Is there a time of the year when being a foodie in Kelowna is especially great? Some would argue, right now is that time. Sure, we still have months to go before we are picking fruit off our abundant trees, and until the farmers’ market is jam-packed with produce, but consider this: we’ve just enjoyed a weekend of culinary extravagance that was the Canadian Culinary Championships, and now we have another special event coming up to celebrate the prowess of our local chefs, bakers, winemakers, distillers, brewers, and food mavens, Devour Kelowna.
The event is billed as a culinary showcase for social foodies, and as it promises, it will showcase food and drink pairings put together by the Okanagan’s finest chefs, mixologists, winemakers, and food purveyors. Defined as an evening of entertainment and indulgence for lovers of fine food and drink, Devour will put together a social evening where guests can watch the Okanagan’s best chefs in action, savour amazing bites, and discover a new favourite wine and sip on a cocktail you never could have imagined. If it sounds like a cocktail party, it really sort of is! In fact, guests are encouraged to get dressy this year.
Proceeds from the event go, in part, to supporting the initiatives of the Okanagan Chefs Association, a group which places high value on supporting and mentoring junior chefs, as well as providing bursaries which foster and encourage culinary education. It is fitting, then, that the gorgeous venue for the event on March 7 will itself be a shrine to empowerment through knowledge, the Okanagan College’s Centre for Learning.
Many presenters at Devour are members of the Okanagan Chefs Association, but by no means all of them. The event is extremely well attended by most everyone involved in the food and beverage service industry in the valley, so it is a true and vivid showcase of the spectacular offerings of the Okanagan.
There is a bit of competitiveness involved as well: judges who know their stuff when it comes to food and drink, and the public as a whole will rank and select their favourites from among the dishes and pairings presented.
On March 7, Devour’s website urges us to “Eat, Drink, & Be Social.” Well, foodie friends, what do you say that we do just that? For tickets (if there are still some left by the time this column runs) and further info visit Devour’s website.
Ballet Kelowna has an exclusive performance coming to Kelowna on March 3. Ballet fans across BC will want to make plans to come to this Okanagan city because top dancers from New York will be bringing their talents to our stage as the only Canadian city on their tour.
New York City Ballet Principal Dancer Ashley Bouder, and an elite ensemble of the company’s greatest artists, will present a performance experience of the highest caliber in the only Canadian engagement. Ms. Bouder will be joined onstage by fellow Principal Dancer Amar Ramasar and NYCB company artists Sebastian Villarini, Peter Walker and Indiana Woodward.
Also on the program, Kelowna's own Joshua Beamish - now a highly sought-after choreographer in New York City, will present his ground-breaking work, Rouge et Noir, performed by the same top NYC Ballet artists.
Ballet Kelowna owes this coup for the city’s artistic community to Artistic Director Simone Orlando, the brainchild behind securing the exciting performance. In a press release, Ms. Orlando explains: “Presenting these New York City Ballet dancers, some of ballet’s best and brightest stars, in Canada, is such an amazing opportunity for us. Ashley’s exquisite artistry and meticulously-honed technique will ensure that our Kelowna audience will be left in stunned silence! We are also delighted that the second act – showcasing the much-anticipated Canadian premiere of Rouge et Noir – has been choreographed by Kelowna native Joshua Beamish, in a welcome return to the region.”
Here are the details on this special performance. Out-of-town ballet lovers, don’t miss this chance to build a visit to Kelowna around this unique show.
- Ballet Kelowna presents: The Ashley Bouder Project
- Date: March 3 at 7:30pm
- Ticket prices: Single tickets $73 (Adult), $63 (Senior/Student) and $33 (Child)
- Mini-Pack tickets (Two shows): $98 (Adult), $82 (Senior/Student) and $48 (Child)
- Address: Kelowna Community Theatre, 1375 Water Street, Kelowna
- Box Office: Online at balletkelowna.ca; or by Phone at 250-862-2867; or in person at Kelowna Actors Studio Box Office, 1397 Ellis Street
- Website: www.balletkelowna.ca
Kelowna’s ballet community has a rich and diverse depth that has spawned phenomenal amateur and professional dancers. The founding of Ballet Kelowna in 2002 continues the long-lasting ballet legacy of one-time Kelowna residents Gweneth Lloyd and Betty Farrally, co-founders of The Canadian School of Ballet (1938) and Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet (1939). The idea for starting a ballet company in Kelowna was initiated by then Canadian School of Ballet’s directors (1985-2011) Melville Brown and Lori Larson, along with Founding Artistic Director David LaHay.
Ballet Kelowna, through its touring, school performances and outreach activities has visited more than 60 communities in Western Canada, giving audiences and students a wonderful opportunity to experience the energy and artistry of a professional ballet company. Under the artistic leadership of Simone Orlando, Ballet Kelowna brings excellent, inspiring and memorable dance to Kelowna and the Canadian west and fulfills its mandate to commission new work from emerging and established Canadian choreographers, while presenting masterworks from the world’s ballet canon.
Last week’s column gave an overview of what Kelowna audiences can expect at the upcoming Canadian Culinary Championships. We’re now just a few days away from this exciting event and those lucky enough to have tickets to the Grand Finale on Saturday night (February 7) at the Delta Grand Okanagan Resort have a few more surprises in store.
The evening’s festivities are being emcee’d by Jennifer Heil, three-time Olympian and Silver medalist in freestyle skiing. She will be joined by 10 other super-talented Olympians who will each speak to the audience about their personal journey, passion, and commitment to sport. The evening’s entertainment will be provided by legendary musicians Barney Bentall and members of the band Spirit of the West. What happens when you have that much top-notch Canadian talent in a single room? You’ll just have to wait and see!
The Olympians who will be present at the Canadian Culinary Championships for 2015 are:
- Dylan Armstrong, Two-time Olympian & Olympic Bronze Medalist, Athletics
- Dominic Gauthier, Olympic Coach, Freestyle Skiing
- Jennifer Heil, Three-time Olympian & Olympic Gold and Silver Medalist, Freestyle Skiing
- Kevin Hill, Olympian, Snowboard
- Adam Kreek, Two-time Olympian & Olympic Gold Medalist, Rowing
- Marie-Eve Marleau, Olympian, Diving
- Curtis Myden, Three-time Olympian & Three Time Olympic Bronze Medalist, Swimming
- Jeff Pain, Three-time Olympian & Olympic Silver Medalist, Luge
- Maelle Ricker, Four-time Olympian and Olympic Gold Medalist, Snowboard Cross
- Kelsey Serwa, Two-time Olympian & Olympic Silver Medalist, Freestyle Skiing
- Simon Whitfield, Four-time Olympian & Olympic Gold and Silver Medalist, Triathlon
What else happens at the Grand Finale competition on February 7? The 11 competing chefs prepare their signature dish, paired with a wine, spirit, beer or cider of their choice. The dishes are judged by a panel of food judges from across Canada – these are restaurant reviewers and food critics with keen palates who are certainly well-qualified to grade the 11 dishes placed in front of them. It’s not all about this competition though – there will have already been two competitions with dishes that have been graded, taking place on Friday evening and Saturday morning. The chef with the best overall score for their competition game over the three events will win the title of Canadian Culinary Champion, the best chef in Canada. True to the form of the beneficiary of the events (the Canadian Olympic Foundation), there is a podium on Saturday night. The chefs placing on the podium will win bronze, silver, and gold.
For more information about the competing chefs and competition as a whole, check out www.goldmedalplates.com. You can still get tickets although they are getting scarce, so make sure you get your tickets by going online or by contacting Demian Richardson at [email protected]. Bon appetit!
As we turn the calendar to a new year, the focus turns to the next big event our city will see: the Canadian Culinary Championships.
Taking place on February 6 and 7, the Canadian Culinary Championships will feature the chefs from across the country who won the first round of Gold Medal Plates competitions in their respective cities. Over 100 chefs competed in these competitions across Canada this fall, creating their ultimate dish and pairing it with a premier Canadian wine, beer, or spirit. A team of food and wine critics from each city worked with national critics to determine the top three winning creations and then a gold, silver and bronze medal winning chef is crowned. Just to be invited to compete is a notch in the belt. To win the gold is a major achievement! But then the career-changing Canadian Culinary Championships brings all the gold medal winners together, and what a show that is! The title of culinary champion will be decided on after three grueling competitions taking place Friday evening, Saturday morning, and the final gala evening on Saturday night. To be crowned the top chef in Canada is a career changer! And to top it all off, the Canadian Culinary Champion receives a BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe from BMW Canada!
Tickets are still available for the three competitions, but with healthy ticket sales they are expected to sell out.
The competition strives to become the Sundance of Canada, and with dazzling talent and competition on the culinary front and a star-studded cast of Olympic athletes and Gala event performers adding their panache to the competition, it wouldn’t be far off.
Who are these rising stars of Canada’s culinary landscape? Here is the line up:
- For the l
- Halifax: Renée Lavallée from The Canteen
- Winnipeg: Luc Jean from Jane’s
- Edmonton: Ryan O’Flynn from The Westin Edmonton
- British Columbia (competition was held in Victoria for BC chefs): Kristian Eligh from Hawksworth Restaurant, Vancouver
- Saskatoon: Chris Hill from The Delta Bessborough
- Toronto: John Horne from Canoe
- St. John’s: Mark McCrowe from Aqua Kitchen/Bar
- Ottawa: Patrick Garland from Absinthe Café
- Regina: Milton Rebello from Wascana Golf and Country Club
- Montreal: Antonio Park from Restaurant Park
- Calgary: Dave Bohati from Market Restaurant
For the lucky spectators who have their tickets to the events of the Canadian Culinary Championships, it promises to be a weekend of mouth-watering tastes and inspiring stories. For Kelowna, this is another ringing endorsement from national food heavy-hitters that believe in this area as a culinary gem. And who’s to disagree? With our own star chefs in restaurants around the city, our incredible Kelowna wineries and our wealth of fresh produce and specialty farms, the evidence is certainly in place to support them.
Net proceeds from Gold Medal Plates ($9.5 million to date) are given to the Canadian Olympic Foundation which supports Olympic athletes and high performance programs such as ‘Own the Podium’. Kelowna is now home to this prestigious Canadian competition until 2020.
There are less than 80 tickets left for both the Grand Finale event on Saturday night and Friday’s Mystery Wine Competition, so order your tickets today! For further information on the event and tickets visit www.goldmedalplates.com or please contact Demian Richardson at [email protected].
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