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Heli-Hiking, Heli-Skiing, Heli-Belly?


By Lianne Marquis

Jocelyn Skill, Pastry Chef, Canadian Mountain Holidays

Have you heard about heli- belly? It’s a common word that you’ll hear around the buffet table, the dessert table, during tea goodies, dinner and in the field. How does one go Heli-Hiking and come home with their pant button undone? Thanks to CMH's Chefs and Pastry Chefs, there is never a shortage of amazing, delicious, mouth watering food to be had. Jocelyn Skill is our Pasty Chef in the Bobbie Burns this summer and I had a chance to ask her a few questions:


Lianne Marquis: How did an East Coaster find her way to CMH?

Jocelyn Skill: I came out to Banff in 1991 after my first year of cooking school. I made the decision then that I would come back once I was done school and make the mountains my home. It was after living here for ten years that a friend suggested I work for CMH. Ten years later I’m still here.

LM I’m curious to know why you became a pastry chef and where did your schooling and apprenticeship?

JS I had always loved to cook and bake as a child and knew early on that I wanted to be a chef. My parents tried to discourage me from entering the trade, but at that point in my life I couldn’t imagine doing anything but pursuing a culinary career. I went to a small college in Ontario where it quickly became apparent that I was a natural in the pastry arts. I then went on to apprentice for an amazing pastry chef at the Delta Lodge at Kananaskis, Alberta.

LM What yummy desserts will we find on the Bobbie Burns dinner menu this summer?

JS I try to keep things a little lighter in the summer so I serve lots of homemade sorbets, but crème brule, panna cotta, soufflé and a decadent chocolate cake will make it’s way to the table. The key is keeping portions small.

LM You also cook, as you and the chef share the duty of making the tea goodies that we offer for après hiking. What do you usually serve for tea goodies?

JS We always serve a “recovery” smoothie. I love making chicken wings, pizza, quesadillas, quiche. If there are guest requests for a particular food we try to accommodate as best we can.

LM It’s pretty common for our guests to ask the pasty chefs for recipes at the end of their tour, is there one that you would be willing to share with us?

JS Sure, here’s an easy one to share.

Coconut Panna Cotta.

900 ml whipping cream

300 ml coconut cream or good quality coconut milk

8 leaves of gelatin (available at specialty food shops)

200 grams granulated sugar

2 vanilla beans,scraped

Water for soaking gelatin leaves

Soak gelatin leaves in cold water for 5 minutes. Bring the cream, sugar and the vanilla beans to a boil. Drain gelatin leaves, squeezing out any extra water, then whisk into hot cream mixture. Whisk in coconut cream. Bring mixture to room temperature then pour into coupe glasses. Serve with good quality sorbet and fresh fruit. Makes 12

LM During the Bobbie Burns staff set up this July the guides took all the staff out to the tree-top ropes course. Can you tell me about that experience?

JS It’s thrilling and challenging. I love that sort of rush. I seek out those adventures when I’m travelling as well. The guides have done a great job of providing a really fun challenging experience for the guest and staff alike.

LM Have you had an opportunity to experience a day out on the Mt. Nimbus via ferrata at the Bobbie Burns?

JS Not yet but it’s a must on my things to do here this summer. The guides have promised to try and get us all out.

LM My fingers are crossed for you Jocelyn, I want to hear all about it!!! When you’re not in the kitchen baking and cooking, what are you doing in your spare time?

JS Anything outdoors, but I love to mountain bike and run. Having a good laugh with my friends over a glass of wine is a must as well.

Congratulations on receiving your 10 year long service award with CMH this spring Jocelyn! We hope that you have another 10 years with us!!!


We got to over-indulge on Jocelyn's amazing pastry during our trip in July. My taste buds thank you. So yummy! As a fellow guest pointed out: You're never more than 2 hours away from a tasty treat, whether in your lunch bag on a hike, or back at the lodge. And we wouldn't want it any other way!
Posted @ Friday, August 06, 2010 11:07 AM by CdnJake
I'm heading to Bobbie Burns at the end of August with a group of Bodacious women...I can't wait to savour Jocelyn's and the chef's yummy baking and food. One of my favourite things about being at CMH is the amazing food - not having to worry about what to make for dinner!!
Posted @ Saturday, August 07, 2010 5:26 PM by Ellen
I had the pleasure of meeting Jocelyn and eating her wonderful desserts in December 2005 at Valemount. The first thing she said to me was , "don't you like my cooking? Nobody is eating the cookies in the jar." Well, this was because we were so stuffed with all the other amazing food that she and Simon were serving. Sitting at the bar one evening, I told this amazing woman that we were going to get married someday but she just didn't know it yet. Well, it took a few years but she is now my fiancee and we are planning to get married in the Spring.  
So, if you are up there this summer, have an extra cookie for me.
Posted @ Tuesday, August 17, 2010 1:02 PM by Jeff
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