Heather McCoy had a dream that most of us would not dare execute – she wanted to open a café in a resort town.
Nourish is defined by the Merriam Webster Online Dictionary as:
• to promote the growth of
• to furnish or sustain with nutriment : feed
• to nurture, support or maintain
It was 2005, when Heather launched a small restaurant called Nourish Bistro. Her father had quit his job in the city to support her with the start-up and operation of this 30-seat cafe in Banff. They were brave, and Heather was passionate, food service in a resort town like Banff is extremely challenging. This is a place where both staff and supplies must be imported, and neither one is reliable. Sadly, Heather’s dad passed away of cancer but, she stayed true to her vision to provide hearty nutritious meals in a ski town
The menu at Nourish Bistro is vegetarian in focus with many vegan-friendly dishes. All of the creations are Heather’s inventions, fueled by her determination, to provide diners with tasty, healthy food. Many of the recipes come from a period when Heather spent a year of quality kitchen time with her grandmother, who had been diagnosed with cancer. Heather is certain that their focus on a locally grown, pesticide-free, plant-based diet allowed her grandmother to live a year longer than anticipated by medical professionals.
The generous family-style dishes on Nourish Bistro’s menu are designed to share. Heather uses sweet and savoury elements to play with diverse ethnic cuisines and food norms. The “gourmet falafel” is a perfect blend of traditional chickpeas mixed with fava beans in a sushi-like presentation. Hungry après skiers are drawn to the “classic nachos” – with 27 beans the ingredients are far from traditional. A Quebec invention “poutine” gets turned on its head when served in a madras curry sauce.
Eight years later, popular Nourish Bistro is moving to a new home in Banff where the doors are set to open on July 1st. Once again Heather is taking on a big project, the new restaurant will now serve 60, doubling the current capacity, and staffing requirements will jump to 30 from single digits. The decor according to Heather – earthy meets digital.
Nutmeg will watch this bistro closely as Heather plans to expand beyond the current lunch and dinner service, with breakfast offerings at some point in the future. In spite of challenging Alberta weather conditions, they hope to grow herbs for the restaurant in a roof top garden. Ingredients from local suppliers and established farms in Golden and Nelson will continue to furnish the café with elements for Heather’s unique dehydrated spice blends – these could be available for sale along with a cookbook – someday.
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