Hidden Gem in the Comox Valley

Left: Blueberry Goat Cheese Salad, Right: Beef and Barley Risotto. Images by Maryanne Carmack

Last month my husband and I decided to go away for a night with our new baby. We hoped to discover a new escape with all of the comforts of home plus an intriguing culinary dimension. We drove north until we reached Crown Isle Resort and Golf Community. Spectacular snow-capped peaks created an exquisite backdrop as we approached the resort. Sprawled over hundreds of luscious acres, in its peaceful Comox Valley location, we had heard that this jewel offered meticulously groomed fairways, luxurious accommodation, conference facilities, and a wonderful dining room. Crown Isle is ideally situated close to Mount Washington for snow bunnies, the Strait of Georgia for beach lovers and Strathcona Provincial Park for hiking enthusiasts.


After settling into our cozy room we wandered up to Silverado West Coast Grill. Chef de Cuisine Andrew Stigant runs the kitchen, featuring a selection of West Coast favorites combined with local flavors. Chef Andrew is a Comox Valley native with years of experience in first class kitchens. A few titles on his resume include Executive Chef at The Tin Wis Resort, Executive Sous Chef at the renowned Wickaninnish Inn Pointe Restaurant and Executive Chef of The Hotel Grand Pacific. Since moving back to Comox Valley, Chef Andrew has been working hard, establishing ties with the local farmers, fisher mongers and butchers to strengthen the local food movement. Some of Chef Andrew’s favorites include the local oysters from aquaculture farm proprietor Holly Wood, Tannadice Farm for livestock and Eatmore Sprouts and Greens for organic greens. Chef Andrew even goes foraging himself whenever possible. When I was visiting he had foraged for local chanterelle mushrooms in Black Creek. According to Chef Andrew, the Baynes Sound region provides some of the best shellfish available.

The dining room at Silverado West Coast Grill has a beautiful atmosphere under a glass conservatory with a breathtaking view of the Comox Glacier and coastal mountains. Our server welcomed us with house made foccacia with blueberry butter and kalamata olive tapanade. Our first course was blueberry David Woods goat cheese salad with baby greens, pea shoots, candied pecans and a light blueberry dressing.  It was refreshing, crisp and cleansing. Our second course was Arctic surf clam and seafood chowder with double smoked bacon and basil oil. It was so silky and rich; we both scraped our bowls clean. Next came a hearty beef short rib and barley risotto with shaved Parmesan cheese. For our main course we had to try Cascade Mountain Arctic char. It was a perfectly prepared piece of char served with skin on (just the way I like it); the taste was as clear as the waters it came from – delicate, moist and tender.

Our little escape to the Comox Valley opened doors to all of the treasures the valley provides. We went to Miracle Beach and discovered sand dollars, ate fresh Fanny Bay oysters at Mac’s Oysters, and drove home with memories of a delicious meal, enthused by the creativity and appreciation of local delicacies of Chef Andrew Stigant.  I’d encourage everyone to drive a little farther north up the island and explore what the Comox Valley has to offer.

-by Maryanne Carmack

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