Chef Meets BC Grape: Visitors Meet Vista at See Ya Later Ranch

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Chef Meets BC Grape: Visitors Meet Vista at See Ya Later Ranch

By Roslyne Buchanan.

The road up to See Ya Later Ranch Winery winds its way along the Okanagan River and climbs steeply to reach its vineyards at higher elevation. Intuitively you expect the location will have a view yet nothing prepares you for how spectacular you’ll find it.

See Ya Later Ranch Winery historic tasting room. Photo credit: Roslyne Buchanan.

What a perfect setting for Wines of British Columbia (BCWI) to present Chef Meets BC Grape: Taste of the Okanagan. It is one of three settings for this series which the BCWI calls the largest tasting of BC wine and food in Western Canada, “celebrating all things grown, crushed, raised and produced in BC.” Earlier this spring events were staged in Vancouver and Calgary.

We were greeted by sparkling wine being sabered. Photo credit: Roslyne Buchanan.

Proceeds from these events are donated to the BC Hospitality Foundation to provide scholarships and financial assistance to hospitality industry workers in need. For me this makes the extravaganza all the more compelling.

Barrel sample of wine from See Ya Later Winery. Photo credit: Roslyne Buchanan.

The historic stone tasting room catches your attention immediately. After you check in, get your program with the site map along with a wine glass and convenient wine-glass ready wooden plate, you are set to sip and nibble your way through the afternoon. But not before a glass of BC sparkling wine theatrically sabered.

CrAsian Food Truck/Provisions Kitchen & Catering, of Kelowna. Photo credit: Roslyne Buchanan.

Roaming through the winery grounds, you’ll find delightful sitting areas, musical entertainment and festival-style tenting featuring about 50 BC wineries and 12 food stations by leading chefs.

BC Salmon Tartare with Pea, Leek and Cured Yolk, Ocean Wise, Vancouver. Photo credit: Roslyne Buchanan.

Each element weaves together and leverages those jaw-dropping distant scenes like Skaha Lake, Penticton, Okanagan Lake, and the mountains beyond. There’s even a helicopter pad if you have the means to arrive so dramatically.

Among the Oliver/Osoyoos wineries presented was Culmina Winery. Photo credit: Roslyne Buchanan.

Included in the ticket along with the abundance of wine tastings, food and wine pairings, and musical ambiance is the option to attend a variety of masterclass wine education seminars and chef demonstrations.

Team at Terrafina at Hester Creek by RauDZ prepares for the guests. Photo credit: Roslyne Buchanan.

At the pergola, the chef demonstration stage was hosted by Master of Wine Rhys Pender and featured: Chef Roger Sleiman, Old Vines Restaurant at Quail’s Gate Winery, BC Side Stripe Prawn; Chef Bernard Casavant, Terrafina by RauDZ at Hester Creek Estate Winery, Everything Green Stuff Agnolotti; and Chef Stacy Johnston, Ocean Wise, Vancouver, Salmon Tartare.

Chef Simon Bouchard, The Sonora Room at Burrowing Owl Estate Winery. Photo credit: Roslyne Buchanan.

On the patio of the SYL Ranch Winery, Sommelier Mike Lee hosted wine seminars including: Okanagan Falls/Skaha Lake: The Heart of Wine Country, Focus on Pinot Noir & Chardonnay; Pop, Fizz, Clink: A BC Sparkling Wine Tasting; and Okanagan Falls/Skaha Lake: The Heart of Wine Country, Focus on Pinot Gris & Merlot.

Rust Wine Co. Photo credit: Roslyne Buchanan.

Tent One:
Wineries of Okanagan Falls/Skaha Lake, Summerland and Similkameen with food stations by Chef Matt Allen, SYL Ranch, Bison Short Rib Taco, Handmade Tortilla, Cabernet Mole; Chef Brock Bowes, CrAsian Food Truck/Provisions Kitchen & Catering, Pork and Chicken Sausage, Hoisin, Chicharron; Chef Matt Martin, Liquidity Bistro at Liquidity Winery, Scallop with Celeriac Kraut, Juniper and Kelp; and Chef Stacy Johnston, Ocean Wise, Vancouver, BC Salmon Tartare with Pea, Leek and Cured Yolk.

PiDGin, Vancouver, Kushiyaki, Pork Jowl Skewers. Photo credit: Roslyne Buchanan.

Tent Two:
Oliver and Osoyoos wineries with food stations by Chef Simon Bouchard, The Sonora Room at Burrowing Owl Estate Winery, Cherry Hill Espresso Rubbed Beef Tataki, ‘Mole’ Aioli, Brandied Cherries; Chef Rod Butters and Chef Bernard Casavant, Terrafina at Hester Creek by RauDZ, Everything Green Stuffed Agnollotti, plant based Bolognese, Pulse Kitchen almond chevre, herb crumb; Chef Jeffrey Van Geest, Miradoro Restaurant at Tinhorn Creek Vineyards, Grilled Octopus, N’duja, wild local watercress, Olive Oil Potato Puree; and Chef Wesley Young, PiDGin, Vancouver, Kushiyaki, Pork Jowl Skewers over Binchotan Charcoal.

Chef Matthias Fong, River Café, Calgary, preps. Photo credit: Roslyne Buchanan.

Tent Three:
Naramata Bench and Penticton with food stations by Chef Matthias Fong, River Café, Calgary, Buffalo Mozzarella & Crab, Edgar Farm Peas, Grand Fir, Caramelized Sake Kasu; and Chef Roy Oh with Stephanie O’Brien and Tyler Kimmel, Anju, Calgary, Oxtail Tortellini, Soy, Grana Padano and White Truffle Oil.

Buffalo Mozzarella & Crab, Edgar Farm Peas, Grand Fir, Caramelized Sake Kasu. Photo credit: Roslyne Buchanan.

Tent Four:
Kelowna and West Kelowna with food stations by Chef Roger Sleiman, Old Vines Restaurant at Quails’ Gate Winery, BC Side Strip Prawn, Okanagan Rhubarb; and Chef Neil Taylor, Home Block at CedarCreek Estate Winery, Chicken Liver Gougére, Apricot.

Old Vines Restaurant at Quails’ Gate Winery, BC Side Strip Prawn, Okanagan Rhubarb. Photo credit: Roslyne Buchanan.

The quality of wines and food was outstanding. Flavours and freshness popped as if to distract attendees from gazing into the vistas. The chefs seem to enjoy themselves almost as much as the crowds and they certainly brought their A games, dish after dish tantalizing your taste buds.

Chef demonstration stage with Chef Roger Sleiman hosted by Master of Wine Rhys Pender. Photo credit: Roslyne Buchanan.

Throughout the day, we chatted with many guests from out of region arriving from the coast, Kamloops, Alberta, Saskatchewan and even south of the border. Sometimes we get spoiled in the Okanagan by the bounty and beauty around us. At this BCWI event, the pace is leisurely and we had time to feel grateful.

Featured photo: Lovely seating areas to relax throughout your tasting extravaganza.

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Roslyne Buchanan (aka Roz) Roslyne Buchanan is a regular freelance contributor to food, travel, wine, home and lifestyle magazines. Her work has appeared in Food & Wine Trails, WestJet Magazine, OpenRoad Driver, Savour, Niche, Destinations Travel Magazine, My Van City, and blog.hellobc.com. Based above BC’s Naramata Bench in Penticton, she enjoys spectacular views of forests, vineyards, lakes, and hills beyond and regular visits from wildlife. Enchanted by the food and beverage industry and all things culinary as well as recreational pursuits such as travel, golfing, skiing, hiking, tennis and snorkeling. For her it’s the perfect balance to pursue her passion for writing with integrity and joy to share firsthand experiences. Most of her adventures are shared with her husband, Mark and when they’re not out exploring, they are managed by two felines Baja and Floyd. Find her personal blog at www.rozsmallfry.com, follow her on twitter @RozDB and Instagram @roslynebuchanan

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