July 29, 2019
Meet Nick Atkins
Executive Chef, Bonfire Restaurant, The Cove Lakeside Resort
“The textures, aromas, colours, flavours and nutrition all contribute to the overall memory and happiness of a meal. Using local products allows me to present unique meals that create a complete experience for my customers.”
4205 Gellatly Road
West Kelowna, BC
Can you start by telling us a little about your food philosophy?
My philosophy of food is constantly evolving and expanding. It stems from my background as a Canadian combined with guidance of European mentors that taught me the fundamentals of cooking and the importance of global sustainability.
When I was growing up, my Mother would grow vegetables in our little yard. I would go and pick a bright red strawberry or pick a carrot out of the ground and rinse it under the hose. The taste amazed me! I learnt that great tasting vegetables come locally and not from across the globe. I’ve incorporated that into my food philosophy and into my kitchen.
Tell us about Bonfire Restaurant.
Bonfire Restaurant is about combining classic and rustic cooking techniques, using only the best locally produced and sourced ingredients. We are located at The Cove Lakeside Resort, right on the waterfront in West Kelowna. My whole culinary team is passionate about using fresh, locally produced ingredients and continuously challenge culinary boundaries, experimenting with new flavours and refining traditional practices.
Why are you passionate about cooking with local food and beverage?
I believe that a great meal is based on balance and harmony. Local products, produce especially, has had the time to ripen naturally, taste better, have a smaller carbon footprint and in turn make it very appealing for me to support as a chef. Integrating quality local ingredients, pasture-raised meats and sustainable seafood in my menus not only supports global conservation, but also healthy living.
What local farm inspire your cooking these days?
The South Okanagan is filled with passionate and hard-working farmers. We love working with Amazia Farm. https://www.amaziafarm.com/ They are located in Oliver and grow the most flavourful produce. Their production is small so they can take the time that is needed to nourish and grow an outstanding product.
We’ve heard you guys have a kitchen garden and grow some of your own food. Is that true?
Yes! In addition to using local ingredients, we grow and source our own produce at the Bonfire Culinary Garden just steps away from the restaurant doors. We had great success last year and had a substantial crop. We grow herbs, tomatoes, eggplant, different varieties of squash and some lettuces. On the weekends, in the peak of summer, we have a surplus of produce and open it to the public as a culinary garden market. Watching the produce grow through the seasons is very inspiring for our culinary team, and hopefully shows in our dishes.
How have you used local food to stand out in your market?
The commitment to local is part of the signature experience for our guests. We think showing off the local food that we use in the kitchen makes a difference in the taste of a dish and by utilizing local producers and by utilizing our own produce we stand apart.
What is your favourite BC ingredient?
Do you feel like your guests connect with your use of local food and beverage?
I think showcasing local food matters to our guests. I’m hoping local food will continue to gain in popularity going forward and become an important step in combating sustainable living.