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Holiday Guide

Celebrating the Holidays with Creations At the Best Western Sawridge Suites

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As the holiday season approaches thoughts begin to turn to decorations, presents and holiday food. For some these are thoughts about their own food preparations, while for others these may be about exploring some of the local restaurant options available during the holidays. The recent opening of Creations, the restaurant at the Best Western Plus Sawridge Suites in TaigaNova Eco-Industrial Park, has added an exciting alternative for those seeking new culinary experiences in Fort McMurray.

“Creations is really focused on creating food that is healthy and fresh,” says Executive Chef Ken Bowie. “We also focus on traditional foods – think the kinds of food your mom and grandmother made. It’s familiar food, comfort food.”

The desire to present food that is fresh and healthy led to the decision to develop a “greaseless” kitchen for the restaurant.

“Nothing is deep fried,” says Bowie. “No deep fried hash browns, no deep fried chicken wings – we use oven roasting, grilling and other cooking methods to create food that is simply healthier for our diners.”

The team has developed a restaurant focused on buffet offerings, but it’s a buffet with a difference. The emphasis on fresh, healthy food prepared in the restaurant kitchen has given rise to a buffet dining experience that has been designed to please all palates, and this is certainly true during the Christmas season, when the focus will be on the traditional comfort food Canadians associate with the holidays. Diners pay for their meals based on the weight of their selections or the guests have the opportunity to pay for an all you can eat experience, and both have the opportunity to enjoy a variety of culinary delights and pleasures.One of the most clever options offered by Creations is the ability to create your own “to go” meal, meaning local residents can choose to purchase an entire turkey dinner to go from the buffet, or simply certain dishes they wish to add to their own holiday cooking to complement their meals. 

Creations also offers a private dining room off the main restaurant, ideal for small business holiday parties or large family gatherings of up to 40 people. During the holiday season this space is the perfect spot for celebrating in a more private fashion while still enjoying the many offerings of the Creations kitchen team. Creations will work with those using the private dining room to develop the evening’s buffet menu to suit them, ensuring they can choose selections they wish their party guests to experience. The restaurant will also work with those developing a holiday party on a budget, assisting them in creating a celebration ideal for their needs.

In addition to the private dining room, the open concept restaurant includes a lounge offering traditional bar-style appetizers and drinks, giving hotel guests and local patrons another option for dining and enjoyment. 

“Creations is about creating the experience you want in a dining atmosphere,” says Alana Wenger, Outlets Manager. “Whether it is our team creating an experience for our guests and customers or our guests and customers creating their own experience based on what we are offering, we present a unique and creative dining opportunity in Fort McMurray.”

The team at Creations is heading into their first holiday season in the community with a fresh, creative approach to dining, a respected Executive Chef, a group of inspired and enthusiastic staff members and a desire to bring a new experience to Fort McMurray, all the key ingredients of a guaranteed recipe for success. 

Pan-Fried Boreal Christmas Stuffing


  • 1/2lb. Smoked Bacon - Cut into 1/2” pieces 
  • 2 1/2 Cups Chicken Broth 
  • 5 Sprigs of Fresh Thyme 
  • 1 Bay Leaf 
  • 2 Cups Wild Rice 
  • 4 Tbsp. Butter (room temperature) 
  • 2 Tbsp. Olive or Canola Oil 
  • 3 Cups Homemade Croutons 
  • 400g Frozen Pearl Onions (Thawed) 
  • Salt - To Taste 
  • Coarse Ground Pepper - To Taste 
  • 1 tsp. Thyme - De-stemmed 
  • 1 Sprig Rosemary- De-stemmed 
  • 400g Cremini Mushroom - Sliced 
  • 250g Brussels Sprouts - Trimmed and Sliced 
  • 1/2 Cup Roasted Hazelnuts - Coarsely Chopped 
  • 2 Cups Chicken Broth 
  • 3/4 Bunch Italian Parsley- Rough Chopped 


  1. In a large pan cook bacon till crispy. Drain and reserve fat. Set bacon aside. 
  2. For the wild rice. In a heavy pot bring the chicken broth, thyme and bay leaf to a boil; remove and reserve two cups. Add wild rice and cover. Turn the element down and simmer until the rice is tender but still a bit chewy, approximately 30 minutes. Turn off the heat and let stand another ten minutes. Fluff with fork. Remove thyme stems and bay leaf. 
  3. In the same pan you cooked the bacon add the bacon fat, butter and oil and heat over a medium element. Add onions and season. Stir occasionally until golden. Add mushrooms and season, saute another 7 minutes. Add brussels sprouts and herbs and re-season if required; cook until the leaves are a vibrant green and started to wilt. 
  4. To toast the hazelnuts you can spread them on a baking pan and place them into a pre-heated 350F oven for 8 minutes. Allow to cook then crush with the back of a knife. 
  5. Add brussels sprouts and herbs. Add croutons to vegetable pan and toss. Pour the remaining 2 cups of chicken broth over the mixture while constantly stirring the mix. Cook until the leaves are a vibrant green and started to wilt; approx. 5 minutes. The liquid should have absorbed into the croutons to soften them. Taste and adjust seasoning if required. Add hazelnuts and parsley & give it a final toss. 
  6. Serve!


Old Fashioned Christmas 
Our signature Christmas drink was inspired by a staff member, Kelly. It represents an old fashion candy that was part of her maritime Christmas back home. This drink was created in a local tavern where she worked and was inspired by the traditional candies called chicken bones. The rich chocolate and spicy cinnamon recreate the flavours of this candy. We have brought this drink to Creations to recreate the warm flavours of Christmas and the cold winter months ahead. 

Homemade Hot Chocolate:

  • 1/3 cup w1sweetened coco powder 
  • 3/4 cup white sugar 
  • 1 pinch of salt 
  • 1/3 cup boiling water 
  • 3 1/2 cups of milk 
  • 3/4 teaspoon of vanilla extract 
  • 1/2 cup half and half cream 

Combine the cocoa, sugar and pinch of salt in a saucepan. Blend in the boiling water. Bring this mixture to an easy boil while you stir. Simmer and stir for about 2 minutes. Watch that it doesn’t scorch. Stir in 3 1/2 cups of milk and heat until very hot, but do not boil! Remove from heat and add vanilla. Divide between 4 mugs. Add the cream to the mugs of cocoa to cool it to drinking temperature.


  • 1.5oz of Goldschlager
  • Fill latte glass with homemade hot chocolate
  • Top with whip cream
  • Sprinkle with cinnamon

A freelance writer, blogger and professional communicator who is passionate about her child, her work, her pets, her community and the power of words, Theresa Wells believes perfection in life is achieved when she is surrounded by amazing people, fantastic stories, cold gin and really hot shoes.