May 28, 2019
When we’re talking about farm-to-table, the Okanagan’s winery chefs are at the heart of the discussion. They are connected to their land intimately – the wines tell the story of the place and the season – but because they are land based, they have opportunity to get their fingers into the dirt!
Chefs cite many logical reasons why restaurant gardens are a good idea: cost, convenience and sustainability. And then there is taste – the great motivator for chefs: nothing is tastier or healthier than using the freshest ingredients straight from garden. The concept of inhouse farming is hardly new but when this trend landed in the Okanagan, it hit fertile soil. Now, there are many restaurants planting seeds for vegetables that will eventually appear on their customer’s plate.
Culinary teams are connecting to local food and understand seasonality through becoming avid growers of local produce and herbs themselves!
“What better way to know exactly what you are serving than to be involved in growing it?” say Chef Kai Koroll and Owners Sheri-Lee and Curtis Krouzel from 50th Parallel Estate Winery. Sheri-Lee and Curtis were already growing their own grapes and getting their hands dirty farming at their panoramic location in Lake Country. They knew they wanted to mimic their local commitment in their new restaurant. Chef Kai and his team have taken that commitment and have a kitchen garden adjacent to some of the vines. “It’s hyper local, it’s exciting and it’s inspiring because we cook with what we grow,” says Chef Kai.
Here are some of the other Okanagan’s wineries that are growing their commitment to local eating:
Summerhill Pyramid Bistro offers and extraordinary organic dining experience in Kelowna. Executive Chef Jeremy Luypen features the best regional organic ingredients sourced from their own Biodynamic gardens. Their plant-based emphasis helps them drive innovation and taste as they design new menu items with the land in mind.
O’Rourkes Peak Cellars is one Lake Country’s newest wineries and is located just around the bend from 50th Parallel. Executive Chef Alex Lavroff and his team enthusiastically bring together the garden and the kitchen, taking inspiration from the vineyard-side garden. The property is set amongst orchards, which also connect the menu to the land.
Further down the valley in Oliver, Terrafina is a Tuscan style restaurant nestled among the vines at Hester Creek Estate Winery. The culinary team is led by Chef de Cuisine James Hanna, part of the RauDZ Creative Concepts group. The 105-acre grounds offer a diversity of crops that excite the team and bring new tastes to the table.
Once you try their dishes, we know you’ll get inspired by these chefs to start your own kitchen garden.
Start simple: From a pot of herbs on the windowsill, tucking salads and vegetables in among your flowers beds or setting aside a dedicated plot, there are many ways to create your own harvest in a vegetable garden. Ask your favourite local chef for their recommendations of what you can plant and be successful!