This weekend, February 8 and 9, the finals competition of Gold Medal Plates will be underway in Kelowna. Ten chefs from across the country, each having won the top prize in their respective Gold Medal Plates regional competitions in other cities, will make their way to Kelowna for the culmination of the competition in which one chef wins the title of Canadian Culinary Champion, or best chef in Canada for this year. This is why the finals competition is known as the Canadian Culinary Championships. For the winning chef, it will be a springboard for his or her culinary career. For Kelowna, it’s a tremendous brand validation in that Tourism Kelowna has identified award-winning wines, beautiful dining, farm visits, and specialty producers as strong experiences in which Kelowna shines, and we market as such. We support the competition through our social media channels, Castanet column, hosting the judges (who are influential national food and wine writers), by having erected signage at our city’s entrance that says “Home of the Canadian Culinary Championships”, and through building local business relationships where we can. On that note, we thank all the Kelowna-area wineries who are participating with the Canadian Culinary Championships this year, delivering such a strong Kelowna Wine Trails presence at the competitions.

We know that Kelowna delivers in spades when it comes to all things “foodie” – and clearly the national culinary community agrees, when you see a competition with the caliber of Gold Medal Plates selecting Kelowna as its finals location for 5 years in a row. The competition will involve businesses in several sectors from accommodations, to events, to producers and the local supply chain, to rental vehicles, to clothing outlets and restaurants. Tourism Kelowna is a supporter of this event for the reasons outlined above, and in essence because it confirms that Kelowna should be top-of-the-list for any traveler who loves quality food and wine.