Special to the Review
Revelstoke has a veritable love affair with food. We enjoy fresh, local produce from markets and gardens, and many restaurants reflect these flavourful ingredients in their menus.
The chefs creating these unions are just as passionate, like Kelsey Pilbrow of the Craft Bierhaus.
“I enjoy adding dishes to the menu that open up people’s palates to different flavours,” she said. “If customers try it or get educated by it then I’m doing my job.”
|Peppercorn elk with raddish, olives, lemon and juniper. (Beirhaus photo)|
From New Zealand, Pilbrow moved to Revelstoke with her partner after spending a winter snowboarding here. They spent a summer in Whistler and then returned to their first love, where Pilbrow secured a sous-chef position in time to help open Craft Bierhaus with owner Trevor Roberts and then-head chef Sean Whelan in December 2015.
“Opening a restaurant is always a risk but I saw an opportunity to do something different,” she said.
That different is the Bierhaus’ signature mac-and-cheese dishes. Pilbrow also likes to add items to the menu “to showcase food for what it is, not as part of a dish,” for example, beef cheek, a nod to her New Zealand roots.
“If you don’t cook it properly, it will turn out horrible. But if you do, it will melt in your mouth.”
Changing up the menu and focusing on fresh also keeps the staff fresh.
“There’s nothing worse than going to work and doing the same old thing for years,” Pilbrow said.
Pilbrow’s relationship with food started early. She grew up cooking with her grandmother.
“It sounds very cliché,” she said. “But that’s what it was. My parents worked a lot and I was often cooking dinner.”
Offered a three-year chef’s apprenticeship at 16, Kelsey worked in New Zealand and Australia in fine-dining restaurants for a few years then took her craft farther afield.
“It’s a trade that’s been great to travel with because everyone needs to eat,” she said, laughing. “It allows a lifestyle where you can travel and focus on a career.”
Pilbrow has always had a lot of input into the Bierhaus menu, and becoming head chef has allowed her almost full license. Roberts notes that Pilbrow “has an amazing ability to create [new dishes], but not always the manpower to do it.”
|This summer The Bierhaus also has a patio in the front, featuring keg stools created by owner Trevor Roberts. (Rana Nelson/Revelstoke Review)|
Like many businesses, the Bierhaus struggled for staff last summer, and it seems this summer may be the same. But don’t let that stop you from enjoying some goodies on their new front patio, with the wood tables and keg-stool tops handmade by Roberts himself.
And what would a story about the Bierhaus be without a mention of the beer? When Roberts moved to Revelstoke in 2014, Budweiser was the number one beer in town and Old Milwaukee was number two.
“No one had heard of sours,” he said.
A short five years later, the Bierhaus has three sours on tap, rotates draughts from Mt. Begbie and other B.C. breweries, and offers non-alcoholic Kootenay kombucha and housemade ginger beer.
Asked about her favourite food, Pilbrow chose “Asian fusion/seafood. I’m more of a savoury kind of a gal.”
The Bierhaus features grilled whole mackerel and pan-seared ling cod (and chocolate and Saskatoon berry molten cake), and Pilbrow said to expect more seafood this summer.