Food Artisans of the Okanagan: Your guide to the best locally crafted fare

Available in Canada and the US, April 5, 2016 (TouchWood Editions)


Entries in Kelowna (6)


Okanagan Food & Wine Writers' Workshop 2015

Every year, I pull together a few of Canada's top food, wine, and travel writers to instruct at the Okanagan Food & Wine Writers' Workshop.

Now in its 6th year, from September 11-13, we'll learn from award-winning author and travel writers Marcello Di Cintio, WestJet editor Jill Foran, NUVO magazine editor Claudia Cusano, and me for six professional development sessions over two-and-a-half days in Kelowna, British Columbia--the food and wine eipcentre of Canada's hottest wine region. There are also exclusive food and wine experiences that only happen at the Okanagan Food & Wine Writers' Workshop. See what writer Roslyne Buchanan has to say about past workshops here.

The early-bird registration discount on workshop fees has been extended until July 31. Click here to find out more about the schedule and the registration info on the Okanagan Food & Wine Writers' Website.



What's NEW in the Okanagan Food and Wine Scene

It's that time of the year when friends, friends-of-friends, and friends'-friends'-friends (and relatives) start emailing me wanting to know what's new (and great). They want my personal picks, all curated and ready to roll.

This year, I'm ready, for ya, people! My What's New in the Okanagan Food and Wine Scene is currently in the March / April 2015 edition of City Palate magazine. Read the whole issue. There's loads of good stuff in there. Or you can zip right to pages 36 and 37 for my article.


"Encounters with Iceland" at Mission Hill Family Estate Winery, Kelowna, BC

"Encounters with Iceland" sculpture exhibit, Mission Hill Family Estate Winery, Kelowna, BC (image provided by Mission Hill Family Estates)

On Saturday, June 21, I was among the guests at Mission Hill's official opening of its new sculpture exhibit, "Encounters With Iceland." I hadn't been to Mission Hill in a while. Keeping up with all the new boutique wineries, distilleries, cideries, meaderies and eateries in the Okanagan Valley seems to be a losing battle, frankly, so I'm not prone to repeat visits to places I've already been several times over. But I'm grateful that I was on the guest-list.

Grateful? Yes, actually, which is funny because as I said, it's been a busy 2014 already. Launches! Openings! Special Events! And other Must-Attend happenings had me a little road-weary by the first day of summer. Pathetic, but true. And in true journalistic fashion, I was verging on becoming jaded, the writer's equivalent of being a snivelling whiner.

Mission Hill, however, knows how to create an occasion, and with the invite-only cachet -- a small gathering of journalists and Mission Hill Family Estate Wine Club members, plus a few other friends of the winery, I suspect -- plus it was a major international sculpture exhibition opening right here, in the valley. Furthermore, the sculptor of the 42 pieces, Steinunn Thórarinsdóttir, would be in attendance from Reykavik, Iceland. Iceland seems to be punching well above its weight class drawing half of Western Canada to its geysers and Nordic-chic cultural coolness these days. Why would I not go?

(Read the rest over at my Okanagan Food & Wine Writers Workshop blog.)


Meet Your Urban Farmer: Curtis Stone, Green City Acres, Kelowna

Curtis Stone, owner / urban farmer at his Green City Acres, is a very successful urban farmer in Kelowna, British Columbia. He's defied the critics ("you can't farm in cities and make money!) and is now in his third year of urban farming on borrowed residential front and back yards in downtown Kelowna.

I met him in his very first year of SPIN farming in downtown Kelowna (the interview is in the "Vancouver" chapter of the book). Since then, he's become an in-demand speaker with his SPIN farming seminars, and even as a TED talk speaker.

Here's a brand new video featuring Curtis. It's part of the excellent "Meet Your Urban Farmer" -- a short film series that introduces us to 18 urban farmers in and around the metro Vancouver area by Fire and Light Media Group.

Meet your Urban Farmer - Green City Acres (extended version) from Fire and Light Media Group on Vimeo.


PSA: Meet Your Maker farmer-chef event in the Okanagan, April 16, 2012

Photo courtesy of FarmFolk/CityFolk.I just got a press kit from FarmFolk/CityFolk, a Vancouver-based Canadian organization that puts on great events that brings city consumers together with farmers, about a new event in West Kelowna on April 16. The event is called Meet Your Maker. It's a networking event tailored to small businesses, like independent restaurants, to encourage them to use locally produced foods on their menus.

I've been to a number of their wildly successful Feast of Fields events. Now FarmFolk/CityFolk is having a networking event for chefs and farmers to meet and hopefully generate some economic activity on the local foods and independent restaurant level. I'm pretty excited that one of the guest speakers is Chef Michael Lyon, from Kelowna's Hotel Eldorado’s Lakeside Restaurant. (Cross promotion: The Hotel Eldorado is the host hotel of the 2012 Okanagan Food & Wine Writers Workshop that I am currently in the midst of organizing. And I chose "The El" because I LOVE it. It's the perfect indie boutique hotel and restaurant in the Okanagan's Wine Country.)

Here's a quote from the Meet Your Maker press release itself:

Meet Your Maker is modeled after Portland’s annual Farmer-Chef Connection event that started in 2000. Since then, their network has grown to over 250 producers and 150 buyers who are collectively doing more than $19 million in annual business. Meet Your Maker has expanded the idea to include farmers, fishers, ranchers, food processors, distributors, retailers, food delivery, restaurants and caterers. You are all part of our food system. Total sales & business deals generated at our Vancouver MEET YOUR MAKER event was $268,000 … and, we’re growing!


  • Keynote speakers Donna Dennison, Little Creek Gardens and Chef Michael Lyon, Hotel Eldorado’s Lakeside Restaurant
  • Green Table Network – Greening the restaurant industry, interactive workshop
  • Moderated Panel: From Farm to Fork: Building a sustainable supply chain
  • 2 Structured networking sessions (Speed-dating style) – Session 1: PRODUCERS stand at your table and greet Buyers.  Session 2: BUYERS stand at your table and greet Producers.  Producers (farmers, ranchers, food processors, fishers, etc.) we suggest you bring products (if you have any during this time of year), photos of your farm, etc. to put on your table when you arrive in the morning.
  • Delicious local potluck lunch – suggest what you can contribute when you register!

Monday April 16, 2012
9am – 3:30pm
Westbank Lions Hall Community Centre
2- 2466 Main St, Westbank (West Kelowna)

Registration is $50 for all attendees. Advance purchase only.

Registration deadline April 9.

Visit the Meet Your Maker webpage to purchase tickets and for more info.

Click this thumbnail to see the event poster in full size.