Restaurant: Sooke Harbour House
Category: Best Vancouver Island
Record: 15 Gold Medals between 1997 and 2012
In a time before a seemingly endless series of World’s Best lists, Sooke Harbour House reigned supreme as the one spot in Western Canada that could attract the international foodie set (a class of patrons far smaller than it is today). When Sinclair and Frederique Philip opened the restaurant-focused inn in 1979, there was no such thing as a destination restaurant in Canada. But through the early adoption of slow food techniques and a whole lot of sweat and passion they transformed SHH into one of the great rooms in the country. It was also one of the top training grounds for chefs: at various times James Walt, Brock Windsor, David McMillan, Melissa Craig, Jonathan Chovancek, Rhonda Viani, Andrew Richardson and Marc-André Choquette passed through the kitchen here. We started the category of Best Vancouver Island in 1997 in large part to recognize them and they dominated it for years, spreading a legacy of relaxed fine dining that continues in the province today.
“My time there came immediately after working in some of the best restaurants in France. What I learned at Sooke Harbour House shook me to my core, changing the way I cook and how I think about food wine and service forever. Sooke Harbor House during the Philip family reign was one of the most historically important restaurants in North America.”—David McMillan, Joe Beef