The new executive chef at The Summit restaurant drops a petal of basil onto a bed of mussels from a palette of ingredients built up around him like a garden.
Food, he says, is eaten with the eyes, before being eaten with the mouth, and it’s both artistry and accessibility that he says separates his cuisine from the pack.
“The details are important to me, because I want to be the best at what I do… But we don’t want to scare people away with prices,” Pichor says. “You can come in and eat fairly inexpensively… Yet it’s a beautiful property and we have a lot of talent in the kitchen.”
The restaurant is located on the expansive 96-acre property at the Villa Eyrie Resort at the top of the Malahat, Pichor’s new home, after extensive stints at the Four Seasons Hotel in Vancouver and the Sonora Resort off Campbell River where visitors once helicoptered in to dine.
“I learned the right way to do everything, right from the get go,” he said. “(But) I didn’t get into cooking so I could spend my life behind a dinner stove. I like to entertain.”
His breakfast, lunch and dinner menus feature local ingredients from Notta and Lockwood Farms from the Cowichan Valley, who supply fresh honey and eggs, respectively, to Northbrook Farm on the Peninsula where locally grown lettuce lays the foundation for their salads.
The Villa Eyrie Resort, an area Pichor compares to the Comeau Lake in Italy but in the Cowichan Valley, also plays host to robust gardens grown specifically for The Summit.
It’s here he fell in love with a property where sweeping elevated views change from minute to minute, creating an experience where cuisine is the top priority, but not at the diners’ expense.
“My food is my reputation, and I keep a high standard for myself, he says. “But here you don’t just get what you pay for, here you get more.”
The restaurant is at the top of the Malahat on 600 Ebadora Ln. For more information visit villaeyrie.com/summit-restaurant/.