by Andrew Morrison | A few weeks ago I was surprised to learn that my friend Owen Lightly – best known as a chef, blogger, one of this year’s Top 40 Foodies Under 40, the founder of Butter On The Endive catering company, a long-time Scout contributor, and one of the most honest, sincere, and down-to-earth individuals that many of his peers have ever had the good fortune to come across - had been diagonsed with stage 4 colon cancer.
It was hard to believe at first. We were supposed to destroy Calabria and Sicily together this summer! He’s only 30 years old, for crissakes! I could write about how the disease had absolutely dropped the ball in this case, that Owen was totally the wrong guy, but there’s no denying that it’s the real deal. Owen is sick. He starts treatment – an aggressive course of chemotherapy – this morning.
My family paid him a visit at his home over the weekend. He was in high, determined spirits; his eyes as bright and attitude as philosophical as ever. He expressed amazement at the overwhelming outpouring of support that had come his way in recent days, and was glad to have so many well wishers paying him visits. “I’m valuing relationships a lot more that I think I used to,” he told us. “They’re what’s most important to me now.”
Save for the amplified love of friends and family, there are no guarantees with cancer. Those who choose to fight it can beat it, and Owen is a fighter. His outlook is very positive, but to face cancer is to turn away from everything else. The truth of it is that he and his partner Naomi could use a lot of help during this battle. Though Butter On The Endive is still going strong, it will need to slow down as Owen gets the best of this thing, and financial assistance is a must. And so, on Owen and Naomi’s behalf, the local food and beverage industry has come together to throw a big benefit party at Vancouver Urban Winery on the night of May 19th.
It’s called Food Fight, and attending is what everyone can do to show Owen their love and best wishes as he undergoes treatment. If you want cheer him on and have his back, purchase your tickets here before they’re all gone. A lot of great chefs and bartenders have jumped up and offered their skills for the night, as have a seriously impressive collection of suppliers and artisan producers, not to mention the one and only Rich Hope, who will be on hand with his guitar. It’s really awesome to see the industry coming together like this in support of one of their own. And believe you me, Owen is humbled by all the love.
Tickets for Food Fight are only $60. The bar is by donation, so be sure to bring cash. 100% of the ticket sales and proceeds of this fundraiser will go directly to Owen. If you can’t make it, you can donate by clicking next to the ticket sales box.
UPDATE: The BC Hospitality Foundation is generously supporting Food Fight and will match funds raised at the event up to $5000. “We know we have a tight industry and we know that they are generous in times of trouble. But we are still in awe of the way our friends and colleagues have rallied to support Owen,” says Alan Sacks, BC Hospitality Foundation Executive Director. “The Foundation is an important part of the community and is more than glad to be able to support these fundraising activities with a $5000 matching donation. The situation that Owen finds himself in is exactly why the Foundation exists. Our mantra of ‘working together to help our own’ is being lived out in front of us by all those who have stepped up to the plate on Owen’s behalf. We are proud to be part of “Food Fight” and proud of the way our community has responded.”
Friends and well-wishers are also invited to attend the special fundraising supper that award-winning chef David Hawksworth is cooking up for Owen at his eponymous restaurant in the Hotel Georgia on May 5th (Owen came up in the trade under David Hawksworth at South Granville’s storied West restaurant, and remains a key mentor to this day). There are only 50 tickets available at $200 each, with all of the proceeds going to Owen. Details and menu here.
UPDATE: FOOD FIGHT IS NOW SOLD OUT. The venue is at capacity and no additional tickets will be sold or released at the door.
The GOODS from Butter On The Endive
Vancouver, BC | Chef Owen Lightly of Butter on the Endive Catering has been invited by Messors’ Program Founder and Director, Tonio Creanza to be the Chef in the Field at the Messors Culinary Workshops in Altamura (Bari), Italy. Lightly will work along side Creanza, assisting guests with culinary process and practice, while facilitating convivial meals throughout the week long journey in June.
Vancouver residents can join Owen and Tonio in Puglia as Messors culinary workshops are open to the public. This unique culinary experience is limited to twelve people per session and held only twice a year; session one runs June 1 through 10 and session two runs July 24 through August 2. Each culinary workshop is affordably priced at $1,500CAD and includes accommodation, meals, transportation to and from Bari Airport or the main train station. All field trips, classes and lectures, guided tours, entrance fees to art exhibitions, museums and archeological sites are also included. Guests must arrange for their own airfare, as airfare is not included.
Guests will stay at Masseria La Selva, set on 200 hectares of private land located an hour inland from the coast of Bari. Masseria La Selva was built in the mid 18th century, originally designed as a hunting lodge for the Roman Orsini family. The property is home to sheep, pigs, geese and cows, and cheese is made onsite every morning. Details after the jump… Read more
Butter On The Endive | Code/Website | A codeword that cooks in restaurants with open kitchens use to let their colleagues know that they have seen an especially attractive woman sit down for dinner. Also a catering company launched by local chef Owen Lightly, who passed away in 2014.
Usage | “Can I please get some butter on the endive for Table 56!”
Definitive Records is a new Scout column that asks interesting Vancouverites to pick the three albums that anchor their musical tastes. Today, we hear from local chef…
Bob Dylan – Blood On The Tracks | LISTEN | “The album that makes break ups seem romantic.”
Dan Bern – Fifty Eggs | LISTEN | “My mom dragged me to a Dan Bern concert at the Gabriola Island community hall when I was 15 and I was an instant convert.”
Neil Young – Ragged Glory | LISTEN | “Out of all the amazing eras of Neil, this is my favourite.”
The GOODS from Butter On The Endive
Vancouver, BC | Butter on the Endive is a Vancouver-based boutique catering company that focuses on providing quality dining experiences and unique food events to our culture. We find interesting locations around the city to collaborate with like-minded food and lifestyle industry people to showcase the talent this city has to offer. We collaborate because it pushes creativity, while staying true to authentic community building.
Chef Owen Lightly is working with Graham to provide beautiful layers of wood and smoke throughout the food and the beer. Graham will be creating a special cask ale using wood from Union Wood & Supply, and will be there to chat and help keep the beer flowing. Lightly is also working with Inner City Farms as the main supplier to create a menu that echoes the flavours and techniques of the American South, while sticking with what our geographical local bounty has to offer.
The food portion of the night is a stand up meal of small bites and fine crafted small plates. Whether you are dipping into the cask, or devouring the small plates, or sipping on the signature cocktail you can check out the woodworking shop and showroom, and talk to Craig Pearce and the fine folks at Union Wood Supply about their objects of art (available to buy that night!) It will be coming together of artisinal doers-and-thinkers of Vancouver’s creative culture. Learn more after the jump… Read more
by Owen Lightly | Caponata is a sweet and sour vegetable concoction from Sicily. It follows the general rule that if you fry things in hot oil – beautiful summer vegetables in this case – they will usually come out very tasty. The basic idea is to separately cook a variety of vegetables (whatever is in season and plentiful) in hot oil and then marinate them in a sweet and sour tomato sauce. The addition of pine nuts and raisins is a smart move, and something you see a lot of in Sicilian cooking. Once it has been left to find itself for a couple of hours, it can be enjoyed with bread, pasta, fish, meat, eggs or directly out of the bowl with a spoon.
After you’ve made it a few times, you will probably have made a few of your own tweaks, and then it will be yours. Forever. After the leap is a recipe we came up with that sees caponata and fried squash blossom next to roasted halibut… Read more
by Owen Lightly | The traditional Spanish dish tortilla de patatas combines four workhorse ingredients – eggs, onions, potatoes and olive oil – with the help of a little black magic to make them sing. The black magic I speak of is the Maillard reaction, which is what happens when food is exposed to heat and turns tasty golden brown. This is what makes a lot of things very delicious, including French fries, maple syrup, coffee and this recipe that you’re about to make. When I’m feeling saucy, I like to add smoked sablefish into the mix, which ups the richness quotient and adds a certain I don’t know what. Enjoy! Read more
The GOODS from Butter On The Endive
Vancouver, BC | Chef Owen Lightly of Butter on the Endive is pleased to be hosting the second Chef In Residence, with collaborators Adam Chandler of BETA 5 Chocolates, James Town of Mikuni Wild Harvest, Blue Owl Antiques,Tonio Creanza, & Luis Valdizon.
The Michas family, owners of the Connaught building and Blue Owl Antiques on the corner of Broadway and Vine have a beautiful apartment upstairs calling our name and we have decided to jump on the opportunity to create another unique dining experience there. This will be the location of the second Chef in Residence, by Butter on the Endive on Saturday, May 26th & Sunday, May 27th. Chef Owen Lightly is also very excited to be collaborating with Tonio Creanza, of Creanza Olive Oil from Puglia, Italy. As part of the dinners, Amanda Michas (of Blue Owl Antiques) and Mr. Creanza will host an olive oil tasting in the Blue Owl shop before guests move upstairs to a plated, 4-course intimate dinner prepared by Owen and the collaborating chef.
We are thrilled to have Amanda Michas, owner of Blue Owl Antiques, be not only our lovely host, but also curator of the space. She will curate a small collection for the dining environment, all of which will be available for sale. Luis Valdizon will be gracing both upstairs and downstairs with his artistic eye, photographing the magic. Get all the details after the leap… Read more
Owen Lightly, the chef behind Butter on the Endive (and Scout’s Pound of Butter food column), recently ran a series of Chef in Residence dinners in one of the apartments above Le Marche St George. There were two seatings per evening for three evenings in a row with a different ‘theme song/playlist” and chef/collaborator for each (Jane Cornborough, Alvaro Musso, Adam Chandler). We attended the first seating on Thursday May 3rd, and as you can see, it was pretty outstanding. The night had a Neil Young I Wanna Live With A Cinnamon Girl vibe and Chef Owen Lightly and his collaborator Adam Chandler (former-chef-now-chocolatier of Beta5 fame) served a fabulous spring meal of albacore tuna with charred ramp, rhubarb risotto with white chocolate (daring, but spot on), Yarrow Meadows duck breast, taleggio sponge cake with shiro plum, and buckwheat crumble smothered in birch caramel. Matching the cuisine was – wow – the setting. What a stunning place to dine! To keep abreast of future BOTE suppers, be sure to follow them on Twitter.
The GOODS from Butter On The Endive
Vancouver, BC | Butter on the Endive is gearing up for another great event. This time we will be taking over the beautiful space above Le Marché St. George from May 3-6 to hold 3 consecutive 5-course dinners, with a casual Sunday brunch to cap it all off. Each of the dinners will be created collaboratively with other local chefs/friends and will celebrate the transition from grey to green. Details after the jump… Read more
by Owen Lightly (with photos from Michael Sider) | I have a thing for oysters. When I think about them, I get this tingly feeling deep in the pit of my stomach and can’t help but smile. Whether they’re served raw, fried, stewed, broiled or grilled, it doesn’t matter. I’m down for all of it.
Whenever possible, I like to order oysters directly from the farmers themselves. This ensures they are very fresh (sometimes less than a day out of the water) and keeps them out of those aquarium-like tanks that some seafood distributors store them in. Though useful for keeping oysters alive for long periods of time, these tanks eventually filter out the natural ocean brine, which in my eyes is one of the best parts.
This dish was first served at a dinner event Butter on the Endive hosted last year after a trip to New Orleans, Louisiana. With chicken and waffles as the inspiration, this dish is not subtle, nuanced or healthy by any means, but it does seem to make people smile, which is never a bad thing. Read more
by Owen Lightly | For reasons that I will explain, I recently set out to create a dish inspired by the meatball plate from the Ikea cafeteria. As a child visiting from the Island, I always looked forward to trips to the blue and yellow warehouse in Richmond. It usually meant the purchase of some budget piece of furniture, frozen yogurt, hot dogs, and if I was lucky, a plate of meatballs.
For whatever reason, the meatballs held mystique. Maybe it was because up until that point I had only ever had them with tomato sauce. What the hell were those crazy Swedes doing serving them with gravy? Looking back, and having tried them again recently, they just aren’t that good. The lustre has definitely worn off and all that remains is some sad pork meatballs swimming in cloying gravy and served with a pile of shitty mashed potatoes saddled with lingonberry sauce.
Here’s my updated version of the dish, which attempts to play with the flavours and textures of the original, while harnessing the feeling of a nine year old trying something for the first time. Read more
by Owen Lightly | This old-school method for breaking down a chicken into 8 bone-in parts is some straight up Escoffier shit. He had dozens of recipes that all started with sautéed chicken as the base – one might be garnished with truffles, another seasoned with curry, another deglazed with port….you get the idea. Read more
It’s cool when two of your favourite things come together (like peanut butter and jam), but it’s especially awesome when – seemingly – the two have nothing to do with each other but work tremendously (like bourbon and badminton). The latter was the case earlier this week when chef Owen Lightly of Butter On The Endive was cooking at The Found And The Freed. The pop-up shop of aged, often Vancouver-centric oddments and pretty Canadiana was celebrating the unveiling of its third incarnation at 110 Water Street in Gastown with a little shindig, and BOTE was doing the catering. The walls were all lined with the shop’s eclectic wares, save for a bartending station and an impromptu kitchen, where Owen, aided by Market’s Alvaro Musso, was slinging seared scallops with bacon-wrapped salsify, fried oyster Po’Boys stacked with pickled red onions, ham and sweetbread croquettes, and bowls of hot duck consomme with shroom tortellini. Also had were plenty of cool things we want, well made drinks, and not a few fun people. You can check out the shop from 11am to 7pm, seven days a week. Dig the old Vancouver bus rollers, Breasted maps, ancient lockers and assorted wonderments. Expect to see items from the store in future posts, but in the meantime, feast on shots from the night by Julian Kenchenten after the jump… Read more