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In with the new…cool.

Things are clearly heating up on the installation work at forage… and the end is deliciously close.

In Episode 7 of  The Next Course video chronicle,  we get a look at the beautiful FSC-certified millwork being used to create the ceilings, walls and banquettes in the dining room and bar.  Choosing this sustainable-source lumber helps ensure a healthy, productive future for local and global forests.

Chef Chris Whittaker is also clearly delighted to welcome the new, ultra-efficient walk-in refrigerator from Master-Bilt. With its extra-thick insulation and state-of-the-art control systems,  this LEED qualified unit will provide the ideal home for his freshly-foraged local flavours… while saving more than 30 per cent in energy costs versus the previous cooling solutions.

As opening day approaches, the next wave of installations, including induction units and other high-efficiency ENERGY STAR equipment from Garland Canada, will heat things up even more (efficiently, of course).

Look for our next video chronicle here very soon.


Bringing back the bacon…

While his new menu @ forage will certainly satisfy the growing number of diners turning to a plant-centric diet, chef Chris is not one to ignore those whose tastes turn to meatier issues.

Episode 6 of  The Next Course Video Chronicle follows Chris on a Fraser Valley foray to Gelderman Farms in Abbotsford.  With owner Jerry Gelderman as his guide, Chris gets nose-to-snout with the ethical, sustainable practices in place at this award-winning facility.

Meantime, the remodeling and upgrades to the restaurant and kitchen are heading into the final stretch.  Check back here often for updates and sneak-peeks at what will be one of Vancouver’s greenest dining experiences – forage at The Listel Hotel.

It’s peak season to forage…


Late summer/early fall is an ideal time to explore the fields and forests of BC for a bounty of tasty edibles, including wild greens, berries and, of course, mushrooms (though the weather’s been so unseasonably dry this year, pickings have been slim).

For Listel Hotel executive chef Chris Whittaker, however, foraging for menu ingredients is essentially a year-round commitment  – one that both preserves traditional flavours and promotes the future-forward value of our regional foodshed. On that firmly grounded kitchen philosophy, Whittaker and The Listel Hotel team made it official on Sept. 9th at Feast of Fields…. their new Robson Street restaurant (formerly O’Doul’s) will be named forage.

As you’ll soon discover in special “sneak peeks” here on The Next Course site,  forage will offer

a stylish, casually intimate atmosphere…serving innovative comfort food and beverages that make the most of top-quality local products.

Indeed, its new-model kitchen aims to eliminate one traditional technology – the can opener – as Whittaker uses his new gear to ‘put up’ seasonal and foraged products to flavour his menu creations any time of year.

In fact, new episodes of  The Next Course Video Chronicle accompany Chris on a few of his foraging farm tours around the Lower Mainland.

A more detailed guide to forage, its menu and features (and grand opening) are coming soon!

Stocking the pantry…

There’s nothing quite like getting your hands dirty to really connect to your food (it ought to be mandatory for anyone who eats).  Chef Chris Whitaker needs no prompting, though. He’s a willing volunteer, especially for those growers who keep his ‘cold pantry’ well stocked with the best of local flavours.

In Episode 5 of The Next Course Video Chronicle,  Chris spends some down-and-dirty time with an original force-of-nature in local dining, Susan Davidson. She and her dedicated partners in the Glorious Organics Co-op in Aldergrove, BC produce an amazing array of delicious edibles, including the now-famous Celebration salad mix. It has been regularly celebrated by chefs and diners for years at discriminating local eateries for its changes-with-the-season blend of as many as 30 varieties of organic greens.

Chris also drops in to see another established supplier of tasty greens, Paul Healey of Hannah Brook Farm is Ruskin (near Maple Ridge) BC.  There is a babbling brook on his land, and Healey’s ingenious irrigation system nourishes many delicious edibles, including Chris’s favourite watercress.

Enjoy your greens. Things get a little meatier next time out.


Foraging for…tradition

In this clip set among the seasonal bounty of a Vancouver community garden,  Chris talks about his commitment to sustainability…and its tradition.


An idea finding flavour…

Tasty discoveries are often conveniently local…with a bit of legwork.

Anyone who’s dined at the late-great O’Doul’s in recent years knows that one of chef Chris Whittaker’s talents is a flair for flavour.  His dishes seem to coax more pure flavour (and tasty combinations) per bite of ethical meats, OceanWise seafood and local produce than most.

Ever the humble cook, Chris will tell you that all those palate-pleasing flavours are already in the ingredients he sources, and that all he does is simply stay out of the way.  Well, there’s some truth in that… but not the whole story.

In fact, as you’ll see in this video and others tagged here as “Foraging for..” Chris’s personal quest for flavour has many roots AND routes.

Green side. Up.

A tasty way to make the Listel rooftop even greener.

Up to now,  we’ve had only two of the hotel’s major sustainability initiatives up on the roof,  where they’re visible to residents of nearby highrise buildings in the West End but actually enjoyed by all our guests.  They include a high-efficiency heating/cooling ventilation unit and an array of solar panels to pre-heat water for the hot water system.

Next, we’ll be adding something fresh and green to the mix.. one that will surely be enjoyed by both the neighbours and guests downstairs.

Chris will tell you all about it.