Dana Ewart looks out the door and is astounded by the view from her new shipping container kitchen overlooking Black Hills Estate Winery.
“Black Hills provides such a classy experience. They think about all the details here and it is a little outside the box from the confines of a normal restaurant. I mean look at the view it is pretty amazing,” she said.
Ewart and co-owner Cameron Smith are expanding on their popular catering service with the unique addition of a shipping container kitchen perched on the Black Hills Estate Winery hillside in Oliver.
The smell of locally grown ingredients will be wafting over the entrance to the Wine Experience Centre during lunch hours Thursday to Monday from 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The Joy Road Catering chefs graduated from esteemed schools and have worked at renowned restaurants in Toronto and Montreal, but it was on a mountain biking trip that they fell in love with the Okanagan.
They decided to step outside of their comfort zone of working for others and built their own successful business. Seeing how savvy wine tourists are, the Joy Road Catering pair enjoy travelling to hot weather wine country regions around the world to bring back new ideas for the Okanagan. One of those was a shipping container kitchen.
“We want to keep it fresh, local and interesting. In San Francisco we saw a little ice cream stand in a shipping container and thought it was awesome because it is so original and unique,” said Ewart.
Flat bread pizzas with the freshest local ingredients, salmon on a bed of asparagus, decadent chocolate cookies filled with chocolate fudge and topped with sprinkles of sea salt all have their Black Hills wine pairings.
The menu changes with the ingredients that are in season and the wine experts and cuisine du terroir pros come together to make a perfect partnership.
“There is phenomenal terroir here and we are passionate about it. Joy Road are really into the cuisine terroir so it is a really great fit,” said Glenn Fawcett, president of Black Hills Winery. “We are putting our effort into creating an experience for our guest that reflects the terroir. That is one of the coolest things about this, you can taste the food creations, with winemaker Graham (Pierce’s) creations and it creates a good perspective of what that is all about.”
Fawcett said they wanted to create something memorable at the Wine Experience Centre where customers can make a connection more substantial than a “splash and dash” of a stand-up wine bar.
“With this partnership with Joy Road we really can take that to the next level of marrying food and wine and take the customer experience to the next level,” he said.
For Joy Road Catering it has been a whirlwind ride from their start selling pies at the Penticton Farmer’s Market. Their passion for the slow food movement has earned them plenty of praise and air time in the media.
“We are pretty blessed,” agrees Ewart. “There is a lot to be said about going about humbly and simply in your work and being really dedicated to what you are doing. We don’t order from Sysco trucks, we order from local growers and people really like that. We live on an acreage growing our own herbs and raising our own chickens and pigs. It is a lot of work and I think people appreciate that. They see it, taste it, feel it and they get it.”