As written by Carli Berry for iNwine Spotlight, November 29, 2021
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A newly renovated South Okanagan restaurant has undergone a transformation but its connection to the land remains the same.

Spirit Ridge Resort’s The Bear, The Fish, The Root & The Berry has a big name tied to its Indigenous roots.

Recently, the restaurant has been renovated, returning with a new look featuring woods, fabrics, textures and colors all interwoven in a design that helps narrate the story of the significance of these lands, said executive director Daniel Bibby of Spirit Ridge.

“We became part of the Unbound Collection by Hyatt in 2017 and a big part of our plans were to elevate the resort to that international standard, being able to welcome guests here from all over the world.”

Spirit Ridge is located on the traditional lands of the Osoyoos Indian Band and the goal is to have that connection woven through the fabric of everything at the resort, he said.

The restaurant’s name is based on a chaptik (or story) about the four food chiefs, that has been passed down by the Syilx people of the Okanagan Nation for generations. 

Everything at the restaurant is locally sourced and the menu is designated into the four food chief categories:

• the bear (“skimxist” or Black Bear) represents all animals on land, so the menu items in this section are primarily based on local game meats
• the fish (“ntytikxw” or Chinook Salmon) represents all animals living below the water, so the dishes are locally and ethically sourced seafood
• the root (“speetlum” or bitterroot) represents the plants that grow beneath the ground, so this section is vegetarian plant based cuisine
• the berry (“seeya” or Saskatoon berry) represents the plants that grow above the ground, which is where the signature pastry menu fits in

“Executive chef Murray McDonald helped bring the concept to life, and the resort also has an amazing pastry team led by Carl Sanchez. I guarantee you no other experience is like this in the valley,” Bibby said.

Nk’Mip Cellars is also located on the property, as well as the Nk’ Mip Desert Cultural Centre. Solterra Spa and the outdoor pools and hot tub are also open at the resort, so there’s plenty to do this winter season.

There is something special about a winter visit to Spirit Ridge that will not disappoint, especially curled up with a glass of the Nk’ Mip Qwam Qwmt Chardonnay next to the fire.