and promote a unique culinary experience that relies on sustainable farm-to-table practices and the freshest local ingredients prepared with integrity and passion”? That’s pretty cool.
At first blush you probably wouldn’t think chefs would be great collaborators, especially here in hyper-competitive BC where many tend to be dictators in suspiciously guarded fiefdoms of their own making. Cooperation would seem anathema to the job description. But I’ve seen it work splendidly in Vancouver with the Chefs’ Table Society of BC (witness their Spot Prawn Festival, underway now, and the two Vancouver Cooks cookbooks). I also know that the bonds of kitchen camaraderie are some of the strongest in the human experience, somewhere on the band of brothers (and sisters) ladder between firemen and soldiers. So what if the towns are small and membership in the Guild is consequently limited? The fruits of their zeal and common purpose matter most, and I was therefore very keen to witness the TUCG’s first pluck, a fundraising dinner held at Tin Wis. Read more
Since I left university I’ve grown accustomed to treating September as the best part of August, a sigh that lasts for 30 days. Over the summer, however, I remembered that when kids reach school age, September reverts back to its original bummer state for the parents. That’s me now, with irrational worries pinned to pencil cases and lunch bags cancelling that second bottle of wine. With one in grade 2 and another still a year out from kindergarten, I’m looking at 13 years, maximum insecurity. Read more
I’ve put together a short video of our recent trip up to The Wickaninnish Inn (watch above). We were there for the annual food and wine festival, an event that I’ve been likening to the sort of fun you’d expect hobbits to get up to by virtue of its leafy, outdoors location and its complete absence of pretense and formality. Joie, Prospect, Nichol, Burrowing Owl, Elephant Island and many other BC wineries were in attendance, plus some great breweries like VI and Longwood out of Nanaimo, as well as Sidney’s Sea Cider ciderhouse (all thirsts suitably quenched). The booth fare was the best that I can recall.
The Wick, as per usual, made for a flawless stay. We had the good fortune of dining at The Pointe restaurant two evenings in a row (including a Road 13 winemaker’s dinner). It had been over two years since I’d eaten here, and on this trip I felt more familiar with the restaurant than ever before. I was also able to spend some time getting to know the two chefs. I’d been corresponding with executive chef John Waller and restaurant chef Nick Nutting for the past eight months as they are part of the Island contingent for the Chefs’ Table Society’s new cookbook (finished and soon to be printed!). As a consequence of these exchanges, I’ve had the ever-frustrating honour of having to salivate over their always creative recipes, and left very much pining for a food-centric Tofitian sojourn.
I wasn’t disappointed. Their cooking was mature and calculating (phenomenal saddle of lamb with natural jus and boulangere potato); obviously confident even when delicate (hot smoked arctic char wading contentedly in a shallow pool of elephant garlic soup, emboldened with beurre noisette and flashes of hazelnut); and grounded in but not imprisoned by the region (citrus-blasted rockfish ceviche with fresh rhubarb and orange). All top drawer. as talent was a test these boys never had to take.
View an interview with them below:
The Wickaninnish Chefs
We stayed pretty close to the Inn for most of the weekend. Visits to SOBO and the skatepark were our only real adventures out aside from the food and wine festival and beachcombing.
It was nice to have a holiday (sans kids), however short it may have been. Sigh…
This morning I was organising photos, video, and text for a post on my recent Tofino trip when a tidbit of topical, bummer news landed on my desk… Read more
After 12 years in business, Tofino’s excellent Raincoast Cafe is closing.
From the Westcoaster:
TOFINO — A critically acclaimed Tofino restaurant will close it doors at month’s end following nearly 12 years in business.
The RainCoast Café, which has received positive reviews in publications like the Vancouver Sun, Vancouver Magazine and Best Places in the Northwest, will hold its final dinner service New Year’s Eve.
“It’s had a good run,” said Larry Nicolay, who co-owns the café with partner Lisa Henderson. “Our hearts [are] in Tofino, but we have to do different things for the family.”
Best of luck in Vancouver Larry and Lisa!