Chef Greg Fuchs was crowned as winner of the third annual Similkameen BBQ King.
About 225 people turned out to the Grist Mill in Keremeos for Saturday's event to sample award-winning wines from the Similkameen Wineries Association paired with fine dishes from eight Okanagan-area chefs.
Fuchs, a Keremeos-based chef who operates Gregors Gourmet, created a dish containing beet pave, apple-smoked chicken, and rhubarb and beet chutney with crispy potato strings, garnished with parsley, wild mustard, onion blossoms and watercress. His dessert was hazelnut shortbread with rhubarb and Clos du Soleil Saturn sorbet.
"All chefs had the same ingredients," said Kim Lawton, marketing director for the Similkameen Wineries Association. "All organic ingredients sourced locally from the Similkameen Valley--chicken, warba potatoes, beets, rhubarb and parsley. It was up to each chef to determine how to prepare all of these ingredients."
Following the eight appetizer-sized dishes prepared by each chef, all of the guests were asked to vote for the food they liked best.
Media in attendance were asked to pick their favourite wine and food pairing of the evening. The winner in that category was Chef Natasha Schooten from Terrafina Restaurant, with a pairing of Robin Ridge's 2010 Gamay.
The remaining chefs and the winery they were paired with are as follows:
Cerelia Vineyard & Estate Winery and Chef Chris Remington from the Penticton Lakeside Resort; Clos du Soleil Winery and Gregors Gourmet; Eau Vivre Winery and Chef Rob Cordonier from Hillside Bistro; Forbidden Fruit Winery and Chef Ross Derrick from the Delta Grand Okanagan; Orofino winery and Chef Bernard Casavant from Manteo Resort; Rustic Roots Winery and Chef Ayman Kanaan from The Stuffed Pepper and Seven Stones Winery and Chef Justin Paakkunainen from Walnut Beach Resort.
For those that did not wish to drive themselves to and from the event, a shuttle service was available from Penticton and Osoyoos.
Lawton said the BBQ King event is growing in popularity because it captures the nature of the Similkameen region.
"This region is the Organic Farming Capital of Canada, so using food sourced locally and prepared by such extraordinary chefs perfectly paired with wines from this very special wine region allows people to experience the amazing Similkameen Valley in all its splendour," she said.
The evening also featured live entertainment and a silent auction to raise funds for the Keremeos Grist Mill.