Tyax Wilderness Resort & Spa Story Starters
Tyax serves fresh local fare with fine French flare
After an epic day of cross-country mountain biking, hiking, canoeing or horseback riding amid some of British Columbia’s most spectacular wilderness scenery, guests at Tyax Wilderness Resort & Spa can look forward to much more than simply refuelling for another day of outdoor adventure.
Offering fine, organic, locally sourced cuisine lovingly prepared in classic French fashion, BC’s premier luxury wilderness lodge offers the best of both worlds - hearty yet fine dining in a pristine wilderness setting, prepared with continental culinary flare.
“For me it has always been about preparing every element of the menu from scratch - there’s love in every thing you do,” explains the Lodge’s Parisian born executive chef, Sebastian Vickers.
In collaboration with Randy Jones, proprietor of Pemberton’s award-winning Mile One Eating House, chef Vickers has designed a tantalizingly unique lodge menu that features regionally inspired cuisine sourced from most committed producers and growers, prepared from scratch and served fresh.
“It’s important for us to offer unique and interesting menu choices that celebrate BC products. ” says Jones, who defines his primary role as sourcing products that are brand appropriate from a culinary perspective and offering guidance through the process of menu creation. “Anyone can buy products from a big box supplier but we wanted to ensure that we were incorporating some great products from some great local artisans,” he adds.
Tyax Lodge’s unique location, where the Chilcotin Range meets the coastal forests only a few dozen kilometres from the Pacific Ocean, has inspired Vickers and Jones to create signature dishes with ingredients sourced everywhere from the nearby Pemberton and Lillooet Valleys to Port Alberni on Vancouver Island, where a local fisherman supplies them with Ocean Wise certified Albacore Tuna.
The mouth-watering results can be tasted in signature main dishes like Coastal Potlatch (Albacore tuna, BC spot prawns, halibut potato cake, Fort Berens white wine & vine ripened tomato broth), West Coast Halibut (Lodge smoked salt rub, fresh pea risotto, crispy buttermilk onions, red pepper emulsion, and micro greens.) and Fraser Valley Double Pork Chop (Cariboo honey glazed & fired grilled, sweet corn polenta, Okanagan apple & smoked bacon jam).
Similarly, the lunchtime favourite Cache Creek Natural Beef Burger (Smoked bacon, Village Cheese Company ale cheddar, and roasted garlic aioli, served with hand cut Kennebec fries or salad greens), is sourced from hormone, steroid and antibiotic free beef raised by a local supplier committed to natural grazing, environmental stewardship and animal welfare.
“I think our guests are engaged by the stories of where the ingredients of their meals come from, “ says Jones, pointing to another natural connection with the Fort Berens Estate Winery just down the road in Lillooet and deep in what was the heart of gold mining country at the foot of the mountains in the Fraser Canyon. “We've introduced Fort Berens wines into our house salad dressing and a few of our deserts,” he explains.
For chef Vickers, who spent fifteen years honing his craft in Whistler before signing on with Tyax Lodge earlier this year, their recent efforts to build a partnership with a local organic farmer represents the achievement of a long cherished goal. “This has always been my dream as a chef, that one day I could partner with a local farmer to supply all organic ingredients,” he says.
For lodge guests fortunate enough to savour the delectable results of Vickers’ Gaelic culinary passion and Jones’ expertise in sourcing the finest local ingredients, dining at Tyax Wilderness Resort and Spa is quite simply a taste of British Colombian back country heaven.
A Classic Canadian wilderness lodge in the “Land of Plenty”
When Tyax Wilderness Resort & Spa founder Gus Abel went looking for the perfect location he knew it had to be remote, on a pristine lake, and surrounded by mountains, with dry hot summers and lots of powder snow in the winter.
Abel also wanted a place steeped in colourful frontier history with plenty of epic-scale outdoor adventure potential. That’s what drew him to the South Chilcotin – part of the Gold Rush Trail – the range that divides the rugged Coast Mountains from the vast grasslands of the Chilcotin Plateau. Because it sits in a rain shadow, this spectacular slice of BC backcountry rich in biodiversity enjoys a dry, sunny climate, making it perfect for year-round outdoor recreation.
The South Chilcotin has a history of attracting those that want more from life, Abel found a community of adventurers who keep searching, even once they strike it rich. Free spirits who savour the good things in life, but want to live it a bit closer to nature’s edge. For Abel, the history and flavour of this area was was pure gold, with a high-country feeling you experience as soon as you ascend the plateau.
Abel eventually stumbled across a remote lake known to the aboriginal people as “Tyaughton” or “lake of the jumping fish”. On its north shore was a deserted old hunting and fishing camp with the name of Tyax Lodge. This location and its 275 acres of lakeside wilderness had all the ingredients he was looking for.
Realizing a dream
Built by a true wilderness entrepreneur and hewn from 8 trucks worth of peeled spruce logs, Abel’s creation, now called Tyax Wilderness Resort & Spa, was once the largest log lodge in Western Canada. It's authentic backcountry ambience soon struck a chord of Canadiana that resonated particularly well with destination visitors from Europe and beyond.
The need for a bush plane service on-site became apparent soon after the lodge's first summer of operation. So Abel launched Tyax Air Service that now flies lodge guests to remote alpine lakes for fishing, hiking and mountain biking, as well as on flight seeing tours over the vast Bridge River Glacier Fields.
Fast-forward over thirty years. Today, Abel's dream a lodge set amid a combination of mountainous terrain, sunshine and pretty much ideal weather conditions year round, has been realized in this luxurious family friendly getaway – not too far from the sophisticated reaches of Vancouver. And after extensive improvements – including adding a state of the art spa, upgrading rooms, introducing fine alpine dining and creating an intimate après ambience – the lodge that Abel built can today proudly claim to be one of British Columbia’s finest backcountry retreats.
To the aboriginal people this region was known as the “Skumakun” or “Land of Plenty”. Today, thanks to the vision of Gus Abel to build a classic Canadian wilderness destination, Tyax Wilderness Resort & Spa has revived that frontier spirit of endless possibilities, becoming a legendary backcountry destination cherished annually by thousands of guests from all over the world.