SOOKE, BC, May 25 /CNW/ - Sooke Harbour House owners, Sinclair and Frederique Philip, received the Lifetime Achievement Award at Vancouver Magazine's 21st Annual Restaurant Awards, along with the award for Best Restaurant on Vancouver Island. The awards ceremony took place on Tuesday, May 18th, at the Sheraton Wall Center in Vancouver.
"Long before the 100-Mile Diet, before Bishops and Ocean Wise and the word 'locavore,' there was Sooke Harbour House," says Christina Burridge from Vancouver Magazine, and while regional cuisine is now garnering much media attention, "every proponent of regional dining owes a debt to the locavore granddaddy Sooke Harbour House."
"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," says Burridge.
For the Philips, serving seasonal, regional foods at Sooke Harbour House was never about being in vogue.
"In 1979, when we started to serve local food, we had no idea that eating regionally and seasonally would become as popular as it is today," says Sinclair Philip.
"When we opened, we simply thought, with such an abundance of high quality regional ingredients, why would we need to bring in foods from anywhere else? We weren't trying to start a trend, it was just common sense, and also the way we used to eat when we lived in rural France."
Over the past 31 years, almost all of the food served at the Sooke Harbour House has come from its own certified organic gardens and farm, local area farms in Sooke and Metchosin, and the ocean around their doorstep.
"We still have some of the same suppliers we have worked with for the past 31 years," says Mr. Philip.
"We have established a regular supply of free range lamb from across Sooke Bay at Silver Spray Farm, local rabbits, Tamworth pigs, suckling kid, Vancouver Island bison, pastured Cowichan Bay chicken, and we serve rare breed animals from our area." On top of this, "we were perhaps the first restaurant in Canada to make widespread use of edible flowers, grown outdoors, twelve months of the year," he adds.
Over these 31 years, the Philips and their team at Sooke Harbour House have learned to work with roughly twenty different types of local seaweeds and large numbers of indigenous plants, berries, wild herbs and mushrooms.
The Philips have always tried to showcase the best foods from Vancouver Island.
"From the very beginning, we realized that it is important to support the production of small scale, artisan cheeses from Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands. I even have a cheese named after me; that is St. Clair, from Hilary's Cheese. We can now serve sheep, cow, goat and water buffalo cheeses most months of the year so why would we bring in cheese from the outside?"
"We have also worked to sustain local wines, spirits, ciders and vinegars, as well as meads from Tugwell Creek Meadery and Honey Farm in Sooke."
This year's Lifetime Achievement Award also marks the 21st consecutive year that the Sooke Harbour House Hotel has received the award from Vancouver Magazine as Best Vancouver Island Restaurant. The Philips credit much of this to their staff at the Sooke Harbour House.
Frederique Philip says, "I am very proud that our kitchen team has once again been honoured with this distinction for their hard and consistent work. It is very hard to maintain this level of quality day in and day out and I really admire them for their ongoing creativity and consistency. It is a pleasure to work with artisans who come up with new dishes that reflect the rhythms of the seasons, and who respect the intrinsic nature of the ingredients from our certified organic gardens and the sea nearby. We have been very fortunate over the last thirty years to have been able to work with such outstanding people."
SOURCE SOOKE HARBOUR HOUSE - HOTEL AND RESTAURANT
For further information: For further information: To contact Sinclair Philip please call (250) 642-3421 ext. 203 or email email@example.com; To contact Frederique Philip please call (250) 642-3421 ext. 308 or email firstname.lastname@example.org; Website: www.sookeharbourhouse.com