Chefs and conservationists team up to protect lands and support budding chefs

Kelowna, BC – The top culinary talent in the Okanagan will join with Vancouver chefs for the annual Okanagan fundraiser, Earth Wind Fire, at the Delta Grand Okanagan in Kelowna on Saturday, June 18 to mark 45 years of land conservation by The Nature Trust of BC.

“Our committee is hard at work preparing for this special annual event,” said Tod Alstad, who co-chairs the event with Brent Corlazzoli and Tom Kennedy. “Earth Wind Fire is excellent value, loads of fun and raises important dollars to conserve our spectacular natural surroundings in the Okanagan. Hope to see you there.”

More than 250 guests will savour the extraordinary food at 14 chef-attended stations, pairing of Okanagan wines and the musical talents of award-winning jazz singer Anna Jacyszyn as well as the acclaimed Cover-2-Cover band.


Team Okanagan is headed by Okanagan Chef Association president chef Jeremy Luypen, executive chef at Predator Ridge Resort. Photo by Bruce Kemp.

Consulting chef Stuart Klassen brought together the Okanagan chef team, headed by Okanagan Chef Association president, chef Jeremy Luypen of Predator Ridge Resort, chef Iain Rennie of Delta Grand Okanagan, chef Rod Butters of RauDZ Regional Table and Micro Bar & Bites, chef Kai Koroll of Cactus Club Café, chef Bernard Casavant of Okanagan College, chef Jeff Kreklau of Routes Grill, and chef Ross Derrick of The Table at Codfathers.

Vancouver chef Jane Ruddick will be bringing with her a culinary tour de force including top pastry chef Fumiko Morton from Culinary Team Canada, the team manager, chef John Carlo Felicella, as well as chef Dean Hossack from Nita Lake Lodge.

A portion of the funds support the development of junior chefs in the province, providing much needed support to attend competitions, a key part in their education says Chef Klassen.

“Competing develops their skills; it puts them under the pressure; it gives them their first awakening of what life is like in a kitchen — competitions really set that stage,” he says.

The evening begins with a sparkling reception of Summerhill Pyramid wines and canapés prepared and served by students of Okanagan College Culinary Arts and junior chef members of the Okanagan Chefs Association. Urban Fare has kindly donated the ingredients for the students’ culinary creations.

The live auction features outdoor and culinary adventure packages such as a guided helicopter trip, a ranch tour on horseback, fishing for pink salmon on Vancouver Island and an Iron Chef battle.

The evening wraps up with a dance with Cover-2-Cover. Five-time Juno Award winner vocalist Julie Masi will join Jim Rhindress, Tony Koenen, Mike Kleineberg and Dan Marcelino as this high-energy band sets to rock the dance floor with classic rock favourites and injections of new country, blues and R&B.

Proceeds from the event will benefit The Nature Trust of BC’s land conservation efforts in the Okanagan including the antelope-brush conservation area, Vaseux Lake complex and parts of Okanagan Mountain Park, as well fund the Conservation Youth Crew. Each summer, young people are hired for restoration work on Nature Trust properties.

Tickets are $175. Those wishing to help conservation efforts, in lieu of attending the event can make a donation to The Nature Trust of BC. To donate or purchase tickets call 1-866-288-7878 or go online at


Photo: Guest can taste the sweets created by top pastry chef Fumiko Morton from Culinary Team Canada. (Photo courtesy of Patissier Fumi)
Photo: Chef Iain Rennie and event co-chairs Tom Kennedy, Brent Corlazzoli and Tod Alstad