Chefs vie for title of Similkameen BBQ King

July 14 event at Keremeos Grist Mill will feature eight of the region's top chefs

The winner of last year's Similkameen BBQ King

The winner of last year's Similkameen BBQ King

There are events galore coming up on the Okanagan summer calendar.

Join the delicious fun at this year’s Similkameen BBQ King on July 14 from 5-8 p.m. at the incredibly beautiful Historic Grist Mill and Gardens in Keremeos.

Enjoy the award-winning wines from eight of the local wineries and cuisine from the eight chefs who are vying for the title of Similkameen BBQ King 2012.

The eight competing chefs will create unique dishes using ingredients from the Similkameen Valley. Attendees at the event will go from station to station enjoying the foods prepared by each chef, along with Similkameen wines specifically paired to go with each dish, and then all attendees get the opportunity to cast their vote for the Similkameen BBQ King or Queen.

“This event truly is an extraordinary evening and a very special Similkameen experience,” said Sara Harker, president of the Similkameen Wineries Association.

“It features eight of the top chefs from the region, who create amazing dishes for all of our guests to enjoy. Each dish is paired with wine from one of our eight Similkameen Wineries Association member wineries. The Grist Mill provides a stunning venue for the event.”

The eight competing chefs are from the Delta Grand Okanagan in Kelowna, Gregor’s Gourmet from Keremeos, Hillside Bistro from Naramata, Manteo Resort from Kelowna, the Penticton Lakeside Resort, Terrafina Restaurant and The Sonora Room Restaurant from Oliver, and the Walnut Beach Resort in Osoyoos. Chef Chris Van Hooydonk from The Sonora Room, reigning Similkameen BBQ King, will be back again to defend his honour. Chef Chris Remington from the Penticton Lakeside Resort, who won for best wine and food pairing, will also be back to try again for another trophy.

“Our 2011 Similkameen BBQ King event placed second overall in the ‘Best food/drink experience of the year’ category for the Exceptional Eats Awards (Okanagan) from readers of Eat Magazine, and we expect this to be another wonderful event,” said Harker.

In addition to the amazing food and wine at this event, there will also be live entertainment by local musicians Destin and Rob, plus a silent auction that is a partial fundraiser for the Grist Mill, which is a Heritage B.C. site.

“We are starting to get in some absolutely amazing prizes for our silent auction, including an awesome prize donated by Savour Magazine — an iPad and a one-year subscription to the digital version of Savour Magazine,” said Harker. “Terrafina Restaurant has also donated an amazing gourmet multi-course wine-paired eight-person cooking class lunch with Chef Natasha and there are many other extraordinary silent auction items.”

Tickets are $75 and are available at or by calling 250-488-0878. I am thrilled to be a judge again this year.

Shuttle options are available from Kelowna through to Penticton and Osoyoos and accommodation packages are also available. Kelowna’s Experience Wine Tours is offering an amazing package deal to ride to and from the event: $105 includes your ticket to the event and service to and from the event in a luxury vehicle. Book directly with owner Matt Wentzell at 250-300-0597 or



Party in the Park

On Friday, from 5–9 p.m., the Okanagan Falls Winery Association is throwing their inaugural Party in the Park. Great wine, great food and live music are on the agenda at scenic Kenyon Park on the shores of Skaha Lake in Okanagan Falls. Chef Martin Laprise of The Chef Instead will be cooking up a finger-licking southern barbecue buffet to enjoy with the many award-winning Okanagan Falls wineries. Shuttle transportation is available from Oliver and Osoyoos through Unveil Shuttles, as well as from Penticton through Grape Escapes.

As part of the Summer Okanagan Wine Festival you can purchase tickets online at or at member wineries.




Jennifer Schell is the editor of B.C. Food and Wine Trails magazine.