Sign up here for our Newsletter!

Chef Bernard Casavant takes a new role with O'Rourke Family Vineyards

Chef Bernard Casavant, a driving force behind our Okanagan culinary industry.
Chef Bernard Casavant, a driving force behind our Okanagan culinary industry.
Image Credit: FB/ Bernard Casavant

Chef Bernard Casavant is a well-known and beloved name in our B.C. restaurant industry.

Originally from Vancouver Island, his early career days were spent at Chateau Whistler where he played a key role forming Whistler into a culinary destination. Here in the Okanagan, he helped steer our future chefs through his program management role at the culinary school at Okanagan College and has overseen some of our most celebrated eateries across the valley all while being an integral part of creating the Okanagan's culinary identity. One thing remains consistent, wherever he goes he graciously shares his impressive knowledge of the industry and his great passion for all things culinary.

After spending the last few years working closely with Rod Butters and Audrey Surrao and as director of operations for their Raudz Creative Concepts, the current state of our world led Chef B (as he is affectionately known) to devote his time back into his consulting business. Many are not aware that over the many years in this industry, Chef Bernard has consulted on a huge range of impressive projects through his Casavant Enterprises. During these unprecedented times in our restaurant industry, Casavant’s four decades of knowledge will serve us well. In his own words, “The best laid plan is a plan to change”, a statement that is now truer than ever.

O'Rourke Family Vineyards is unfolding as one of Canada's most epic winery projects.
Image Credit: FB/ O'Rourke Family Vineyards

His new consulting project is with O’Rourke Family Vineyards and their behemoth winery project in Lake Country. The O’Rourke family has hired Chef Bernard as Chef Consultant & Hospitality Operations. If you have not been in the loop about this epic winery world in progress, prepare to be wowed.

The Carrs Landing estate where proprietor Dennis O’Rourke chose to build his dream is a 300-acre property with astonishing panoramic views of surrounding orchards, vineyards, rolling mountains and Okanagan Lake. The property features unbelievable wine caves with 300 metres of winding tunnels and 12,000 square-feet of cave space to store and age wines. Currently under construction is the main winery, theatre, a restaurant, event centre, formal wine tasting room, and the “Owner’s House”, an addition to the winery that will offer a 3-bedroom suite with a 60-seat dining room…oh, and there is more to come. All angles of this massive operation that include food and beverage and hospitality will be overseen by Chef Bernard.

There are two wineries in this project, the first of the two wineries is open – O’Rourke’s Peak Cellars. The tasting room and restaurant are open for pick-up and delivery of wine and also have special take out food offerings available from the restaurant. Order online here.

A little more on Chef Bernard Casavant: He was one of the first chefs in Canada to earn the Chef de Cuisine Certification (CCC) and became the first West Coast-born and trained chef to represent Canada in the prestigious Bocuse d'Or Competition, France (fun fact: he is actually the first chef to bring home the now familiar chef's trademark plume hat from Bocuse in 1991). He is an esteemed member of the B.C. Restaurant Hall of Fame and CCFCC Honour Society. Starting in 1989 Casavant was the executive chef for the newly built Chateau Whistler and later his own restaurant Chef Bernard’s Bistro. In 2006, he relocated to the Okanagan as executive chef at the Sonora Room at Burrowing Owl Winery and then went on to open the Wild Apple Restaurant and Lounge at Manteo in Kelowna. He joined Okanagan College in 2014 as culinary manager of the Wine, Food and Tourism program.

We welcome your comments and opinions on our stories but play nice. We won't censor or delete comments unless they contain off-topic statements or links, unnecessary vulgarity, false facts, spam or obviously fake profiles. If you have any concerns about what you see in comments, email the editor.