On July 12, we were invited to the sold out annual Similkameen BBQ King event at the historic Grist Mill & Gardens in Keremeos. Hands down this was one of the best tasting events and experiences I have been to in BC. 9 outstanding chefs competed for the coveted title of the Similkameen BBQ King or Queen.
Prior to the competition, each chef was given a black box of local, fresh ingredients including the following:
- A 65 pound hog from Two Rivers Specialty Meats
- 20 bunches of certified organic rainbow carrots from Similkameen River Organics
- 20 pounds of certified organic zucchini from Harker’s Organics and Belly Achers
- 20 pounds of certified organic lambert cherries from Crockett Farms
- 2 pounds of certified organic mixed sorrel from Harker’s Organics
- 1 x 100 gram shaker of Country Pepper from Canadianna Spicery in Keremeos
Each chef was also teamed up with a winery from the area, where they had to work to pair one of their wines with their food.
Attendees strolled station to station enjoying the delicious food prepared by each chef and got to witness live cooking along the way. The chef at the Delta Okanagan even made home-made cherry ice-cream using Clos du Soleil Rose onsite- in 40 degree weather! Each person was able to try all 9 dishes paired with fantastic wine from the Similkameen, then had the chance to vote for their favourite food and wine pairing.
Here are the incredible dishes each chef prepared, along with the wine pairing:
Chris Boehm from Burger 55
- Forbidden Fruit 2011 Merlot
- Ground pork patty on a zucchini bannock bun with caramelized carrot aioli, forbidden cherry BBQ, shaved parmesan, chiffonade salad of sorrel, mint and butter leaf lettuce
- Warm baby potato salad with maple charcoal smoked bacon, diced baby carrot with red pepper, zucchini, fresh parsley, roasted shallots and garlic in a lemon vinaigrette
Jason Hartl from the Delta Grand Okanagan
- Clos du Soleil 2013 Rose
- Pit roasted spiced whole hog, smoked cherry BBQ sauce, grilled zucchini and carrot slaw, sorrel pesto
- Home-made cherry and Rose sour cream ice cream on a chocolate hazelnut oatmeal cookie
Natasha Schooten from the Grist Mill
- Sage Bush 2012 Pinot Noir
- Stuffed pork loin, cherry BBQ pulled pork, sorrel salsa verde
- Zucchini scone with carrot butter
Brent Pillon from Hillside Winery & Bistro
- VineGlass 2013 Viognier
- Country pepper rubbed pulled pork on carrot flatbread with cherry BBQ sauce, grilled zucchini relish, shaved carrot and sorrel salad
Lee Humphries from Local Lounge & Grille
- Seven Stones 2009 Pinot Noir
- Cherry BBQ pulled pork taco with sorrel pickled zucchini, shaved carrots, pork sausage and cherry hot sauce
Jeff Van Geest from Miradoro Restaurant at Tinhorn Creek
- Eau Vivre 2012 Riesling
- Grilled mortadella, zucchini wrapped Coppa di testa, smoked carrots, sorrel aioli and cherry agro dolce
Shayna Merritt from Shayna & Shulman Culinary Adventures
- Orofino Winery 2013 Riesling
- Okanagan Frybread with almond and rose petal
- Cherry smash, wild sage smoked pork, carrot and zucchini slaw with sorel and chicharrions
Justin Paakkunainen from Walnut Beach Resort
- Robin Ridge 2012 Gamay
- Peppered pork and juniper sausage with cherry sorrel mustard and carrot ketchup on a zucchini hoagie
Adair Scott from Watermark Beach Resort
- Rustic Roots 2013 Apple Pear wine
- Country pepper and cherry sausage, grilled zucchini corn bread, sorrel pesto, pickled carrots, smoked hoc ragou
Chef Lee Humphries from Local Lounge • Grille in Summerland was crowned the 2014 Similkameen BBQ King after winning “Best Wine and Food Pairing” of the night with Cawston’s Seven Stones Winery. It was a double victory for Local Lounge • Grille and Seven Stones Winery as they received both the media’s choice award and the people’s choice award for “Best Wine and Food Pairing” of the night.
Chef Lee’s winning dish was cherry BBQ pulled pork tacos with sorrel chimichurri, marinated shaved carrots, pickled zucchini, pork sausage, piggy puffs and cherry hot sauce. The pork was marinated overnight with Seven Stones Pinot Noir, which was also the paired wine. Chef Lee was assisted by Chef Damien Mischkinis.
Chef Lee, who spent two days preparing, marinating and then slow cooking the pork on the grill said, “All in all, it was a very long, hot, rewarding day surrounded by amazing talent, exceptional wine and great people.” George Hanson, owner and winemaker at Seven Stones Winery was equally thrilled, “It was such an honour to be partnered with Chef Lee and the team from Local Lounge • Grille. Their dish paired perfectly with our Pinot Noir!”
The runner up for the people’s choice award was the Similkameen’s own Chef Natasha Schooten from the Grist Mill paired with Sage Bush Winery. The runner up for the media’s choice award was Shayna Merritt and Josh Shulman from Shayna & Shulman Culinary Adventures paired with Orofino Winery.
The Similkameen is one of the hot spots for grape and fruit wine in British Columbia, Canada. It was named by enRoute Magazine as one of the world’s 5 Best Wine Regions You’ve Never Heard Of! The Similkameen Wineries Association is a collective of 9 wineries located in Cawston and Keremeos in the Similkameen Valley including Clos du Soleil, EauVivre, Forbidden Fruit, Orofino, Robin Ridge, Rustic Roots, Sage Bush, Seven Stones and VineGlass. For more information on the Similkameen Wineries Association or any of its fine award-winning wineries and wines, visit www.SimilkameenWine.com.