Culinary Director, Whistler
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.
Chef Mark discovered his passion for food at a young age by cooking for family and friends. He entered the hospitality industry at the age of fifteen and has never looked back.
After graduating from the Chef Training Program at George Brown College in Toronto, Chef Mark began his fine dining journey in notable kitchens across Canada. On the east coast, he honed his culinary skills at Pickering’s Port Restaurant, Blue Mountain’s Oliver & Bonacini, Montreal’s Barroco and the Inn at Bay Fortune in P.E.I.
In 2013, Chef Mark made his way to the west coast to join Chef James Walt’s award-winning team as Sous Chef at Araxi Restaurant. After earning the title of Executive Sous Chef at Araxi, Chef Mark transitioned to Il Caminetto and took on the role of Chef de Cuisine in 2019. Today as Executive Chef, Mark continues to work closely with Chef Walt crafting Il Caminetto’s dynamic menu of Italian-local fare featuring the season’s best.
Chef Mark finds inspiration at every turn, from extraordinary ingredients, Whistler’s local producers, his culinary community and most importantly our guests’ experience.
When Chef Mark is not in the kitchen developing his team or experimenting with a new dish, he can be found enjoying Whistler life to the fullest – from snowboarding to fishing to foraging in the forest.
Vice President, Operations
With over twenty years of experience in the hospitality industry, Geoff is a natural leader with a passion for exceptional front-of-house service and authentic dining experiences. He is committed to providing an inclusive environment, ensuring guests feel welcome and at ease.
From assignments in the Caribbean with the Gansevoort Hotel Group to working with renowned global brands like Momofuku in Toronto, he’s successfully managed diverse teams of professionals to their highest potential and been recognized as the driving force behind multiple restaurants’ seamless and genuine guest service.
Tony Irace joins the Il Caminetto team with 20 years of hospitality experience from around the globe. With an infinity for guest relationships and experience, he recently spent time in Invermere, BC at Copper Point Resort as the Director of Food and Beverage, and several years working with Holland America Cruise Lines as a Wine Director on numerous ships traveling the world.
A trained Sommelier by the Court of Master Sommeliers, Tony spent time in Italy working at a winery and travelling to various European destinations. A former restaurant owner himself, Tony is committed to providing exceptional front of house experience to our guests.
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.”