Okanagan Chefs Association Presents Farm to Fork Competition

Chef Brandon Pridie -2011 Winner of Okanagan Chef’s Assocation “Farm to Fork Global Scholarship” Competition held at Sunshine Organic Farm. All images: Claire Sear

The Okanagan Chefs Association along with the Canadian Culinary Federation held the 2nd Annual “Farm to Fork Global Sponsorship” on Sunday. This grueling Black Box Iron Chef competition saw 5 of the Okanagan’s best junior chef’s compete for a 3 month scholarship at La Petraia, a culinary school and certified organic 175 acre farm in the Chianti region of Tuscany run by Canadians Michael &  Susan McKenna Grant. Last year’s winner, Robin Sigurdson from Manteo’s Resort-Wild Apple Restaurant is currently on scholarship at La Petraia and is blogging about her experience on her blog Ciao Canada, Bonjouro Italy.

With only 5 spots available in the competition it is an honor to be chosen as a competitor for this event. This year’s talent roster:  Brandon Pridie from Grapevine Restaurant at Gray Monk winery, Julie Price from Okanagan College Culinary Arts, Katie Foster from RauDZ Regional Table, Peter Watkins also from RauDZ Regional Table, and Ivy Fan Yang from Manteo Resort’s-Wild Apple Restaurant.  The Okanagan College Culinary Arts program provided Assistant Chefs Ryan Shewchuk, Nigel Tearle, Jesse Hiscoe, Dasha Swetlishoff and Ran Bryshun.

This year’s secret location was Sunshine Organic Farm and the competing chefs were allowed to use the large outdoor community oven and pick any of the herbs, vegetables and fruits from the farm gardens to accompany the Black Box Ingredients of Sockeye Salmon, Quadra Island Scallops supplied by Codfathers, free-range chicken and wild boar bacon supplied by North Okanagan Game Meats, Coronation Grapes supplied by Stoney Paradise Farm and fresh chanterelles and corn supplied by the Kelowna Farmer’s Market. A wonderful lunch was enjoyed by all who attended with wine donated from  Grey Monk Winery, newly opened Intrique Winery and RauDZ Regional Table supplied the Italian wine.

Congratulations to winning Chef Brandon Pridie who is off to Italy next fall.  Gray Monk Winery is having a stellar year in the kitchen; Executive Chef Willi Franz won the Chef of the Year Award earlier this year from the Canadian Culinary Federation– the first time for an Okanagan Chef in the 46 years of the award. Clearly, the protégés of the Okanagan’s best chefs are receiving the training, guidance and mentorship to guarantee the Okanagan will be showcasing Canada’s next wave of superstar chefs.

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