Long Beach Lodge Resort’s story telling chef... Chef Ian Riddick
June 3, 2013, Tofino, BC – Long Beach Lodge Resort’s Chef Ian Riddick has a story to tell about Tofino, BC’s dynamic culinary scene and he is going to use his team and local ingredients to tell it.
“I have only been here a few months, but what I can already tell is this town has drawn together like-minded chefs who want to cook to the highest level possible,” says Riddick, “ I think we all realize that if we want to keep living in this incredibly beautiful place we need to draw people here not only for the scenery and west coast adventure, but also for the story of our food, local ingredients, talent pool of chefs, First Nations culture and our collective ability to consistently put our best plates forward.”
Riddick joins Long Beach Lodge Resort as a team player. In his kitchen, the team creates the menu. And his team is large. It includes his kitchen team, the front of house team with the lodge, and the guests who stay there. In his words, he wants everyone, including his guests to demand that he, “show me something I haven’t seen before.”
One of his early stories is about when he first arrived at the lodge and saw the view from the kitchen that looks straight out to Cox Bay: “I grabbed one of our chefs and we headed out to grab a bucket of water,” says Riddick. “Although it takes time for crystals to naturally form, I showed him how easily we can make our very own sea salt. The ocean is such a focal point for the lodge, it has to factor into everything we do – from the energy it gives us, to the fresh seafood it provides. I remember hearing that First Nations say, ‘when the tide is out, dinner is served,’ and that immediately makes me think of seaweed and how we can use it in our dishes.”
While Riddick completed his formal culinary training in Toronto at George Brown College and counts the King Edward Hotel’s renowned Chef John Higgins as an early mentor, it was the Delta Hotels chain and a move to Whistler that informed his culinary style.
“I spent time in the outdoors learning how to forage for local foods, but as I continued my career in Vancouver and later in Sun Peaks, I learned that creating cuisine with flawless technique and the best ingredients is only part of the story. You need a team alongside you who pushes you, and a location that draws in guests who inspire you to expand the story of the destination through the food and dining experience we create.”
Very much a front of house chef, Riddick likes to spend time with guests and get there ideas of what to serve. For example, a story Riddick likes to tell is how he is creating ‘arrival food’ for Long Beach Lodge’s guests. “The drive to Tofino can be as nerve wracking as it is beautiful,” says Riddick. “I watch guests arrive wired, and unpack junk food from their car. They are tired and they want to relax immediately with a great meal.”
Riddick’s solutions include having his chefs cook up a barbeque at the Lodge’s BBQ station, where cottage guests can show up with plates in hand and bring it back to the serenity of their cottage and eat immediately, if they have arrived into the evening. Or, provide them with a seat in Long Beach Lodge’s iconic Great Room, put a glass of wine or local craft beer in their hands while they contemplate a menu that showcases the best of Pacific Northwest cuisine and watch the sun set over the best surfing beach in the region.
“We call our service style ‘recommendation’ – which encourages our team to interact with our guests and encourage them to try some of our flavours and dishes that they may have never tasted before,” says Riddick. “If they don’t like it, which is okay – we make them something new – but we want the food experience to be on par with our adventure and beautiful surroundings. A story all its own that they leave with and continue talking about.”
Under Riddick’s direction, food can easily be a chapter with any Long Beach Lodge Resort experience, including its new Marine Adventures, where picnic lunches in tiffin boxes can be purchased in-house and be a part of the experience.
About Long Beach Lodge Resort
The vision of Tim Hackett and famous for its iconic Great Room, with spectacular ocean views and cozy fireside dining and relaxing, Long Beach Lodge Resort is home to one of the best surfing beaches in the area. In celebration of its 10th anniversary, the new Surf Club Adventure Centre opened, providing guests with a fully equipped centre complete with changing rooms, rentals, hot tub and coffee bar for comfort and enjoyment. Long Beach Lodge Resort is set right on the ocean on Cox Bay, Tofino and provides beautifully appointed accommodations in a private, wild Pacific West Coast setting. The resort offers 41 lodge rooms, 20 two-bedroom cottages and a full service dining room, as well as meeting space and instant beach access. For more information, visit www.longbeachlodgeresort.com.
Kate Rogers, Tartan Group: 604-682-8811, 604-880-1494 (cell) or firstname.lastname@example.org
Deirdre Campbell, Tartan Group: 250-592-3838, 250-882-9199 (cell) or email@example.com