Photo: Rocky Mountaineer

Fine Food Aboard the Rocky Mountaineer

By Jennifer Allford

There’s an art to preparing gourmet food in any kitchen. It includes plenty of fresh ingredients, proven recipes and inspired chefs. But add train legs and a tiny, moving space and you’ve got a whole new art form to appreciate.

The rolling kitchens in the Rocky Mountaineer are slightly bigger than what you’d find in a food truck. The chefs use every inch of space to create Sir Sandford Fleming eggs benedict with tarragon Hollandaise, lunches of roasted Pacific salmon with fennel slaw and sweet delights like dark chocolate pistachio brownies.

“We are a well-orchestrated symphony on the train—everyone knows their part,” says executive chef Jean Pierre Guerin. “The main difference between ours and a traditional kitchen is the space. We are precise and strategic about where everything goes.” But even when you know exactly where the tarragon is, staying sure-footed on a moving train can be tricky. “Once you get used to the way the train feels when you are walking in it, life gets much easier.”

It doesn’t take long for the chefs to get the hang of fine chopping or ladling hot soup as their kitchen rolls through the Rockies. Servers have mastered their train legs too, and are adept at presenting plates of Last Spike’d Beef Short Ribs or Hell’s Gate Spiced Chicken, and pouring a selection of accompanying B.C. wines.

Menus on the Rocky Mountaineer showcase the culinary bounty available in Western Canada. “We buy as much as we can from local farmers and growers in British Columbia and Alberta. We have a thriving farming community here and are very lucky with the immense selection,” says Guerin. “The secret to incredible food is using fresh, local ingredients and letting their flavours shine through.” Even on a moving train.