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$10K for Start Fresh Project

On Saturday, July 22nd,  Quails’ Gate Winery hosted a special A Midsummer Night’s Dream Fundraising Dinner in collaboration with Vancouver’s renowned West Restaurant and Opera Kelowna, resulting in over $10,500 being raised for the Start Fresh Project.

Appropriately tailored to the Midsummer Night’s Dream theme, the group of 70 guests were treated to a private performance from Opera Kelowna prior to enjoying an exquisite 5-course farm-to-vineyard menu from Quails’ Gate Winery Chef Roger Sleiman and West Restaurant Executive Chef Quang Dang. Signature plates included a selection of produce from the Start Fresh teaching farm located in Kelowna’s Lower Mission.

“We were extremely honoured to host this very special evening,” remarks Quails’ Gate’s Communications & Marketing Manager Lindsay Kelm. “It was a truly amazing night that allowed us to bring together our passion for creating exceptional wine and culinary experiences with our love for art and our mission to give back to our local community. We are absolutely thrilled with the proceeds that we were able to raise for The Start Fresh Project and cannot thank our guests enough for their generosity.”

The auction, led by Quails’ Gate’s own Cynthia Walker and legendary media personality Jamie Maw, featured five items including two tickets to Opera Kelowna's La Boheme performance in August, a special tasting menu for four at West Restaurant, two tickets to Quails’ Gate’s upcoming Araxi in the Okanagan dinner featuring Araxi Restaurant’sExecutive Chef James Walt in October, a catered dinner for ten people from the Okanagan Chefs Association and a dinner for eight prepared by Michael Buffett and The Start Fresh Project team.

“This beautiful valley was built on the backs of collaborations and partnerships,” said Maw. “And this critical needs project is no different — pulling together the Top Table Group and Quails’ Gate to align the stars for Start Fresh is what we’re all about. And as for the generosity of our dinner guests — well, we raised over $10,000 in a 20-minute mini-auction. Many thanks to all.”

The Start Fresh Project is a Kelowna grown non-profit organization, providing year-round training in Culinary Arts and Farming Education — the ‘CAFE Program’. Designed for individuals who are unemployed or underemployed right here in our community, the organization aims to increase access to education, employment, food security and housing, by providing folks with tuition-free skills training.

The teaching farm is centrally located on Benvoulin Road in Kelowna’s Lower Mission, where folks learn valuable farming skills and spend time in nature. The teaching kitchen is located in Landmark II, and gives participants the opportunity to learn cooking basics, and participate in a professional kitchen environment.

“We are over the moon,” says Michael Buffett, the founder and driving force behind Start Fresh. “It was as if an angel was suspended over the Quails’ Gate vineyard on Saturday night. We can now keep a critical employee on board and really focus on our programming. We cannot express strongly enough our gratitude to the chefs, West Restaurant and Quails’ Gate — this was pure magic.”

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