Kelowna 2018: The year in food
This article was written by Twyla Campbell for eatnorth. You can read more here.
Change comes to the valley.
It was at Amuse, an event in March held to showcase the area’s best food and drink, that I noticed a shift in Kelowna’s culinary scene. More than 50 restaurants, distilleries, wineries, cideries and breweries featured their products in a food and drink pairing extravaganza that entertained and fed 500 guests in the Centre for Learning at Okanagan College. I was one of three judges tasked with tasting and scoring the entries.
Guffaw if you will, but our jobs were not easy. The level of food execution and the quality of the drinks were unbelievably and surprisingly good.
50th Parallel Winery and its restaurant, Block One, took top honours in three categories. It shows what’s happening in Lake Country where five out of the eight wineries operate top notch restaurants; two of them (Block One, and the Garden Bistro at The Chase Wines) opened just this year. Both are housed in stunning buildings and both adhere to the ideology of using seasonal, locally sourced ingredients.
If I had to wrap up the Kelowna food scene in one sentence, it would be all about the feels: the food coming out of newly opened kitchens is thoughtful and compelling, and the people who make it are doing it for the right reasons. They want to feed you food that makes you feel good.
That’s exactly the approach taken by Kelowna restaurant pioneer Mark Filatow. This Okanagan chef opened Waterfront Café and Catering on Abbott Street in the waning weeks of 2017, making him miss the boat on “best of” lists like this. So, take note and grab a table. Every year, Filatow wins awards and recognition for Waterfront Wines for good reason. The café, although more casual, should garner the same respect because the food is of equal quality, which is to say, spectacular.
Speaking of pioneers, Audrey Surrao and Rod Butters, the duo behind Raudz, Micro and Terrafina (at Hester Creek Winery in Oliver) opened a much needed breakfast spot called Sunny’s Modern Diner. After all that liquid consumption, you’re going to need a big plate of whatever they’re serving at Sunny’s the next morning to set you straight. Pro tip: the breakfast poutine with fries (or hashbrowns), cheese curds, beef brisket, fried egg and hollandaise is a lifesaver.