Squaw Creek, Calif.
You could sum up Jacques Cornelis’ passion for food with two words: foie gras. “It’s my all-time favorite thing,” he says with exuberance. “Chefs make it for me wherever I go.” At Glissandi, the signature restaurant of The Resort at Squaw Creek where he is executive chef, Cornelis shares his passion with his guests. He serves his precious foie gras pan-seared, with roasted apples, bittersweet cippolini onions and Belgian endive.
The savory preparation is not the only nod to the 50-year-old chef’s Belgian roots. In addition to endive, ingredients such as salsify and Brussels sprouts appear on the menu, braising and roasting are common cooking techniques, and sauces tend toward flavorful wine reductions, coulis or jus. “My initial focus is obtaining quality products and then showing them in the best way I can,” he explains.
Before moving to Squaw Valley just over a year ago, Cornelis spent 21 years as “head foodie” at a collection of resorts in Southern California, including La Jolla’s renowned Rancho Bernardo Inn. Before that, he cooked in 2- and 3-star restaurants in Brussels and Paris.
While he may not be responsible for Glissandi’s dramatic mountain views, just about every other aspect of the elegant, 85-seat restaurant is under Cornelis’ control. Along with newly named chef Michael Plapp, he oversees product, preparation and presentation for every robust dish, from seared diver scallops with potato risotto, red-beet coulis and prosciutto to venison chops with baby root vegetables and chanterelle mushroom sauce. Food that, as he is quick to point out, “supports a great bottle of wine.”
Taking a break from his responsibilities, Cornelis reflects: “There are not many restaurants in the area with an ambience like Glissandi, with great food, a great wine list and such a prestigious location. The fortunate few can dine here every day. For others, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”
You ate up the mountain all day. Now it’s time to relax with refreshingly untraditional fare at hot apres spots.
THE BAR AT LITTLE NELL
Eat oysters, sushi, mushroom-truffle fries, venison skewers
Drink martinis, microbrews, “hot apple pie” (Tuaca and hot apple cider)
Eat “Sod-buster” flatbread, curry carrot soup and jalapeño poppers
Drink Moose Brew, “the Continuum” (Jack Daniels and Red Bull), Jäger shots
Eat Cheese fondue, smoked salmon, escargot, onion soup
Drink 20 wines by the glass, cosmopolitans and “Bouillon Russe” (a hot Bloody Mary with bouillon)
Real Food, Real Skiers
It smells so darned good. The sweet, smoky, slow-cooked, Southern-style (with a Canadian twist, of course) barbecue at Dusty’s Bar & Grill in the Whistler Creek Daylodge. It’s Whistler’s original watering-hole, albeit newly renovated, where you can slide right off the slopes, tie a bib around your Gore-Tex, and get down to some serious eatin’. A few years back, Dusty’s staffers honed their palates and skills down south in the barbecue belt of Kansas City, Austin and Dallas. Awakened to the powers of the “holy trinity” of spice, sauce and smoke, chef Kathy Monk adds soul to lunch and après-ski with sinfully delicious beef brisket sandwiches, pork ribs, pulled pork and chicken, plus fixin’s like baked beans and slaw. If you get hooked, take home some of Dusty’s Butt Spice Rub and season whatever you see fit.