Tuesday, April 20, 2010
The first event of the Banée weekend in Osoyoos was Culinaria, a food and wine gala held in the ballroom of the Watermark Beach Resort on the west side of Osoyoos Lake.
The room was packed, and the entire event was very high energy, very dynamic. Food and wine grazing stations surrounded the room, offering food and wine from South Okanagan wineries, restaurants, and gourmet food producers like Sezmu Meats and Osoyoos Gelato.
Mick Luckhurst from Road 13 Vineyards in the foreground left, and behind him is Bruce Fuller from Rustico Farm and Cellars chats with Culinaria guests.
One of the most popular stations was a cooking class held by Cameron Smith and Dana Ewart of Joy Road Catering, who demonstrated techniques for gourmet fare using fresh local ingredients.
Stratford Chef's School-trained chef and baker Dana Ewart.
Dana Ewart and Cameron Smith cook up a storm.
But for me the highlight of the evening was the Iron Chef competition, because I got to be an Iron Chef Judge! Lucky me -- one of the judges had to drop out and I got tapped as the replacement. I didn't do anything to deserve such exalted status, but I sure was happy to do it!
Judge's eye view of the competition, with Chef Jesse hard at work.
Master of Ceremonies Terry David Mulligan grills Chef Roger for his secrets.
The secret ingredient was veal flank steak and veal sweetbread. Delicious! The competition pitted Chef Jesse against Chef Roger. Though Chef Jesse won, I can testify that the race was very close.
The aftermath of the Iron Chef competition.
The two standout flavours of the competition were the stinging nettles in Chef Jesse's appetizer, and the flash fried sweetbreads in Chef Roger's main. My only regret is that I'd already had an amazing meal that evening at Spirit Ridge Resort, and thus wasn't able to clean my plates. I will hope -- only hope -- that someday I get another opportunity to be an Iron Chef judge. Maybe if I'm very, very good.