One of the country’s leading chefs, a cookbook author and a “farm-to-table” pioneer, James Walt continues to inspire his guests, creating compelling regional cuisine based on local, sustainable ingredients. A graduate of the Stratford Chefs School, his impressive culinary career spans across several of British Columbia’s leading restaurants including a four-year tenure at Sooke Harbour House and as opening chef to sister restaurant Blue Water Cafe in Vancouver. James was also Executive Chef to the Canadian Embassy in Rome, Italy; an experience that helped shape 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 on three separate occasions. He has been voted best chef in Whistler by Pique Newsmagazine and was inducted into the British Columbia Restaurant Association Hall of Fame in 2011.
James continues to oversee the kitchens of Araxi, The Cellar by Araxi and Bar Oso in addition to his new duties at Il Caminetto.
James lives in nearby Squamish where he works closely with local farmers and producers and personally selects the freshest ingredients featured on the Il Caminetto menu.
Prior to entering the food service industry, Ontario native, Darin Newton earned his degree in psychology and human resources at Bishops University. More recently, he has completed the International Sommelier Guild Diploma (top of class in service), Certified Sommelier level through Guild of Masters and the advanced Wine and Spirit Education Trust (London, UK) diploma with Distinction.
Having cut his teeth at preeminent restaurants like Il Caminetto Di Umberto and The Rimrock Cafe, Darin’s Whistler-focused training has molded his experience and expertise in resort dining. Darin has served as Restaurant Manager and Sommelier at Araxi Restaurant + Oyster Bar since 2015, where he has developed a loyal following, and in November 2016, was promoted to the role of Senior Restaurant Manager.
Darin’s education and personable manner have served him well. “My passion comes from the dynamic nature of the industry – it is ever-changing, and I always look forward to finding innovative wine pairings and to interacting with our diverse clientele. I want our guests—both local and international—to take away a personal connection,” says Darin of his dedicated attention to detail in service.
Skiing and snowboarding by winter and mountain biking by summer, Darin is also an experienced rock climbing guide, having scaled peaks in the Whistler area, as well as many others across the world.
Following a six year hiatus in Europe, working in some of France’s finest dining rooms and wine consultancies, Leagh has returned to British Columbia with a vast knowledge of wine and a multitude of awards.
Leagh originally studied classical trumpet before travelling to Italy and then settling in France to pursue his other grand passion. He worked as a sommelier at Pierre Gagnaire’s Michelin 2-Star La Grande Maison and as professor at the CAFA International Sommelier school. Most recently Leagh was Chef Sommelier at the renowned Le Chapon Fin where he managed a 10,000 bottle, 15th-Century wine cellar that was awarded Best Wine List in Bordeaux as well as Top Three Best Restaurant Wine Lists in France by Terre de Vins magazine.
Leagh was the first prize winner at the Bordeaux Sommelier Competition, the first Canadian to earn the ASI International Sommelier Diploma (Paris, 2018), and one of five finalists for the Master of Port competition (IVDP, Porto 2018). He was also singled out as one of only three finalists at the BC Sommelier of the Year (Vancouver, 2019).
An active athlete when not playing his trumpet or piano, Leagh is now ensconced in Whistler where he enjoys snowboarding, tennis and soccer.
Like many of his peers at Il Caminetto, Ryan came from afar (in his case Fredericton, New Brunswick), for a six month visit, fell in love with Whistler, and is still here 13 years later! A highly experienced restaurant manager, Ryan worked for eight years at the former Il Caminetto and Trattoria di Umberto, then left to polish his wine knowledge at the Okanagan’s Painted Rock Winery near Penticton. Ryan enjoys both loyal local and long distance followings for his enthusiasm and deep wine knowledge, and spends his winter days-off barrelling down the hill on his snowboard.
“I love the refreshed Il Caminetto, and working with my colleagues, both old and new,” he says. “But my real joy is arranging marriages of Chef Walt’s wonderful modern Italian dishes with just the right bottle, and lighting up a guest’s smile.”