Lifetime Achievement Award 2010
June 1, 2010
Long before the 100-Mile Diet, before Bishop’s and Ocean Wise and the word “locavore,” there was Sooke Harbour House. When Sinclair and Fréderique Philip opened their inn 31 years ago on the edge of Whiffen Spit outside Victoria, fine dining was escargots, duck à l’orange, and Black Forest cake—continental cuisine now seems a lifetime away. They planted a garden to grow the salad greens—radicchio, arugula, mesclun—they’d become used to in France. Almost from the beginning, everything on guests’ plates came from local farmers, foragers, and fishermen, as well as their ever-expanding garden. James Walt, executive chef at Araxi, recalls the intellectual discipline the two brought to the kitchen. “Every ingredient we used we discussed, then we experimented, then we changed the menu every day.” Sooke Harbour House has been celebrated by everyone from Condé Nast Traveler to Wine Spectator, and has drawn discerning guests from around the world. But it’s the Philips’ three decades of infusing visitors, chefs, and staff with their knowledge of place that has helped define West Coast food and earned them this award.