The BC Shellfish Festival is pleased to announce the lineup for the 2012 highlight Chefs’ Dinner to be held Friday, June 15 at the historic Filberg Heritage Lodge & Park in Comox. Tickets go on sale Monday, April 2, 2012. Over 200 guests will be treated to a six-course chef designed seafood menu paired with a BC wine. Ideally held in the oyster growing capital of Canada, the Comox Valley, the meal is served outdoors, along the banks of idyllic Baynes Sound. This year’s dinner will bring in chefs from near and far who all share a passion for preparing sustainably raised shellfish to offer guests a truly authentic taste of the West Coast. This year’s lineup includes:
- Ned Bell, Executive Chef, Four Seasons/Yew Restaurant, Vancouver
- Jonathan Chovancek, Executive Chef, Kale & Nori Culinary Arts, Vancouver
- Bill Jones, Executive Chef, Deerholme Farm, Cowichan Valley
- Aaron Rail, Executive Chef, Avenue Bistro, Comox
- Ronald St. Pierre, Executive Chef, Locals, Courtenay
- Matt MacDonald, Executive Chef, Berwick, Comox
Chefs have been paired with a BC shellfish grower and their product to bring their combined creations to guests. Every course will be expertly paired with a BC wine. During the reception, guests will be able to sample various raw oysters from different regions of BC, shucked and served by the farmers who grew them as well as samples of raw geoduck.
Tickets historically sell out quickly and with this year’s line-up that trend will undoubtedly continue so interested parties are urged to order tickets as soon as possible. Tickets are $125 and are available by calling 250.890.7561 on Monday, April 2. Chef bios are below.
Ned Bell, Executive Chef, Four Seasons/ Yew Restaurant, Vancouver
Ned Bell is one of Canada’s foremost culinary talents. Born in the Okanagan, British Columbia’s wine country, Bell has always had a passion for cooking and is steadfast in his vision and drive to create new, imaginative dishes with fresh, local ingredients.
Bell began his career in Vancouver working under two local restaurant legends: first under the tutelage of Le Crocodile’s Michel Jacob and then as Sous Chef for Rob Feenie’s Lumiere restaurant. In 1997 Bell set his sights eastward where he enjoyed successful stints as Executive Chef at Niagara on the Lake’s Peninsula Ridge Estate Winery, and at Toronto’s Accolade and Senses restaurants where he earned significant recognition by the city’s culinary cognoscenti. During his time in Toronto, Bell was a regular on Food Network Canada’s “Cook Like a Chef.”
Ready to make his mark on the up-and-coming Calgary restaurant, the new millennium saw Bell moving west to cook up a storm at Murrieta’s Grill in Calgary, where his list of accomplishments included winning Where Magazine’s Rising Star and Best Overall awards.
Wanting to get further engaged in the business side of restaurants, Bell joined the team at Vintage Chophouse and Red Water Grille as Corporate Chef where his passion, knowledge, creativity and focus turned the restaurants into two of Calgary’s most exciting culinary locales.
The vibrant, young chef is thrilled to return to his roots where he is excitedly living his dream of being both Executive Chef and an owner at Cabana Bar and Grille in Kelowna, BC. Bell’s talent and charisma continue to propel him forward. Since opening Cabana Bar and Grille, Bell has begun filming “It’s Just Food” for CTV, and has been voted one of Western Living’s Top 40 Foodies Under Forty.
Jonathan Chovancek, Kale & Nori Culinary Arts, Vancouver
Chef Jonathan Chovancek is the Chef/Owner of Kale & Nori Culinary Arts, with over 16 years experience cooking across Canada in such award-winning, ingredient-driven restaurants as the Relais and Chateaux Aerie Resort, Sooke Harbour House, Eigensinn Farm, Avalon, Zambri’s, and King Pacific Lodge. During the 2006 and 2008 Olympic Games, Jonathan led culinary teams to Torino and Beijing, respectively, where he earned rave reviews from a discriminating international clientele on both occasions. Chef Jonathan’s skills were in full force throughout Vancouver’s 2010 Olympic Games, during a two-week period, serving over 59,000 people at 578 events. Two months later, Jonathan’s food and wine pairing skills won the top prize at the 2010 Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival Vintner’s Brunch.
As one of the Vancouver’s top catering chefs, Chef Jonathan is sought out as an expert speaker and instructor – teaching over 1000 delegates about the catered arts at the Catersource /International Caterers Association conference in Las Vegas.
2011 saw Chef Jonathan as the expert chef/host on CBC’s ground-breaking documentary, Village on a Diet, which was watched by over a million people weekly from coast-to-coast.
Jonathan has contributed recipes to the Ocean Wise Cookbook, Taste magazine, Wallpaper magazine and CBC’s Live Right Now national campaign for promoting healthy lifestyle. Chef Jonathan is a regularly featured guest on CityTV’s Breakfast Television, Shaw TV’s Urban Rush, CBC’s Steven & Chris Show and the O Network’s Grocery Bags.
Jonathan’s uniquely creative spirit, dedication to a healthy lifestyle and passionate organic philosophy have evolved into a gospel that he lives by, in both his personal and professional kitchens. He is committed to using the freshest possible ingredients and can be found shopping daily at Granville Island Public Market and local Farmer’s markets around Vancouver.
Bill Jones, Deerholme Farm, Cowichan Valley
Bill Jones is a chef and author based on Deerholme Farm in the Cowichan Valley. He is a French-trained chef, author of 9 cookbooks, winner of 2 world cookbook awards and busy journalist, food consultant and community builder.
Bill and wife Lynn, garden year round on the property which they style as an edible landscape. He is an acknowledged local expert on wild foods and foraging with a passion for wild mushrooms and a keen respect of local First Nations ethnobotany and culture. Bill has taught at many prestigious venues including The Herb Farm (Seattle, Wash.), Hollyhock Retreat (Cortes Island, BC) and Foxglove Farm (Salt Spring, BC)
Jones is a passionate supporter of local food communities, a founding member of FarmFolk/CityFolk and SlowFood Vancouver Island. His consulting company Magnetic North Cuisine, is active in all areas of local food production, marketing and development. He has worked with hotels, restaurants, bakeries, seafood stores, grocery stores and regional farm-based businesses. If it’s local food, Bill has worked with it.
Aaron Rail, Avenue Bistro, Comox
Aaron Rail has been cooking as long as he can remember. Citing his grandmother as his first inspiration, he was making pancakes for the family at age 5. He started working in the restaurant industry at 13 and was immediately drawn to the camaraderie and shared efforts that took place behind the scenes to create memorable dining experiences.
With his easy going personality and ambitious nature, great jobs seemed to always be there when he needed them. Shortly after moving from Ottawa to Victoria, he was offered an apprenticeship at the Oak Bay Marina under Matt MacDonald. There he refined his skill both on the line and in the pastry shop. Now, with almost 20 years of honing his craft, he and his wife Hannah have decided to call the Comox Valley home.
Aaron’s food philosophy is simple: get the best ingredients you can, as locally sourced as possible, and treat them with respect. Chef Aaron’s vibrant talent shines through on the Avenue Menu. We hope you enjoy his efforts as much as we do!
Ronald St. Pierre, Locals, Courtenay
Locals, Food from the Heart of the Island is a restaurant that celebrates the quality food production of the Comox Valley. Chef St. Pierre is a Certified Chef de Cuisine, having earned the highest professional culinary recognition and accreditation available in Canada. His team provides a memorable dining experience that marries the bounty of the region with culinary artistry, offered in a casually elegant setting, with heartfelt service.
Chef St. Pierre has worked for more than 20 years with producers to help develop local food sustainability with his ever changing seasonal menus and market sheets, setting the prevailing standard for the renowned Comox Valley food culture.
Matt MacDonald, Berwick, Comox
Chef Matt Macdonald has 27 years as a culinary professional. His experiences have varied from a small French restaurant, to a gourmet pizza joint, to Chateau Lake Louise. In that time he has owned and operated 2 award winning restaurants.
Presently Chef Matt heads up the food service for Berwick Comox Valley. He also continues to run a fine dining catering company, City Cuisine Catering, here in the Comox Valley. As a chef he has found his passion in working with seafood, in particular that which is here on the BC coast.
As a chef he has found his passion working with seafood, in particular that which is here on the BC coast. Local produce and having friends who are farmers are part of the muse that inspires meals in Chef Matt’s culinary repertoire. “We are especially lucky here in the Comox Valley as we have the best of both worlds. We live in a fertile valley that produces incredible produce, as well as we are adjacent to ocean filled with huge array of fresh seafood. What more could a Chef ask for”.