Guest Author: Bree Eagles

For those in the know, fall in Whistler is a special time of year; the mountain air is crisp, the leaves are popping with colour and the snowline is creeping down the mountain. And then there’s Cornucopia, an 11-day celebration of all things food and drink, happening November 7 – 17, 2019. Foodies and chefs, wine-makers and sommeliers, brewers and distillers, mixologists and party-goers all descend on Whistler for over 100 delicious events. It’s a celebration, a license to indulge and an opportunity to discover new tastes. We’ve got the inside scoop on what’s hot and new for this year’s Cornucopia festival:

Chefs at Cornucopia Whistler
Chefs will get to go head to head at the new Cornucopia event, Sashay, Fillet! PHOTO DARBY MAGILL

What’s New at Cornucopia Whistler

Sashay, Fillet! | November 14

Turning up the heat this year, the festival has introduced a new signature event that really caught our attention. Sashay, Fillet! will be a fun affair of culinary competitions featuring chefs, drag queens and kings, spicy runway performances, food and drink tastings, and laugh out loud moments. Talented west coast chefs team up with equally talented drag queens and kings to face off in a series of food competitions and entertaining performances, until there is just one champion pair remaining.

The hosts for the evening will be  the glamorous Jaidynn Diore Fierce and Laila McQueen, from the  popular TV show RuPaul’s Drag Race. Catch us in the front row wearing something a little extra to get in the spirit. Keep an eye out for more talent announcements to come!

Scandinave Spa Bubble Bath | November 8

Champagne and spa baths – it feels like a natural combination. For the first time, the Scandinave Spa will open its doors after-hours to Cornucopia goers. Guests will sip champagne, enjoy canapés and rotate through the age-old Finnish tradition of outdoor baths, saunas and steam rooms. This will be one heck of a Bubble Bath.

The Scandinave Spa
The Scandinave Spa lit up at night. PHOTO CHAD CHOMLACK

Sp07ez Table At The Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre |  November 9

A special addition to the Cornucopia line-up, the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre is hosting Spo7ez Table – a four-course luncheon with wine pairings from Indigenous World wines and Fort Berens Estate Winery. Traditional techniques and locally foraged foods will be prepared with the modern palate in mind, the result being an Indigenous dining experience with a contemporary flair.

The SLCC is dedicated to celebrating and sharing the cultures of Squamish Nation and Lil’wat Nation, and the event’s namesake Spo7ez refers to the ancient village shared by these nations, located where Rubble Creek and the Cheakamus River meet. During the event, stories and songs will be shared by the Centre’s Cultural Ambassadors.

Fun Fueling For Wellness And Strength | November 16

The festival’s Nourish Series offers a little balance the morning after those indulgent nights. We’re excited to see ski Olympian Britt Janyk Tilston with local food pioneer Astrid Cameron Kent make their Cornucopia debut on November 16. The duo will share their secrets for staying nourished and energized, and prepare a nutritious, flavour-packed brunch that will undo any post-vino blues.

Also in the Nourish Series, catch the Nomad Cook, Travis Petersen presenting an Introduction to Terpene Brunch on November 9 and Whistler’s legendary Chef Wolfgang Sterr preparing a vegetarian brunch on November 10.

Nicoise Salad in a jar
Brunch isn’t just for Sundays. PHOTO DARBY MAGILL
INSIDER TIP: While the Culinary Stage Series and Chef’s Table Luncheons are not new events, there are new features and guest chefs worth checking out!

What’s Hot at Cornucopia Whistler

Abstract Party at the Audain Art Museum | November 16

If you were at the inaugural Abstract Party last year, chances are you’ve already snapped up your tickets for this year’s rendezvous. Hosted by the Audain Art Museum, it was an edgy night of art installations, creative food, drink and costumes, and the dance floor was alive till the wee hours of the morning. You can expect the same level of production again this year, but with a new theme: Warhol Factory.

The museum will undergo a total transformation inspired by Andy Warhol’s iconic studio spaces from the 1960s to the 1980s. The Factory as it was known, was an artistic and social hub in New York City. Tickets include drinks and canapés, and party-goers are encouraged to dress on theme. If in doubt, a little black dress or smart tux with a dramatic accessory will do the trick.

Abstract Party at the Audain Art Museum
Time to get creative and embrace your inner Warhol. PHOTO TANNISH TOOHEY

CRUSH Grand Tasting | November 9

70 wineries under one roof? Sign us up. CRUSH Grand Tasting is the festival’s flagship event happening on the first weekend; a must-attend for any wine-lover. You’ll receive a glass upon arrival, after which you’re free to sip and savour to your heart’s content, mingle with winemakers and cheers with friends. There are food tasting stations to cleanse the palate throughout.

INSIDER TIP: Opt for the CRUSH Early Entry ticket to be among the first to access the Grand Tasting room.

Keeping on the wine theme, Cellar Door Grand Tasting happens the night before, on November 8. It’s a similar style to CRUSH, however, all the wines are top-shelf bottles (valued $25 and up, with many retailing much higher) and the feel is more intimate.

CRUSH at Cornucopia Whistler
A festival favourite for a reason. PHOTO DARBY MAGILL

Events by Whistler Restaurants

Whistler’s top restaurants and bars are hosting a range of special events throughout the festival, with everything from winery dinners to multi-course brunches and after parties. Hot on the 2019 schedule:

Comedy Kitchen – November 7

The Corridor with YEW + SIDECUT – November 8

Quattro at Whistler Wine Dinner featuring Rocca Delle Macie – November 8

Araxi Restaurant’s Big Guns – Pair Excellence – November 9

Fairmont Chateau Whistler – Bubbles and Brunch – November 10

Aura Restaurant: Laughing Stock Winemaker Dinner – November 10

“Il Salotto” Cocktail Paired Dinner at Il Caminetto – November 13

Gin Party at Pangea – November 14

Exclusive Veuve Clicquot Champagne – After Dark at Tommys Lounge – November 15

Chef plating a dish
Whistler chefs get to show off their talents. PHOTO DARBY MAGILL

Cornucopia Signature Events

There are some crowd-favourite events that happen each year at Cornucopia. These include House Party: Best of BC – the opening event on Thursday, November 7. Arrive with an appetite as the Four Season’s SIDECUT puts on their famous BBQ feast, complete with beer, wine and spirits – all from BC’s land of plenty. On November 10, With A Twist Silent Disco falls the night before the statutory holiday, so feel free to celebrate a little longer and have another cocktail. Then it’s street-style with Night Market: Taste of the World on November 15, which offers up sweet, spicy, and savoury food paired with wines, beers, and liquors from around the world. Before heading to the Abstract Party, warm-up at Poured Grand Tasting –  the all-encompassing drink event of the festival featuring over 70 beer, wine, spirit and food vendors.

People dancing at the Silent Disco in Whistler
DJ your own party experience at the Silent Disco. PHOTO TANNIS TOOHE

What You Need to Know:

  • This is only a small selection of the yummy things happening at this 11-day festival starting November 7. Be sure to take your time looking through the 2019 schedule, you can buy tickets online.
  • Visiting Whistler? We highly recommend booking a ticket and accommodation package; these truly offer the best value for money.
  • Most events sell out, so don’t delay!

Decisions are best made with a glass of wine in hand. Cheers!

Wine tasting cheers at Cornucopia Whistler

Find out more about the events, tastings, seminars and accommodation packages on


Along with our regular Insiders, we have a host of local and visiting authors keen to share their stories. Most of them don't actually look like bears, but they are just as lovable.