Venison and Beets
Established in 1981, Araxi is one of Whistler’s longest-lasting restaurants and still one of its finest. After Executive Chef James Walt joined in 1997, he fell in love with the incredible produce from nearby Pemberton and the menu quickly changed from Italian to farm-to-table — this being long before farm-to-table was even a thing.
Vegetables still drive the menu, including the meat pairings. In the winter months, venison is a constant. It’s usually red deer from Vancouver Island, but this year there will be prized Cerf de Boileau from Quebec as well. The lean game is simply crusted with salt, pepper and fresh bay leaf, cooked sous-vide and nicely seared. Invariably, it is served with beets and other earthy flavours (squash and sunchokes), maybe crispy polenta and perhaps fruit chutney. But the beets come first.
“Maybe I work backwards, but I just really like vegetables. And with venison, I like beets the most,” says Walt, who now also oversees Whistler’s Il Caminetto, Bar Oso and The Cellar by Araxi. “They taste better with protein and they just tie the whole dish together.” 604-932-4540 | araxi.com