Similkameen BBQ King 2015 is a Queen

This summers’s Similkameen BBQ King put on by Similkameen Wineries Association was held at the Old Grist Mill and Garden, a local's favourite kitchen and a visitor's "trip back in time" or better, "trip in to a slower life".  Great for all the city folks we were rubbing shoulders with at the farm, this July evening in Keremeos. The happening rolled out just at the very tail end of a heatspell of record temperatures. As thunder rolled and lightning cracked we tasted the leading Okanagan and Similkameen chef's most earnest  tries at the BBQ King crown all paired with Similkameen wines. Finally, the sky did open up on us, and it was welcomed with more a dance in the rain and a reprieve from the long hot weeks before than a 'rain on my parade' sort of response... 


Here's the story in pictures:

The vivid reception table, not unlike its gorgeous Similkameen wines its full of.


A favourite wine event, for it welcomes all generations in a comfortable atmosphere


Cerelia, and all other 12 Similkameen Wineries pouring their select vintages


Van Doren Chan and guest


This girl may one day really be BBQ Queen crowned


After the wine reception comes the reveal of the 2015 Black Box Ingredients:

Two Rivers Beef Short Rib

Harker's Organics Zucchini

Similkameen River Organics Shallots

Harker's Blueberry Basil

Harker's Apricots

Harker's Heirloom Tomatoes

... and the tables are open for tasting...


The music this eve, John Rousseau


The judges and critics are off! Here, Rhys Pender MW and David Stansfield


Chef Jeff van Geest of Miradoro and his whole family are here manning the BBQ station


Food writers Roslyne Buchanan & Shelley Boettcher chat with Blake Crocker


Ingrid Jarret GM of Watermark Resort and SLOW FOOD Thompson Okanagan supporter "plates"


Families :)


Chef Natasha Schooten

The Grist Mill’s own, can smile big...


This year’s ‘King’ turned out to be a ‘Queen’. Chef was crowned the 2015 Similkameen BBQ Queen for the Best Wine and Food Pairing of the night (judges choice), as well as for the Most Creative Dish.

The slow-smoked short ribs with smoky-sweet apricot BBQ sauce, on zucchini naan bread was served with yellow tomato, and blueberry basil pico de gallo that was music with Corcelettes 2014 Oracle Rose.


...continuing on with the flow of the evening, before the awards...


Kids enjoy


Adults enjoy



Chef Chris Boehm of Burger 55 enjoys! As he should, the foreshadowing in this moment tells... A win!

The BBQ King’s People’s Choice pairing award for his braised short rib and Qualicum blue cheese stuffed AAA beef burger with blueberry basil apricot jam, shallot root beer BBQ sauce, with a  truffle parmesan zucchini wedge: well matched with Orofino 2012 Scout Vineyard Syrah.


Alishan and Virginia pour the Orofino for the win!


But before we could have known that, the rains had began...


Some happy guests moved under tents,


Some jumped in the creek!


Tour de force organizer Kim Lawton seemed to enjoy the rain too. 


Our music for the night, John Rousseau, loving every drop


Judge David Stansfield, outstanding in the field, or just out standing.


and Jacqueline Doell and me, Tarynn, grabbing provisions for the tent!

We can't wait for next year! See you at Similkameen BBQ King 2016, rain or shine :)




 Congratulations to Chef Natasha Schooten on taking the crown at her own 'homestead' kitchen


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