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FOODIE Q&A: James Walt

You are: James Walt, executive chef, Araxi Restaurant + Bar (Whistler Village Square, ). Describe the theme of your restaurant: We like to describe Araxi as regional cuisine.

You are: James Walt, executive chef, Araxi Restaurant + Bar (Whistler Village Square,

Describe the theme of your restaurant: We like to describe Araxi as regional cuisine. Our focus is produce from the surrounding Pemberton farms and fish, meat and game from the pastures, oceans and lakes of British Columbia.

We might also find you dining out at... Sachi Sushi with my family on a day off.

Your dream dinner date (spouses and family members dont count): It would have to be a table of four: Robertson Davies for conversation and humour; Steve McQueen for a lot of cool; and Liv Tyler for beauty and grace I met her one time and almost melted.

Last nights dinner: Angel hair pasta with olive oil, chilies and lots of parmigiano when I got home from work, alone, as I couldnt convince my wife to wake at 12:30am her loss.

If you had a date with the electric chair, your last meal order would be... dont they use lethal injection now? The chair would be nasty. I would start with a salad of the juiciest tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella and arugula with smoked Maldon salt and vincotto. Next would be Peking duck with crispy skin, hoisin and mandarin pancakes. Dessert would be apple tarte tatin made by Thierry Busset with vanilla ice cream.

Youd gag if you ate . . . melons; I dont know what happened when I was a kid, but something happened.

Youd be happiest at Happy Hour with... rye with ginger ale and a good squeeze of lime juice, or a Tiger (love this beer).

Secret treats: Frozen treats, i.e. Cyclones, Mr. Freezes, or have you ever eaten a Rolo cone? Damn.

Youd take a long flight in economy class for that one meal in: Florence, Italy at Enoteca Pinchiorrio one of my favorite places in the world. Opened the year I was born and really reflects all that is great about Italy. Ingredient-driven food with old world charm in the most beautiful city I know.

Culinary confession: I was making a wedding cake at Sooke Harbour House and realized that I had failed to add the baking powder, after the three large tiers were already in the oven. I could have donated the end product to the local baseball league to substitute for bases.

Menu suggestion for a hassle-free, sit-down dinner party for six: I would start with a butternut squash soup (you can make it the day before to reheat when guests arrive), topped with crème fraîche and toasted pumpkin seeds; roasted leg of Salt Spring Island or Cutter Ranch lamb (season with sea salt, hearty herbs, lemon zest and olive oil the night before you roast it this will develop the flavours); serve with buttered Pemberton potatoes and a green salad with some mint leaves added; for the dessert: red wine and spiced poached pears (again made the day before to let them mellow overnight in the fridge); add shortbread cookies, ice-cream or even a sharp cheese to serve.

Five must-have ingredients in your kitchen: Extra virgin olive oil, kosher salt, European-style butter, free run eggs and good chocolate.

As part of Dine In Whistler, which runs until June 30, Araxi will be offering a special four-course menu for $49. Check out the menu at