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Okanagan's youngest executive chef brings unique dishes to savour

Bold tastes at Serendipity

Looking for something a little different than what you would normally eat at an Okanagan winery?

Naramata’s Serendipity Winery has the answer, and it’s all because it employs the youngest executive chef in the Okanagan.

Tristan Bunkowski is a Vancouver native who has already worked in several locations around the world, and now he has brought his fresh vision to the Bistro at Serendipity.

“His food is out-of-this-world extraordinary,” Serendipity Winery winemaker Katie O’Kell says, “and more people have to come and taste it.”

Bunkowski, a 24-year-old who has worked with two Michelin-starred chefs in Bangkok, is also studying to become a level three sommelier, all in an effort to reach new heights when it comes to his food and wine pairings.

“I knew Tristan before he started working with us,” O’Kell says, “and from the moment I met him I knew that I would just love him. He’s got such a good personality. He works so hard. He's got an amazing work ethic and such a positive attitude.

“I love having a young chef here, and it's nice to give him the freedom to make whatever he wants whenever he wants.”

It’s clear from the menu that Bunkowski thinks outside of the box. Some of the dishes include Bread and Bone, which features sourdough bread, a balsamic jelly and bone marrow, which is something you don't see every day in the Okanagan. O’Kell’s favourite is the pistachio pesto gnudi, which uses ricotta and parmesan cheese instead of potato as the binder. It pairs spectacularly with Serendipity’s viognier, according to O’Kell. Bunkowski also whips up delicious shrimp tostadas inspired from his time in Mexico.

Bunkowski loves to include fermentation when it comes to his cuisine creativity. He has been working with black garlic that takes two weeks to create, and he is working on another dish for the winter that requires three months of fermentation.

“I don't know how I describe my cuisine,” Bunkowski says. “It’s really light, refreshing food you think you'd be eating in between the vines in France or Italy in wine country. I really want my food to be focused around being light, refreshing and obviously pairing extremely well with the wine, just so people can really ingest and enjoy during a bunch of wine tastings.”

Bunkowski doesn’t have a sous-chef with this year, yet he makes as many of his ingredients as he can in-house. He wants his dishes to be as genuine and as fresh as possible.

The Bistro at Serendipity, which is located at 990 Lower Debeck Rd. in Naramata, is open from 12:30 to 8 p.m. Thursday through Sunday.

This article is written by or on behalf of the sponsoring client and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

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