Okanagan chefs make apple juice for Kelowna Food Bank

More than 20 of the region's best chefs helped make apple juice at Hazeldell Orchards Saturday as part of International Chefs Day.

Robert Cunningham of Sysco (left) and Rod Butters

Some of the Okanagan’s best chefs gathered at Hazeldell Orchards Saturday, lending their services to support a good cause.

Several of the culinary geniuses who attended have been recognized internationally for their talent and ability to make unique, palatable dishes.

But it was a fairly simple product the chefs focused on making this weekend: Apple Juice—and a lot of it.

Nine bins—or, approximately $1,800 worth—of Galas were put through Frank Deiter’s Mobile Juice Factory to make nearly 270 five-litre containers of fresh apple juice.

The juice will be distributed as part of the Christmas hamper program at the Kelowna Food Bank.

“What this does is provides five-litre juice boxes for families at Christmas, which for us is an expense that we just wouldn’t be able to cover,” said David Purdon of the Kelowna Food Bank.

“This year has been tough; donations have not kept pace with demand. So this is definitely an extra help for us at Christmas.”

This is the second year in a row the Okanagan Chefs Association has partnered with Hazeldell Orchards and the Mobile Juice Factory. The initiative is part of International Chefs Day where chefs from 72 countries focus on generating awareness of their profession by hosting events to support local organizations.

“I think anything that any of us can do for our community and the food bank is appreciated,” said Rod Butters, past president of the Okanagan Chefs Association and chef/co-owner of RauDZ Regional Table.

Butters said 20 to 30 local chefs helped with the juicing process Saturday.

“The one thing about the Okanagan chefs is, when they do something, they all get involved, they all get behind it and they show up,” said Purdon.

Willi Franz, owner of Grapevine Restaurant at Gray Monk Estate Winery, said the Okanagan Chefs Association does several projects throughout the year that benefit the community, including the Christmas hamper distribution with the food bank and a Valentine’s Day dinner in February.

“It’s one of our mandates to give back to the community and help different charities,” said Franz.

The apple juicing initiative wouldn’t have been possible without the substantial donation from Allen and Wendy Reid, owners of Hazeldell Orchards.

“We had a fairly good crop this year; it was a good growing season,” said Allen.

“You do what you can to give back.”