Alta Bistro and Audain Art Museum join forces for an art + dinner experience

The culinary and artistic experience includes an artistic visit to the Audain Art Museum and an elevated dinner at the Alta Bistro in Whistler.

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Alta + Audain gastronomic art experience

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Or: Audain Art Museum, 4350 Blackcomb Road, Whistler

When: Every Friday evening until September 3

Info: audainartmuseum.com/alta (marketing@audainartmuseum.com); aD altabistro.com/audain (604-932-2582)


Food aspires to be art. Art, on the other hand, does not want to be greedy. But Whistler’s Audain Art Museum has a soft spot for Alta Bistro, inviting the restaurant to its jaw-dropping property for dinner every Friday night.

This summer romance includes an upscale, artist-inspired four-course dinner and a ‘sample’ tour of the museum, as described by director and chief curator Curtis Collins.

This year, the event has become very affordable, with the menu reduced to four courses compared to the previous six. Collins is one of two tour guides showcasing the art of British Columbia and he also visits diners during the meal (groups are staggered for tours and dinner).

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I was touched by the visit because it presents a number of historical and contemporary objects of the First Nations. And in this time of reckoning with the horrors of residential schools, art opens the doors to thousands of years of First Nations culture. The most astonishing of the works is a contemporary wall-sized sculpture – The Dance Screen (The Scream Too) by Haida chef and sculptor James Hart – a plaintive howl against the current plight of the salmon., which has been at the heart of Haida culture.

The Dance Screen (The Scream Too) by Haida conductor and sculptor James Hart.
The Dance Screen (The Scream Too) by Haida conductor and sculptor James Hart. jpg

The museum, on a small scale and large on drama and intimacy, in a way amplifies the voice of art. “As a boutique museum, our strengths lie in the sculptures, the paintings of artists such as Emily Carr and Jack Shadbolt, the photographic art of Jeff Wall, Stan Douglas and Rodney Graham,” says Curtis. “These sample tours are exactly that. They are a taste of getting you back. Everyone who attends receives a free pass for this weekend and hopefully they will come back and enjoy the collection. The longer term goal is for us to become a steady stop.

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Better yet, it will trigger generosity. “Today we received an email (from an event attendee) proposing a major donation of a work of art,” he says.

After the tour, guests exit down the stairs to an open space under a floating part of the building, framing a meadow and a grove of trees. Alta Bistro chef and co-owner Nick Cassettari shows his skill in elevating the local bistro’s cuisine with a touch of whimsy. “It’s an opportunity to have flair and to exert culinary inspiration,” he says.

He cooked at Quay, one of Australia’s best restaurants, and staged in Michelin-starred places in Europe. In Whistler, he cooked at Araxi and Nita Lake Lodge. I have always loved his bistro-style cuisine and love to see his creativity run wild. And if you ask me, the fresh, aromatic mountain air adds another layer of deliciousness.

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Picasso-inspired dish by Alta Bistro.
Picasso-inspired dish by Alta Bistro. jpg

Picasso kicked off the dinner. “Towards the end of his life, he became quite hypochondriac and ate only porridge, fish and vegetables,” says Cassettari. The dish gives us a high-end hypochondria: an arrangement of wild rice croquettes, halibut, grilled octopus with roasted grape escabeche and Pemberton raw vegetables.

The second course evokes Andy Warhol with a panzanella salad served in a can of Campbell’s soup. Lift the box to reveal it: homemade bread, flattened, molded into a tube, then dehydrated and baked. Inside this cracker-shaped cylinder is a tomato salad. A waiter pours a concentrated gazpacho vinaigrette on it. “Who expects there is a salad under the box. It took a lot of work to figure it out, ”says Cassettari. He adds a little tomato stalk to the gazpacho. “It’s full of crazy aromatic oils. I crush some of it and put it in the blender. Good advice.

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Next: Vittore Carpaccio, an early Renaissance Venetian painter, the namesake of thinly sliced ​​raw meat. The chef has prepared a magnificent Wagyu beef carpaccio, served loose on roast and sliced forma nova beets (they are long, not round), smoked goat feta with wild blue spruce and sour cherry vinaigrette. Carpaccio, the dish, was first served at Harry’s Bar in Venice to a countess whose doctor recommended she eat raw meat, and is named after the artist who used lots of reds and brown, the colors of raw meat.

Curtis Collins, director and chief curator of the Audain Art Museum, and Eric Griffith, owner of the Alta Bistro.
Curtis Collins, director and chief curator of the Audain Art Museum, and Eric Griffith, owner of the Alta Bistro. jpg

And for dessert, aJackson Pollock scribbles sauces on a vegetable mousse of cashews and vanilla with a bold circle of orange from half a grilled peach.

Dinners, which run through September 3, cost $ 99, and food and wine pairings can be ordered by the glass or paired with each course for $ 49. The menu will change with another list of artist-inspired dishes on August 13.

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“Reservations are going very well,” says Eric Griffith, co-owner of Alta Bistro. “If you book at the last minute, you won’t get in.” In other words, you sleep, you lose.

ACCOMPANIMENTS

Some hearts grew during the pandemic. Organic Ocean – a supplier of sustainable, premium seafood to discerning, conservation-conscious high-end chefs locally and internationally – has stepped up its charity program just as restaurants and chefs have had to cut back significantly their orders.

The company launched an online retail store to sell products and keep employees and fishermen employed. It turned out to be a success. “Once it was clear that the Internet was going to be an integral part of our business, we wanted to integrate a social component. It’s part of our DNA, ”says Guy Dean, president of the company. “People think that sustainability is associated with the environment. We think it’s more. It’s environmental, economic and social.

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The company therefore created Neighbors Helping Neighbors, donating two seafood meals for each online order received. (A typical order is around $ 200.) He donated to the Vancouver Aquarium and the Kelty Patrick Dennehy Foundation which helps people with social and mental issues. Additionally, she has donated seafood to A Loving Spoonful, Union Gospel Mission, Goodly Foods Society, Growing Chefs, Squamish and Langley Food Banks, and The Stop Community Food Center in Toronto. Since the end of December, they have donated over $ 15,000 worth of seafood, or 5,647 meals, through A Loving Spoonful and The Stop Community Food Center alone.

Now they’ve made the charitable giving permanent, relaunching the program as Until We’re All Fed, Donating Seafood “For As Long As It Takes To End Hunger In The Community “. This, Dean says, looks like it will be “in perpetuity.”

mia.stainsby@shaw.ca

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