DINER: The Best Dinner To Be Had In BC This Summer Set To Take Place On July 18
by Andrew Morrison | Sadly, we’re going to be somewhere in the desert wastes of Arizona/Utah when this supper goes down, but we’ve been to enough Outstanding In The Field events in the past to know that they promise awesomeness of a rare kind. If you’re unfamiliar with OITF, the pioneering farm-dinner series has inspired pop-up supper clubs across North America and around the world, and this year it’s making three stops in BC. The first is in Pemberton at North Arm Farm with guest chef Melissa Craig of Bearfoot Bistro on July 14th. The second is the following evening (July 15th) at UBC Farm with guest chef Robert Belcham of Campagnolo. The third and final stop is at Covert Farm in the Okanagan Valley on July 18th. All three will be stunners, but it’s the last supper that we’re particularly excited about, even though we can’t go.
Why? Well, no knock against UBC Farm or North Arm Farm or the chefs in charge (these suppers will undoubtedly be superb), but the Okanagan event will mark the first time in a while that the OITF peeps have made it up to the Valley, and they glow especially inspired when confronted by new locations of spectacular beauty. If you’ve never been to Covert Farms, it’s like a dreamscape, an idyll with few local equals and born to play this particular role (I’ve had the pleasure of dining impromptu in its shade before, and I won’t soon forget it). The real attraction, however, will be the cooking by Cameron Smith and Dana Ewart of Joy Road. They are, in my opinion, two of the very best chefs in Canada right now, and their love and affection for local, organic and sustainable ingredients is exceeded only by their uncanny expertise in making them sing. If you attend, you can expect visual and gustatory pleasure paired with a vibe so relaxed and informal that you won’t want the meal to finish, and that’s no hyperbole. I was lucky enough to take in a Joy Road supper at Tantalus Vineyards last week, and it easily stood out as the best dining experience I’d had so far this year.
The pictures below will give you a rough idea as to what to expect, as will the clip above (apologies for the quality – it’s a home video). They were taken/made three or four years ago during a whirlwind two days that saw us drive up to Pemberton for a OITF supper with Araxi chef James Walt, camp overnight at the farm in our VW van, and then scoot back down to UBC the next day for the next OITF supper with Bishop’s chef Andrea Carlson. If you can’t make it to the Okanagan, do either of these, but just imagine if you will one incredibly long, linen-draped and sun-soaked table in the middle of an Okanagan farmer’s field loaded with the bounty of the surrounds made better by the fearsome talent of two of Canada’s top culinary stars.
Tickets are $190 (USD) and can be purchased here. The price includes the full experience (five courses with wine), and it’ll be worth every penny. Truly, if you go anywhere this summer with your food and wine-loving husband, wife, partner, lover, or best friend, it should be Covert Farm on July 18th. I predict that it will go down as the most magical and memorable meal of the year, and I’m kicking myself that I won’t be able to go. I trust it will sell out soon, so get on it as quickly as you can.