Local Lounge and Grille of Summerland was crowned Similkameen Barbecue King on Saturday, at the Grist Mill in Keremeos.
Local Lounge’s offering of a cherry barbeque pulled pork taco, sorrel pickled zucchini, shaved carrot, pork sausage and cherry hot sauce, paired with Seven Stones Winery’s 2009 pinot noir was the people’s and media’s choice over eight other creative dishes and wine pairings.
Chef Lee Humphries came up with the winning creation with assistant chef Damien Mischkinis.
“All in all, it was a very long, hot, rewarding day surrounded by amazing talent, exceptional wine and great people,” said Humphries.
George Hanson, owner and winemaker at Seven Stones Winery, was equally as thrilled.
“It was such an honour to be partnered with chef Lee and the team from Local Lounge • Grille. Their dish paired perfectly with our pinot noir,” he said.
The wine and food experience had nine featured chefs each given a black box of identical ingredients and paired with a winery. Chefs were given a 29 kilogram hog, 20 bunches of organic carrots, nine kg of organic zucchini, nine kg of organic lambert cherries, nine kg of organic mixed sorrel and a 100 gram shaker of country pepper.
The Grist Mill took second place in the people’s choice award. Chef Natasha Schooten prepared a stuffed pork loin with cherry barbecued pulled pork and zucchini scone with carrot butter. Sage Brush Winery provided their pinot noir. The media award for second place went to Shayna Merritt and Josh Shulman, from Shayna & Shulman Culinary Adventures, who were paired with Orofino Winery.
The Barbeque King event continues to grow in popularity, with this year’s version attracting over 400 guests. The Similkameen Wineries Association, who organized the event, couldn’t have asked for a better night. Clear skies and hot summer weather had people sprawling on the Grist Mill’s cool grass as they tasted the delicacies of the evening, drank wine and waited for the results. In the background the mellow strains of Anja Jazz Trio, headed by Keremeos musician Jonnie Bridgman, could be heard.
“This is just great,” said Grist Mill operator Chris Mathieson. “I’m seeing lots of locals, as well as visitors. There are a number of people from Vancouver as well.” Mathieson said several members of the national media were also attending.
“It’s great to get that kind of exposure for an event like this,” he said.
Other pairings for the evening included Walnut Beach Resort (Robin Ridge), Watermark (Rustic Roots), Miradoro (Eau Vivre), Hillside (Vineglass), Burger 55 (Forbidden Fruit), Delta Grand Okanagan (Clos Du Soliel).
“The sold-out event was a huge success. More than 400 people had the opportunity to taste the amazing creations from each chef, to enjoy the fantastic wines from the wineries of the Similkameen Wineries Association and to explore the gorgeous Grist Mill and Gardens,” said Kim Lawton, marketing director of the Similkameen Wineries Association.