Part II – Skoki Lodge, Canadian Rockies
Behind the Scenes – Skoki Lodge Kitchen
Banff residents who formed the Ski Club of the Canadian Rockies to manage the Skoki operation built the first log structure, which today houses the kitchen.
Parks Canada bureaucracy nudges this lack of advancement along. Electricity was removed decades ago and the lodge remains a link with another era. Guests don’t come to Skoki for technology; they want that “warm and cozy” log cabin in the woods aura, into a world from the past. Despite the lack of Edison’s invention, the food is several steps above home cooking on a wood stove.
Katie Mitzel, co-manager of the lodge today, has been whipping up imaginative meals with her staff for 13 years and soon will be releasing a book on her experiences, together with recipes (with over a thousand requests and mounting, the pressure is on for publication). (Update – the Skoki Cookbook is now out http://www.skokicookbook.com/ ).
Everything has a twist on the Skoki menus starting with the first meal of the day. After a mountain air sleep, coffee is on at 6 AM for early risers. A two course breakfast of cold and hot offerings is spread. Vast bowls of yogurt, pancakes made from unusual grains, M and M’s swimming in baked granola, hot cereals decorated with dried fruit. How come Mom never made it like this? Maybe it’s the mountain air. At the point of maximum satiation, it is time to lift off from the table and waddle over to pack a lunch for the days outdoor nature adventures.
Afternoon tea is available for hikers who sneak back for a snack and snooze. After a short break from an entire day of nearly continuous eating (except for brief hiking spells, of course) the dinner bell sounds. From the kitchen, the “main meal” emerges in a flurry.
You’re nearly exploding did you say? How can one resist Alaskan halibut with balsamic reduction or beef tenderloin with crab sauce, creamy horseradish, accompanied by Skoki salad (let’s just say Katie makes leftovers into mean creations), curried vegetables, sweet potato pie with goat cheese topping? Wandering past the kitchen earlier in the day one might catch a glimpse of Katie working up her biceps kneading flour into fresh breads made daily, alternating 4 loaves one day and 8 the next– molasses, flax, oatmeal, scones. Bring on the carbs! See more on this story at http://heathersimondsphotography.com/2011/08/20/skoki-lodge-a-time-honoured-tradition/ .