Meet the Okanagan’s culinary stars of tomorrow

If you want to get in on the ground floor of the region’s next generation of hot culinary talent, tuck into Okanagan College’s two signature events of the Okanagan Fall Wine Festival.

“These young chefs are so proud of their skills and Okanagan Wine Festival events like these provide a showcase for the culinary leaders of the future,” says Blair Baldwin, General Manager of the Okanagan Wine Festivals Society, and Okanagan College School of Business professor.

On Oct. 10, Quebec’s Alexis de Portneuf—one of the world’s finest cheese makers—is challenging 10 young B.C. Interior chefs to create an appetizer, main or dessert, using some of the firm’s prize-winning cheeses. The competing chefs, from area restaurants and Okanagan College’s Culinary Arts students, work their magic in partnership with area wineries to create complimentary tastes to impress attendees and judges.

“It’s good for young chefs to get out there and get their names recognized—it raises the profile of both the chef and the place that they work,” says Stuart Klassen, executive chef of the Delta Grand Okanagan Resort & Conference Centre, and president of the Okanagan Chef’s Association. He will be there mentoring his own young Delta Grand chef in the competition, Hayden Duval.

The Young Chefs event starts at 6:30 p.m., in the Atrium of the Centre for Learning on the Kelowna campus of Okanagan College. “It has already sold a record number of tickets,” says Baldwin. Tickets are $60 and available at

The next evening at 6 p.m., Okanagan College presents the 11th Annual Culinary Student Wine Dinner in Infusions Restaurant on the Kelowna Campus. As one of the hottest tickets in the wine festival season calendar, the event sold out in August, so it’s worth keeping on your radar for next year.

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