“If you want to take your wife out for an evening, relax, enjoy good food and a beautiful wine – this is where you want to come.”
That’s how Shelley Hayton, the new chef at Painted Turtle Restaurant, describes her mission.
A chef for 32 years, Hayton has not cooked in the North Thompson Valley for over 10 years.
However, those readers who were around when 52 Ridge (now Clearwater Valley KOA) first opened about 25 years ago might remember that, at certain times of the year, the resort was home to up to 200 silviculture workers.
Tree-planters are often finicky and knowledgable eaters and 52 Ridge at that time had a reputation for serving awesome meals (as it does today, by the way).
Shelley Hayton was the person in charge of the kitchen.
Since then she’s worked in a variety of other venues, including some five-star restaurants.
The meals she plans on serving at the Painted Turtle will be somewhat up-market from what she provided at 52 Ridge, but with the same emphasis on fresh, local and wholesome food, she says.
“It won’t be a large menu but it will be all good,” said Hayton.
Items will include entrees such as Moroccan pork tenderloin – done in apricot brandy, chili, cumin and a coffee reduction.
“You have to taste it to believe it,” said the chef.
Herbs will all be fresh and added at the end of cooking to preserve their delicate flavor, she promised.
Originally from Vancouver Island, Hayton has known Jon Kreke, co-owner of the Painted Turtle and Dutch Lake Resort, since she was in Grade 4.
“Chris and I are very excited to have Shelley come and lead the team here,” Kreke said.
This upcoming tourist season looks promising, he added. The low Canadian dollar has resulted in strong bookings so far.
This will be the Krekes 26th season at the resort.