One of the country’s leading chefs, James Walt continues to inspire both his contemporaries and his guests, creating compelling regional cuisine based on local, sustainable ingredients.
His impressive culinary career spans some of British Columbia’s leading restaurants and his appointment as executive chef to The Canadian Embassy in Rome, an experience that has shaped the way he cooks today. James is Whistler’s only chef to cook at the celebrated James Beard House in New York City, where he has performed three times. James works closely with local farmers and producers, and personally selects the freshest ingredients to feature on Araxi’s menu.
Chef de Cuisine
Before returning to Araxi as Chef De Cuisine, Korean-born Jeff Park held senior positions at several of top Calgary restaurants: Blink, Rush and Kensington Riverside Inn, each recognized in enRoute magazine’s annual ‘Best New Restaurants in Canada’.
A graduate of the Art Institute of Seattle and Vancouver’s Dubrulle Culinary Institute, Jeff developed a successful career in art design in Los Angeles, before eventually pursuing his passion for cooking. Jeff shares chef James Walt’s commitment to the local community, especially local farmers and ranchers.
Born in North York, Ontario, Aaron Heath is a graduate of Toronto’s George Brown Culinary College. He first joined the culinary brigade at Araxi in 1996, and attributes his love of food to the backyard garden of his childhood home. Today, Aaron is inspired by smaller scale, artisanal baking – and modernizing traditional recipes. Aaron’s seasonal dessert menu showcases local orchard fruits and berries, as well as a premium chocolates and house-baked breads.
Glasgow-born Neil Henderson’s first taste of Whistler came in the summer of 1992, followed by several years of experience throughout the United States, New Zealand and various European ski resorts. Neil obtained his Higher Certificate in British Wines & Spirits in 2001, followed by his accreditation with the International Sommelier Guild in 2004. Neil was promoted to Restaurant Director in 1999, the same year Araxi was first named “Best Whistler Restaurant” at the Vancouver Magazine Awards. In 2012, Neil was awarded the “Premier Crew Service Award” by Vancouver Magazine.
A passionate sommelier and world-traveler, Samantha arrived at Araxi in October, 2007 following a tour through Burgundy. Previously residing in Banff, Rahn was wine director at the award-winning Maple Leaf Grille for six years where she led the restaurant to numerous recognitions, including Wine Spectator’s ‘Best of’ Award of Excellence.
Trained at the Wine and Spirit Education Trust and with over 15 years of hospitality experience, Samantha sources exciting, value-driven wines to complement Araxi's highly acclaimed, 11,000 bottle library. In 2013, Samantha won the title of "Sommelier of the Year" at the Vancouver International Wine Festival and was recognized with the “Premier Crew Service Award” at the Vancouver Magazine Restaurant Awards. An accomplished musician, Samantha is also a former snowboard cross racer, certified snowboard coach and avid downhill mountain bike competitor.
A twenty-year Whistler resident, Pat has been with Araxi since 2002. Pat began his hospitality career cooking at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise in Alberta. He passed the International Sommelier Guild Diploma in 2000 with the highest marks in the province that year, a testament to his refined palate and enthusiasm. Pat is a passionate photographer, fly fisher, skier and golfer.
Since 2001, Rene has welcomed both an international and local clientele to The Bar at Araxi. The Bar offers Araxi’s full wine list, martinis made from fresh produce, and a broad selection of single malt scotch and bourbons. Rene began his hospitality career at hotel school in Zurich, going on to gain practical experience at hotels in Lausanne, Zermatt and Villars. Before moving to Whistler, Rene held management positions at restaurants throughout Calgary, Vancouver, and Australia.
A native of Revelstoke, British Columbia, Tova honed her skills in hospitality at several award-winning restaurants throughout BC – before joining the team at Araxi in 2006. Over the years, she has acquired a strong passion for wine, and an ever-deepening knowledge and education through the International Sommelier Guild.