Carmen Ingham, executive chef at The Pointe Restaurant at The Wickaninnish Inn in Tofino, B.C., is passionate about embracing wild ingredients and capturing the bounty of each season to create fresh and flavourful dishes with extra creativity and care.
“The Pointe Restaurant showcases the best produce from the farms of Vancouver Island, as well as the forest and ocean that surrounds the Wickaninnish Inn,” says Ingham. “I ensure every dish has both familiar and new elements to it, with a strong sense of the season and terroir.”
The Pointe Restaurant offers small plates and tasting menus for both brunch and dinner, with multiple changes throughout the year to highlight the seasons. The Beachcomber Brunch menu ($65 for three course) includes a selection of pastries and beverages, while the Late Winter dinner tasting menu offers five courses for $125. Small-plate offerings include smoked mussels ($28), braised wild-boar risotto ($30), grilled sablefish ($50) and beef tenderloin or bavette ($58).
Prior to taking the helm at The Wickaninnish Inn, Ingham was head chef at award-winning Olo Restaurant in Victoria, B.C. He also held positions at Villa Eyrie Resort in Malahat, B.C as chef de cuisine; Victoria’s Meat & Bread and Clarke & Co. as head chef; chef de partie at Vancouver’s Pourhouse Restaurant; and sous chef at Relais & Châteaux Sonora Resort in Sonora Island, B.C.
“I spent the earlier years of my career working in a diverse range of restaurants to develop a broad skillset. I was drawn to the high-pressure team environment and found it to be an extremely rewarding profession,” says Ingham. “Eventually, I wanted to move away from the city to an inspiring natural environment.”
Ingham has always had a deeply personal connection with nature. In fact, one of his earliest food memories centres on fishing and cooking the catch over a fire. He has also spent time in Washington, D.C., California, Italy and Japan, learning a wide range of cooking techniques.
“Growing up in a city with a lot of culinary diversity, travelling and being outdoors [have influenced the development of my culinary style]”, says Ingham.
Ingham has received numerous accolades. In 2013, he placed second in the first-annual Hawksworth Young Chef Scholarship, a Canadian cooking competition for chefs under the age of 28. At the same event, Ingham was recognized as a Le Creuset Rising Star. In 2016, Ingham was one of the top-10 Canadian chefs at the San Pellegrino Young Chef Competition.
In the coming months and years, Ingham will continue “to develop and refine our cuisine at The Wick, while also improving the work-life balance for myself and my team.”
By Nicole Di Tomasso