KELOWNA – Masterchef Canada finalist Kaila Klassen’s new restaurant in downtown Kelowna is in the final stages of preparation for a grand opening at the end of the month.
Klassen, a realtor from West Kelowna finished Masterchef Canada in third place, announcing in April her plan to open a restaurant called Krafty Kitchen + Bar.
“The food is going to be local ingredients and local fare, small bites and really happily-shared food that is interactive and really fun,” she says.
Krafty Kitchen has been undergoing extensive renovations since the lease was signed on a 2100 sq. ft. space on Lawrence Ave. Klassen says not only will her food be locally sourced, but the materials and labour needed all come from the Okanagan.
“From the carpenter to the electrician to the sign guy, the whole look of the restaurant has really been a collaboration of everyone who has worked in the space,” she says. “That really speaks to the fact that we want to be a community oriented restaurant.”
The restaurant décor is made up of reclaimed light fixtures from an abandoned local warehouse, a 3” antique live edge fir bar and metal and wood signs, all made locally.
“Almost 100 per cent of the labour and materials come from around the Okanagan,” she says. “We want to support our local farmers who are hand-picking their beautiful peas, not just because their produce tastes better, but because it helps the community.”
The restaurant will seat up to 90 people in the summer, including a 40-seat patio. The kitchen is completely open to viewing, something Klassen says will help diners better appreciate the quality and freshness.
“The kitchen is completely open so you see everything that happens,” she says. “We wanted it to be entertaining for the guests and for them to feel a part of the entire experience. It will be the most entertaining kitchen in the Okanagan, I can guarantee that.”
Despite her success on the reality cooking show competition, Klassen says she realizes she is not a professional chef and will need help running a kitchen. She got in touch with Calgary chef Chris Shafton and pitched the idea.
“I’m very aware I’m not a trained chef,” she says. “Danielle (from Masterchef) told me Chris (Shafton) always wanted to move to the Okanagan so we talked about our dream and decided to make it happen together.”
Shafton, himself a contestant on Top Chef Canada season three, says he couldn’t be happier to be bringing his experience to the Okanagan.
“The whole concept of shared food is new to the Kelowna market but it’s proven successful in other cities,” he says. “There’s a large population of people here spending money on food and wine, it’s a lot like what happened in Calgary ten years ago before the restaurant boom.”
Krafty Kitchen + Bar is expected to open before the end of July.
Workers from Kelowna-based Wolverine Industries install Krafty Kitchen + Bar's indoor sign.
(ADAM PROSKIW / iNFOnews.ca)
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