Eat lo­cal, drink lo­cal at restau­rants in the Cen­tral Okana­gan

The Daily Courier - - FRONT PAGE - By STEVE MACNAULL

Chef Kevin Ne­goro emerges from the kitchen with a hy­per-lo­cal noo­dle dish.

“I ac­tu­ally made the noo­dles with lo­cally-grown zuc­chini and or­ganic car­rots sourced from Mike’s Pro­duce and cooked them in gar­lic and white wine and topped it with red onion, arugula, tomato and grated parme­san cheese,” said Ne­goro, who plies his trade at FSH restau­rant in down­town Kelowna.

“I call it Nude Noo­dles. Ob­vi­ously, it’s veg­e­tar­ian, but it can be a ve­gan op­tion with­out the parme­san.”

The chef is do­ing pro­mo­tion for Buy BC’s Eat Drink Lo­cal restau­rant cam­paign, which runs through the month of May.

FSH tries as much as pos­si­ble to to use lo­cal and serve lo­cal, from meat, cheese and veg­eta­bles to fruit, wine, beer and spir­its.

In sea­son, co-owner Heath Martin grows a lot of the herbs, toma­toes and cu­cum­bers the restau­rant uses in gar­den beds at his house. So the East Drink Lo­cal blitz isn't a stretch for the eatery.

How­ever, what the cam­paign does is for­mal­ize the ef­fort and gives FSH a chance to put Eat Drink Lo­cal signs on the door and de­cals on the menu and de­velop fresh sheets reflecting the fresh­est of B.C. in­gre­di­ents.

“Even our ever-pop­u­lar warm seafood salad is con­sid­ered lo­cal be­cause the seafood comes from the B.C. coast and the pro­duce from the Okana­gan,” said Ne­goro.

“It's easy to source lo­cal when you’re in B.C.”

B.C. Restau­rant & Food­ser­vices As­so­ci­a­tion CEO Ian Tosten­son came in from Van­cou­ver for the Kelowna event.

“The Buy BC pro­gram was first in­tro­duced in the 1990s to en­cour­age con­sumers to buy lo­cal,” he said.

“Now that Buy BC has been rein­tro­duced, this Eat Drink Lo­cal com­po­nent was de­vel­oped be­cause restau­rants are a sig­nif­i­cant con­tribu­tor to Buy BC and restau­rants can ed­u­cate the pub­lic on just how good and avail­able lo­cal in­gre­di­ents are.”

Tosten­son stressed the as­so­ci­a­tion didn’t ask restau­rants to do any­thing com­pli­cated. “It’s sim­ple,” he said. “Restau­rants serve up lo­cal food, wine, beer and spir­its and ear­mark it on their menus. They also get high­lighted on the EatDrinkLo­ web­site.”

So far, 60 Okana­gan restau­rants and winer­ies have joined the cam­paign.

In the South Okana­gan, The Villa Rosa, Dirty Laun­dry Win­ery, No­mad Cider, Pen­t­age Win­ery, Water­front Beach Re­sort, Quinta Fer­reira Win­ery, Squeezed Wines, La Casa Bianca Win­ery, Meyer Fam­ily Vine­yard and In­ter­sec­tion Win­ery.

They in­clude Water­front Wines, Train Sta­tion Pub, Moxie’s, Bo­hemian Cafe, Ho­tel El­do­rado, Sun­set Bistro at Sum­mer­hill Pyra­mid Win­ery, La Lupita, Raudz Re­gional Ta­ble, West Coast Grill at the Beach House Ho­tel, The Ta­ble at Cod­fa­thers Seafood Mar­ket, The Sand­wich Com­pany, Salted Brick and Xchange, all in Kelowna.

From West Kelowna there are Bon­fire restau­rant at The Cove Re­sort, Red Fox Club at In­dige­nous Win­ery and 19 Okana­gan Grill at Two Ea­gles Golf Course.

In Lake Coun­try, Block One restau­rant at 50th Par­al­lel Win­ery, Ri­cardo’s and Gar­den Bistro at The Chase Win­ery are tak­ing part.

Tosten­son is also happy that chain restau­rants such as Earls, Moxie’s, Browns So­cial­house, White Spot and Joey are tak­ing part.

“The Cac­tus Club is about to sign on and even McDon­alds uses lo­cal in­gre­di­ents and is in­ter­ested in tak­ing part,” he said.

“The cam­paign may start May 1 and of­fi­cially last for only a month, but we want Buy BC and Eat Drink Lo­cal to be a year­round ini­tia­tive for both con­sumers and restau­rants.”

STEVE MACNAULL/The Daily Courier

At the Eat Drink Lo­cal pro­mo­tion Thurs­day at FSH restau­rant in down­town Kelowna are co-owner Heath Martin, left, chef Kevin Ne­goro, B.C. Restau­rant & Food­ser­vices As­so­ci­a­tion CEO Ian Tosten­son and co-owner Amanda Stead­man. At the Eat Drink Lo­cal...

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