'Eat the hill' next weekend

Food festival celebrates the best in local cuisine

Shawn Hayward shawn.hayward@thepacket.ca
Published on January 31, 2013
Shannon Oake photo

Clarenville's first food festival will put the best of traditional Newfoundland cuisine all on one hill.

Eat the Hill is a combination of dining experience and ski excursion taking place this weekend, Feb. 9-10, at Clarenville's White Hills Ski Resort.

Organizer and chef Chris Sheppard says he always wanted to bring a culinary festival to Clarenville and he hopes this one will be a big success.

"It's been tossed around in my mind for a couple of years," he says. "I wanted to have some kind of culinary event in Clarenville, to sort of showcase what we have to offer, especially with White Hills being such an anchor of tourism for the community."

Sheppard has lined up seven of the best chefs in the province, including Mike Barsky of Bacalao Nouvelle Newfoundland Cuisine and Roger Dewling, the head chef at St. Jude Hotel, to produce dishes at stations located around the hill.

Sheppard says he knows all the chefs personally and they're happy to have such a unique opportunity. Traditional food is the focus and people should expect a lot of dishes made using moose, rabbit, cod, root vegetables, and other Newfoundland favourites.

"They really want to bring Newfoundland food and cuisine to a higher level," he says. "It's about promoting themselves but also the promoting the province and the local foods we have here."

The top package includes a full-day ski pass on Saturday, a six-course dinner at the White Hill Day Lodge, another ski pass for Sunday, and access to the Sunday food stations. There will also be a hot toddy station for those who want to warm up.

Those who don't ski or snowboard can still buy a food-only pass.

Sheppard hopes a successful festival will make Eat the Hill an annual event in Clarenville. So far they've sold 80 tickets and he expects more to go once the marketing increases.

"We would hope that the success would warrant it continuing on for many years," he says. "I think there's a possibility there."