Chefs Raise Conservation Funds

Top Chefs celebrated nature’s bounty, raise funds for conservation

Top chefs from Vancouver and Kelowna are joining forces with The Nature Trust of BC to celebrate the gifts of nature in the Okanagan and support land conservation. The culinary showcase is part of Earth Wind Fire 2015 fundraiser set for this Saturday, June 20 at the Delta Grand Okanagan.Antelope_Natures_Trust_Earth_Wind_Fire-630x315

“I wouldn’t miss Earth Wind Fire; it’s my favourite event of the year and a cause that is relevant for all of us,” says award-winning Chef Rod Butters of Raudz Regional Table and Micro Bar & Bites. A leader in the farm-to-table moment, Butters focuses on fresh, regional cuisine with fun presentation.

Butters and his head chef Brock Bowes join a team of 19 of the BC finest chefs – all of whom are members of the Canadian Culinary Federation – as they offer a sampling of extraordinary dishes at Earth Wine Fire 2015.

The culinary line-up includes:

Harald Bonkowski, Culinary Arts Instructor, Vancouver Community College
Katelyn Boutilier, Support member, Culinary Team BC
Brock Bowes, Raudz Regional Table and Micro Bar & Bites
Rod Butters, Raudz Regional Table and Micro Bar & Bites
Danny Capadouca, Okanagan College
Bernard Casavant, President, Okanagan Chefs Association
Jesse Croy, Two Rivers Specialty Meats
Ross Derrick, The Table at Codfather’s Market
Robert Feist, Culinary Arts Instructor, VCC
Chiyo Higashimura, Terminal City Club
Dean Hossack, Executive Chef, Nita Lake Lodge, Whistler
Stuart Klassen, Okanagan College
Jeremy Luypen, Predator Ridge Golf Resort
Fumiko Moreton, Pastry Chef, Terminal City Club
Iain Rennie,  Delta Grand Okanagan Resort
Jane Ruddick, President, J.R. Food Consultants
Hamid Salimian, Co founder, NextJen Gluten Free
Spencer Watts, Executive Chef, Pastis
Jenice, Sakura Seafood

The chef’s creations will be paired with Okanagan wines. Among those pouring include:

Calona Vineyards
Culmina Family Estate Winery
Desert Hills Estate Winery
Dirty Laundry Vineyard
Foxtrot Vineyards
Howling Bluff Estate Winery
Meyer Family Vineyards
Noble Ridge Vineyard and Winery
Okanagan Crush Pad Winery
Peller Estates
Poplar Grove Winery
Road 13 Vineyards
Sandhill Winery
See Ya Later Ranch
Silver Sage Winery
Summerhill Pyramid Winery
Tinhorn Creek Vineyards
Wayne Gretzky Estates

The evening opened with a bubbles and butterflies reception hosted by Summerhill Pyramid Winery with jazz music by Anna Jacyszyn.

Andy and Tj, radio’s first couple from 101.5 EZ Rock greeted the guest as the evening moved into a live auction event with Ken Kilcullen. Kincullen has spent over 30 years as a broadcaster and is currently General Manager for Bell Media, BC Interior overseeing 22 radio stations and two television stations throughout British Columbia, including the Kelowna stations; Sun FM, EZ Rock and AM 1150.

Auction highlights included a five-course dinner and tour of Culmina Family Estate Winery hosted by Don and Elaine Triggs. Each course will be prepared by Master Chef Chris Van Hooydonk of Backyard Farm to match the intricate flavours of Culmina’s wines. Guests will stay at Spirit Ridge Resort for one night with transportation from Culmina to Spirit Ridge return.

Also on the auction block was artwork by Okanagan artist Dorothy Tinning, a “Cast Out” at Duncanby Lodge, a four-day fishing trip in Rivers Inlet and return airfare from Vancouver, two-night romance packages at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver and Delta Okanagan, a two-day excursion to Revelstoke Mountain Resort, and a three Okanagan adventure hosted by event co-chair Tom Kennedy.

The tour journeys through the Okanagan wine country to visit to the Nature Trust’s Antelope-brush conservation area with stops at the award-winning wineries and a two-night stay at Watermark Beach Resort located on the shores of Osoyoos Lake.

The evening wraped up with a dance with Cover-2-Cover. Composed of five-time Juno Award winner vocalist Julie Masi, guitarist Jime Rhindress, composer and performer Tony Koenen, veteran bassist Mike Kleineberg and drummer Dan Marcelino, this high-energy classic rock dance band entertained the crowd.

The event is part of the Nature Trust’s initiative to acquire critical habitat in the South Okanagan at the south end of Vaseux Lake (mid- way between Okanagan Falls and Oliver). Adjacent to The Nature Trust’s Antelope Brush Conservation Area, this multi-year project will create the largest private holding of antelope-brush in the South Okanagan (other than First Nations land). The Nature Trust is currently in the final phase of the project, raising funds to acquire the last piece of antelope-brush habitat to complete the holding.

The region is recognized as one of the four areas with the most endan- gered natural ecosystems in Canada and has one of the highest concentrations of species at risk. There are 20 species at risk currently known to occur on the property and at least 8 more species suspected to occur there. Most notably, this land supports greater than 50 per cent of the Canadian population of the Behr’s hairstreak butterfly. Other federally or provincially listed species at risk that are known to occur on the property include the American badger (jeffersonii subspecies), bighorn sheep, pallid bat, desert night snake, Great Basin spadefoot, and Lewis’s woodpecker.

By securing this property, at a cost of $1.6 million, the Nature Trust of British Columbia will be able to ensure both the protection of this critically important wildlife habitat and connectivity with other conservation areas. This in turn will provide greater opportunity for species to adapt to climate change.

Learn more about this project and the Nature Trust online at www.naturetrust.bc.ca.