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Top Chefs: David Scoffield, Christie’s Mill Inn & Spa

There are many reasons to visit Muskoka: the small town ambience; the pristine lakes; its world-renowned golf courses. These days, the region offers another excellent incentive thanks to the tremendous growth of its dining scene. We asked some of Muskoka’s most prominent kitchen captains about their restaurants, their cuisine and the area’s emergence as a foodie-friendly destination. Watch this space for a new chef every week of the summer!

CHEF DAVID SCOFFIELD
Christie’s Mill Inn & Spa
, Port Severn

Can you tell us a bit about your restaurant and its philosophy?
The dining room at Christie’s Mill Inn & Spa is truly unique. Located on a peninsula, the room itself is circular in design with an amazing waterfront view. Our philosophy is to offer a culinary “experience” that, along with our spa, acts as a calling card to attract guests to the inn.

The Muskoka region is gaining popularity as a dining destination. Why do you think this is?
Muskoka’s proximity to the Greater Toronto Area allows people to travel a reasonably short distance, yet find themselves in a totally different environment from the city. We’ve also benefited from organizations like Savour Muskoka, which promotes the region’s culinary opportunities and showcases the many talented chefs that work and live here.

What are your thoughts on the local food movement?
The local food movement is great; however we are at times limited by the lack of variety of foods available. Year-round properties such as Christie’s Mill face further limitations in the wintertime—that’s simply a reflection of our climate and geography.

What culinary trends do you predict in Muskoka in the near future?
A good chef is always researching and trying to incorporate new ideas into menu development. It’s my hope that chefs will stay in touch with culinary trends, but continue to incorporate some local flair into their cuisine.

Describe for us the quintessential Muskoka meal.
Is there a quintessential Muskoka meal?  I think our region is as diverse as the guests that visit us. At Christie’s Mill you’ll find offerings ranging from Raz el Hanout spiced Peking duck breast to Thai glazed baby back ribs.

What are the benefits and challenges of cooking in a resort setting?

One of the great benefits at Christie’s Mill is its more relaxed setting, which allows for great interaction with the guests. Going to work everyday at a place like this sets the right mood for a positive and productive day. While it can be challenging finding local creative talent, it is rewarding to be able to inspire someone and see his or her skills develop.

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