Viamede Resort — Emerging Foodie Mecca

“I’m here to make people happy.”

 

Ben Samänn, owner, General Manager and fan of golden retrievers, bought Viamede in 2010. He was 27 and he’s got big plans.

 

“Chaos in a bottle" is how he describes the ideas spinning in his head. Actually, the resort itself is somewhat chaotic during renovation of the Boathouse Restaurant and a chic indoor pool.

 

There are also plans for a new four-star lodge beside the 1885 original. ‘Boldly Different’ is the motto at Viamede. That’s not just a statement. This place is going places.
 

Ben’s Swiss-educated management style is to hire creative experts, then let them go at it. He’s pulled together quite a team. I managed to meet a few during a January weekend stay.

 

What's not subject to construction is the FOOD — Viamede’s great secret — available during winter weekends at cozy candle-lit Mount Julian Restaurant. It's worth the drive.

 

Click once on any photo to enlarge.

 

 

 

 

Jarrod Craig, landscaper and farmer, oversees gardens, livestock, trails, a disc golf course (his idea over Ben’s initial objections) and more than 45 flower beds on the 165 acre property.

Ben and his retrievers Daisy and Toby led us on a trail walk. 

Chef Kevin McKenna emigrated from the Toronto restaurant scene (Earth and Taboo) to put down foraging roots in the Kawarthas. His imaginative use of local ingredients is quite ingenious.

 

During a cooking class he explained the tattoo: "It signifies my "Holy Trinity" :

Family- family cross from Ireland 

Knife- Food, my 2nd love after my family 

Guitar- music, my 3rd love

 

Ryan Legault is another pea in the pod partnering with Kevin. He brings a deep knowledge of history and beverages to food and drink pairings — especially the weekend 5, 7 and 9-course dinners.

Veritable feasts in the forest.

Breakfasts are big, lunches substantial and dinners the pièce de résistance.

* Viamede is on the north shore of Stoney Lake in the Kawartha region of Ontario, Canada

 

* room rates include most activiites

 

* Viamede is pet friendly and donates $10 to Golden Rescue for every pet staying at the resort

 

* The Gathering is a Viamede social dining event.  

Photos, text and design 

© Gary Crallé 2016

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