Our Sustainability Journey: The Pointe Restaurant

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Carmen Ingham
By Carmen Ingham, Executive Chef
Newsletters24 June 2022

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Mindfulness of our environment is one of our integral values here at the Wickaninnish Inn. Inspired by the desire to protect the incredible place we live and work in, we strive to approach every aspect of our operations through the lens of sustainability. These goals have never been about greenwashing but rather our active dedication and journey to continuous learning and growth. As with all our departments, our kitchen at The Pointe Restaurant takes this commitment to green practices in stride, implementing our own initiatives to help move the needle on our pledge to sustainability.

Wherever possible, we look to implement the most sustainable practices. One of the ways in which we do this is through our collaborative work with the Tofino Ucluelet Culinary Guild - a non-profit organization that connects Vancouver Island farmers, fishers, foragers and food producers to families, restaurants, groceries and businesses on the west coast - as one of the Guild’s founding members. The Inn has also proudly achieved a Green Leaders status through the Vancouver Island Green Business Collective, earned by maintaining a green level score for at least three consecutive years. The Pointe Restaurant has been growing its score since we started working with the VIGBC in 2016, receiving 47 points in 2021, the highest score a restaurant has ever achieved. In addition to the campaigns we support, our local Surfrider Chapter recognizes the Inn as an Ocean Friendly Business, an award highlighting our initiative to reduce our plastic footprint.

As a hotel, one of our challenges is balancing guest expectations while moving toward what we feel are best environmental practices. For this reason, you may notice certain popular produce items such as avocados are missing from the menu due to their unfavourable farming practices. While we use local berries and produce brought to us by the Tofino Ucluelet Culinary Guild as much as they are available, we still bring in imported ones when needed.

Despite the pressure to offer certain familiar items from the Atlantic, such as scallops or lobster, we’ve nixed all seafood that isn’t 100% local, including farmed salmon and farmed scallops. We have an incredible relationship with Naas Foods, an Indigenous-led seafood company in Tofino, whose primary goal is to ensure that all the seafood they process is caught and sold here rather than being shipped away. All of our seafood comes to us as fresh as it gets; delivered to our kitchen in a tote with no styrofoam packaging on the day it was caught, and on your plate soon after!

Quite unique for a hotel, we also receive whole lamb and sides of pork from Vancouver Island on a regular basis. While using the entire animal rather than solely ordering premium cuts from outside of British Columbia is certainly more labour intensive, it presents the opportunity to approach meat in both a more sustainable and creative way, ensuring nothing is wasted and inviting our kitchen team to expand the menu offerings using different cuts of meat in innovative ways.

The world is ever-changing, and so are we. And while we’re far from perfect, we recognize that every challenge presents the invitation for evolution. We’re excited to continuously implement better, more sustainable practices in every aspect of the inner workings of the Wickaninnish Inn in the hopes of doing our part in preserving the oceans and forests we love for generations to come.

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