Celebrating the Rich Flavours of Culinary Art
If author Malcolm Gladwell was a foodie and lived in the Okanagan, there’s a good chance he would say this region is at the tipping point of becoming one of the biggest and brightest stars in the firmament of Canadian cuisine.
Re- Posted from Okanagan Art October 2009
From award-winning restaurateurs to first-class purveyors of fine artisan food and drink, the Okanagan is virtually exploding with culinary riches. The challenge, of course, in this supermarket world of the 21st Century is to remind ourselves of the riches that are coming from the earth beneath our feet. And remind ourselves as well of the fine products that are produced from those riches.
On Thursday, October 9 at 5 pm at the Bohemian Cafe, the Okanagan Institute Express series of free public presentations examines the local food culture from the ground up with Artisanal Fare: Creating Culinary Art. Featured speakers are Frank Dieter of Okanagan Spirits, Dale Zeich of Little Creek Gardens, and Perry Bentley, chef instructor at Okanagan College.
Frank Dieter, a forester by trade, returned to his homeland of Germany to study fermentation and distilling processes from Herbert Roesch, one of Germany’s top distillers, and Italian grappa master Vittorio Capovilla. To add a touch of the Old World to his operations, he imported a traditional German wood-fired copper-pot still that is specifically designed to capture the fruit aromas.
Passionate about all the fruit this valley has to offer, Dieter produces a variety of fruit brandies. But recently he’s been in the news for his efforts to get national distribution for Taboo, his crafty name for the legendary absinthe he now produces as well.
Dale Ziech is a board director with the North Okanagan Organic Association and co-owner of Little Creek Gardens, was among the first in the valley to “go organic” back in 1984 when traditional farmers scoffed at the idea. The farm became Certified Organic in 1991, and grows a variety of gourmet mixed greens, tomatoes, baby vegetables and edible flowers.
Perry Bentley is a chef instructor at the Okanagan College culinary arts program. Born into a foodie household in a rural setting, where bread was baked each morning, the eggs collected and the goats milked, likely made his career inevitable. Bentley did his initial apprenticeship in cookery after studying hospitality business at technical college in the south of England and then completed his training in one of the large London hotels.
Perry lived in France and Australia before coming to Canada in the early ’90’s, he now specializes in bakery and pastry arts and has just returned to teaching after a year’s sabbatical studying food and wine in Italy and Argentina.
“Canada has a fantastic food culture, it’s a great place to be in the hospitality business and to teach Culinary arts, and the Okanagan is really going to be more and more of a food and wine destination.”