Okanagan Chef Named Canadian Chef of the Year

Willi Franz, CCFCC Chef of the Year

The Canadian Culinary Federation (CCFCC) awarded Chef Willi Franz of Grapevine Restaurant at Gray Monk Winery ‘Chef of the Year’ at the National Conference held in Vancouver last week. This marks the first time in the 46- year history of the award, that an Okanagan chef has been honored.

The award is given every year to the Chef Member who has made an outstanding contribution to the profession of Culinary Arts and who has demonstrated a remarkable commitment to the Canadian Culinary Federation.

Over the past 40 years, Chef Willi Franz has worked in many great establishments with a variety of cooking styles. Although trained in classical French cuisine, like any great chef, his style of cooking has evolved over the years and has led him to wine country cooking which fits perfectly with the Okanagan lifestyle and it’s bounty of produce. Chef Franz makes it a priority to assemble the best seasonal and local products and pair them with the delicious and equally award winning Gray Monk Estate Winery wines located just outside his kitchen door.

Not one to focus only on his efforts in the restaurant kitchen, Chef Franz is also involved in the community and was a founding member of the international gastronomic association, Chaine des Rotisseurs in the Okanagan and Past President of the Okanagan Chefs Association (OCA). Now serving the OCA as Chairman he has spearheaded several successful fundraisers for the Association and has taken the leadership role in organizing events at the Kelowna Gospel Mission feeding 200 patrons as well as the OCA Valentine’s Dinner for the Less Fortunate serving 275 diners.

In addition to sharing his expertise with the community, his passion for his profession is truly demonstrated in his support of the Junior Chefs. In 2010 he organized the Junior Chefs competition sponsored by Saputo at Okanagan College as an exciting addition to the Fall Wine Festival.

The Okanagan Valley is fortunate to have such a talented chef who demonstrates his commitment to his passion every day on the plate at the restaurant and in the community through his outreach projects.

The Canadian Culinary Federation (CCFCC) is dedicated through training and partnering, to the promotion of a distinctly Canadian food culture both nationally and internationally. It is committed to the development of innovative and engaging learning opportunities that inspire its members to be passionate, respectful and tolerant professionals who make a difference in the community. The CCFCC is available to any and all persons who are actively pursuing a career path as a cook apprentice, journeyman cook, professional chef/cook or culinary professional.


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