Chef Rod Butters is a Canadian culinary superstar. With a career spanning four decades, Butters has been at the forefront of embracing local ingredients, establishing a Canadian food identity and a pioneer in the now-celebrated farm to table movement.
After a sports injury sidelined his aspiring professional baseball career, Butters chose to be a chef. Raised in Port Coquitlam, his all-star Canadian resume includes earning Canada’s Red Seal certification as well as training at Toronto’s iconic restaurant Scaramouche before moving onto the now closed Four Seasons Toronto Inn on the Park.
After returning to the West Coast, Butters continued his climb up the culinary ladder working at the Four Seasons Vancouver and then as part of the opening team for the Fairmont Chateau Whistler.
The defining moment of his career was accepting the chef de cuisine position for the opening of The Pointe Restaurant at the Wickaninnish Inn in Tofino in 1996.
Within a year of opening The Pointe Restaurant, this Canadian trained chef had achieved one of the world’s highest honours, the coveted Relais & Châteaux designation. Chef Rod Butters had succeeded in establishing Tofino as one of the world’s must-visit culinary destinations and become one of Canada’s most influential chefs.
In 2000, he and business partner Audrey Surrao chose the Okanagan to launch their own restaurant. For a chef focused on local ingredients, the Okanagan was a paradise of orchards, farms and ranches as well as a blossoming local wine industry. It was a well-chosen decision. Chef Rod Butters along with business partner Audrey Surrao now operate four must eat at restaurants in the Okanagan including RauDZ, micro bar & bites and Sunny’s: A Modern Diner.
In 2017, he released his first cookbook, The Okanagan Table: The Art of Everyday Home Cooking with Figure 1 Publishing. Chef Rod Butters once again hit a homerun. The Okanagan Table cookbook has become a Canadian best-seller. The cookbook has also received numerous local and international awards including Gourmand’s “Best Local Cookbook in Canada.”
The cookbook is easy to use and showcases 270 recipes divided into sections “Sunrise, Midday, Sunset and Twilight”. For devoted fans, Butters shares some of his restaurants’ most coveted recipes including RJB Blackberry Ketchup, Spring Pea Soup, Crab Cappuccino and Chickpea-Battered Fish and Chips. For those who live in the Okanagan, Butters has also shared his beloved list of local farmers and food purveyors.
From simple recipes such as “World Famous Pancakes”, “Summer Greek-Style Salad”, “Oak-Crusted Arctic Char” and “Turkey Nut Burgers” to more complex recipes such as “Venison Carpaccio”, “Beef Tenderloin with Smoked Salmon” and the legendary “RJB steak sandwich” there are recipes for every skill and level.
Fabulous local wine or beer pairings are provided for each recipe by Audrey Surrao and the Twilight section features several “farm to glass” cocktails, many created by well-known bartender Gerry Jobe.
For home chefs, nothing says Canadian comfort like a plate full of fluffy pancakes topped with butter and syrup. This is a recipe your kids will love making with you.
“My World-Famous Pancakes”
Makes 8 to 12 pancakes.
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
2 large eggs
¾ cup vanilla or fruit-flavoured yogurt
½ cup whole milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
Unsalted butter or grapeseed oil for frying
1½ cups chopped seasonal fruit or berries, plus extra to serve
Your favourite syrup to serve (Try Summerland Sweets Syrups and Jams)
Note: Do not mix the fruit into the batter. Not only will it discolour the pancakes, it will cause uneven distribution.
First In a medium bowl, sift the dry ingredients together.
In a separate bowl, combine the eggs, yogurt, milk and vanilla and mix well. Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, leaving the batter a bit lumpy.
Using a griddle or large non-stick pan over medium heat, heat 1 tbsp butter or oil. Ladle the batter into the pan to whatever size desired. Scatter 2 tbsp fruit over each pancake and cook for 4 to 6 minutes, until the bottom is golden. Flip and cook another 3 to 4 minutes, until cooked through. Transfer to a plate and keep warm in the oven at 175°F. Repeat with the remaining batter.
Serve pancakes with more fruit and your favourite syrup.
— Claire Sear is a Vancouver-based food, drink & lifestyle writer
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