The Event That Kicks Off Summer in the Okanagan
Chef Meets Grape sets your eating and drinking agenda for the year.
The May long weekend is over, which means we can rightfully expect that summer has officially begun, which means… it’s time to head to the Okanagan, summer’s spiritual home in the West.
But I will confess that keeping up with what’s going on in the Valley isn’t quite as easy as it was when Harvey Ave was more of a road and less of a parking lot. Which is why Chef Meets Grape is the perfect springboard. Full disclosure: I go to this event in Vancouver pretty much every year because it’s the one place where I can hit so many wineries and see so many principles in such a compact period of time. Fuller disclosure: I’m a huge supporter of the BC Wine Institute, which puts on the event. I truly believe they’re doing God’s work (at least Bacchus’ work) with how they’re promoting wine.
It wasn’t that long ago when any given article on B.C. wine had to explain why the wine was so expensive. But now it seems like every week I’m tasting a bottle—this week it was Stag Hollow’s Albarino—that is not only of exceptional quality, but better priced than the imported version. Stag’s Hollow will be there, of course, as well as Moon Curser, Sperling, Culmina and Checkmate, to name a few that spring to mind from the 50-plus that attend. There’s a few, like House of Rose, that I’ve never even heard of and that you’d never even get a chance to try outside of this.
And then there are the restaurants. In researching new openings for our June Okanagan issue, I was overwhelmed by the sheer number of spots that have opened (or are opening) this year alone. Home Block at the new and very swanky CedarCreek is open as of last week, and chef Neil Taylor, who killed it in Vancouver at Espana, will be at Chef Meets Grape. As will OK legends Rod Butters and Bernard Cassavant from Terrafina by Raudz. And the cool thing about this event is that the chef winners from the Vancouver event (Stacy Johnston, Ocean Wise; Jeff Van Geest, Miradoro Restaurant at Tinhorn Creek Winery; and Wesley Young, Pidgin) and the Calgary event (Matthias Fong, River Café, and Roy Oh, Anju) will be there as well.
And if that all sounds sort of fawning, well, so be it. It’s summer and I’m happy and I want you to be, too. The event is June 8 and tickets are $125 and available here. Both Vancouver and Calgary were sellouts…and this one takes place outdoors in one of the most beautiful settings in B.C., so maybe act fast-ish.