I first met Kristine in 2013 at the Starbucks at Whistler Creekside. What I didn’t know at the time, however, was that this precious soul serving my coffee would leave an indelible mark on my perception of the world.
A year later, Kristine joined a creativity program I was running and this is where I learned of her incredible compassion, joy for life and desire to open a vegan cafe in her new home, Whistler. There are people in the world who sweep you up in their ideas, their passion and their motivation– Kristine is one of those people and I knew she would not fail her dream. Sure enough, in 2015 Kristine is the driving force behind Whistler Blackcomb’s new Raven’s Nest vegan restaurant on Whistler Mountain.
I caught up with Kristine for the first of our “10 Questions” series that aims to introduce visitors to the local people who make Whistler special.
“31 (for another 2 months :)”
3. Native Country:
4. In your own words, who is Kristine Leise?
“Love and compassion packed in a female appearance.”
5. When did you move to Canada and why did you choose Whistler?
“I moved in October2009 to watch the Olympic Games in Vancouver. Turned out most events were happening in this place called Whistler, so I went there. I had never heard about Whistler until I was in Vancouver.”
6. On the Facebook page, Raven’s Nest is called “a healthy, plant-based dining option”. Tell me why it’s important to you that Whistler has an on-mountain vegan & vegetarian restaurant. We get the feeling, that to you, it’s about more than just the food.
“It’s not necessarily the healthy end of plant-based but it is for sure a healthier option. It is more about these major “on the spot” fixes that we can do to start saving our planet and more than anything, animals. My personal drive will always be animals. I celebrate every meal we serve as it is at least one animal less that has been killed. The health benefits come next. The healthier people are the more they can do to influence how we affect the environment. Raven’s Nest kind of brings those things all together in one place. We come here to be in nature, so Raven’s Nest provides an opportunity to make a choice right that could affect the future of our mountains.”
7. Big businesses often buy produce from the most ‘cost-effective’ sources. Raven’s Nest seems like it’s setting a different precedent, one of quality over quantity. Where do you source your produce and ingredients?
“We source from companies that have proven to work using sustainable practices. Most major product groups are local Canadian companies like Gardien, Daiya, we purchase Pemberton beets, Namasthe tea and Spirit Bear Organic fair trade coffee. There is a lot of work in progress but the goal is to get the big companies to start sourcing foods that are of higher quality and in higher quantities.”
8. Why did you decide to stay in Whistler and start this project with Whistler Blackcomb when you could have easily moved home and started your own business?
“I thought this is going to reach more people than if I just do my thing. I mean it is right on the mountain and we reach more people who wouldn’t have necessary looked for vegan dining in Whistler village during their trip. And being a world-famous ski resort, I could not wish for more broad publicity than being one of first on-mountain vegan restaurants in North America. I think it was the right time and the right people in the right place. I stayed and took this opportunity also because I had worked with some of Whistler Blackcomb management for years and I really enjoyed working with them.”
9. What do have planned next for Raven’s Nest?
“Make it a go-to destination when people come to ski here, and for it to become an information hub for an alternative lifestyle.
10. We know we’ll see big things from you in the future. If you could achieve/change/create anything while you’re here in Whistler, what would it be?
“Oh my! I think this is the place that could be a sample town of sustainable living. I can see future world leaders coming here and learning sustainable practices and taking them back to wherever they are from. Whistler has the potential to become the most environment, animal and people friendly place on Earth while still operating as a ski resort. That’s if we all care. And we’re getting there.”
Eat at Raven’s Nest
Raven’s Nest restaurant is at the base of Red Chair on Whistler mountain. It can be accessed via the Creekside gondola or by skiing down Pony Trail, Goat’s Gully or Bear Cub trails. Next time your stomach rumbles on the hill, call in to see Kristine and the rest of her amazing team!
About the “10 Questions” series
Whistler is shaped by the amazing local people who live here. Everything from the Sniffle Stations at the chairlifts to the new Raven’s Nest vegan restaurant was invented by a member of our community. We started the “10 Questions” series to introduce guest and visitors to the locals who make our home, and your experience, so special.[googlemap address=”Raven’s Nest, Whistler” width=”600″ height=”340″ position=”left”]
Interview by Victoria Farrand
Mountain Girl // Creative // Guest blogger for the Summit Lodge and Whistler local.