DeHart: Dinner theatre improves audience experience

A Las Vegas atmosphere has come to the Kelowna Actors Studio.

A Las Vegas atmosphere has come to the Kelowna Actors Studio.

Partners Nathan Flavel (general manger) and Randy Leslie (artistic director/producer) have completely renovated the popular theatre located on Ellis Street. It now boasts 230 seats; 90 for dinner at tables and built-in booths, with two private VIP booths, which have a push button to call your server, even during the show. The remainder of the theatre is row seating on an incline, so there isn’t a bad seat in the house. Also new this year is the addition of well-known executive chef Neil Schroeter (Okanagan Street Food) along with new menus for dinner table service, (eliminating the buffets). Kelowna Actors Studio, now in its ninth season, is definitely growing up. The first stage production of the season is Sept. 22 to 25 with a concert presentation of Brigadoon and then the main stage production A Streetcar Named Desire, which opens Oct. 12. You can buy tickets either for the dinner and show, or for the show only. Call 250-862-2867;

It is with great sadness that Swiss Chalet in Kelowna, operated by franchisee Sean Misfeldt, is closing on Sept. 28. Cara, the company that handles the lease for the franchise restaurant, was unable to negotiate an extension on their lease or find a new location. So, if you need your Swiss Chalet chicken fix, make sure you go before Sept. 28.

Executive chef Jim Armstrong is now instructing at Okanagan College in the dining room of the Kelowna campus restaurant Infusions, which is open to the public from Tuesday to Friday, 5 to 8:30 p.m. Armstrong was formerly executive chef at the Harvest Golf Club for 10 years and most recently was chef/instructor at Mount Boucherie high school. If you have never visited Infusions, you are missing out on a great dining experience. The food is terrific, made and served by Okanagan College students. Call 250-862-5455 for reservations.

What a coup for Csek Creative and CEO Nikki Csek. The company is a full-service digital agency, and along with its sister company, DotCom Media, has provided client services for more than 12 years in the valley. Csek Creative recently received an unsolicited inquiry from New York, following up what the company provided for Wood Lake Publishing, looking to pursue a similar option.   The Wood Lake application is an eCommerce solution, not unlike, that lets the publishing firm offer its products in an environment where they are in control of every aspect of pricing and delivery. The site is a great example of the custom programing skills of Csek Creative. Call 250-862-8010; or

Shirley Jansen, with the Central Okanagan Hospice Association, has received the Spirit of Kelowna Award for her excellent work with the Vigil Program and COHA. She has been involved with hospice since its inception and provides a 24/7 service with trained volunteers to families of the terminally ill.

Home for Dinner, owned and operated by Paul Brownfield and his mother Rosemarie, has opened at 592 Bernard Ave. It’s a perfect alternative to cooking every meal. They opened their first store in Vernon in 2006, starting with a menu of 20 items and a few little freezers. Today, they have two locations, and a menu of around 100 items. Everything is home-made, with all menu items available frozen with a changing variety of fresh made daily options for those looking for something quick. Their most popular item is, without a doubt, individual roast turkey dinners. Their second best seller is tied between homemade Shepherd’s pie and lasagna. Gluten-free coconut curry chicken comes in third. You can even order on-line at or 778-478-0343.

Congratulations to Cheryl McNaughton and well-known artist Alex Fong on their recent marriage Aug. 22 in San Francisco. Fong is hosting   a water colour demonstration and workshop called The Joy of Coloured Water from Oct. 14 to 16 at the Sailing Association club house, 4220 Hobson Rd. For more info or to register contact call 250-878-7054 or email

With 33 years at the Kelowna Museums, executive director Wayne Wilson is retiring in June 2012. Originally hired as the exhibitions coordinator, he has since filled in at several positions for the museum. He took over the role of executive director in charge of all Kelowna museum operations in 2000.

After 25 years as financial officer of Northern Airborne Technology, Mark Phillips, is the new CFO of SkyTrac, a local company that makes satellite data, text and voice communication systems for aircraft that rely on highly accurate positioning. Cathleen Wallace will be the new CEO of SkyTrac.

After 49 years in the aviation industry, Tony Fishlock, senior avionics engineer of Kelowna Flightcraft, has retired. He started with Flightcom in 1986, which then became Kelowna Flightcraft in January 1989.

Tree Brewing’s Serendipity #3 has earned a gold medal at the annual Canadian Brewing Awards. Thirsty Beaver Amble Ale, Captivator Doppelbock and Hope Head Double India Pale Ale all brought home bronze medals. Serendipity is aged in whiskey and port barrels with Serendipity #4 and #5 being released next year. Stefan Buhl is Tree’s brew master, having won 13 medals over the past five years.

Kudos to Kelowna exporter Anodyne Electronics Manufacturing (new exporter category) and Tolko Industries of Vernon (primary products and services category), both finalists for the 2011 B.C. Export Awards. The winners will be announced Sept. 29.

Desjardins Financial Security has relocated to 801-1708 Dolphin Ave. (Landmark II). Desjardins started with only sales manager Timothy Kim eight months ago and has been growing steadily since. Call 250-980-3568;

The 2011 Business Excellence Finalists have been announced. Congrats to the following: ITK Computer Corp, Poppadom’s-Taste India and Vital Waters (Rising Star Award, sponsored by FortisBC); All Occasions Party Rentals, Total Office Business Furnishings, X.10.SION 207 Clothing/Surf Culture (Small Business, sponsored by Prospera Credit Union); Barefoot Venus, Mara Lumber, Okanagan Staffing Services (Mid-Size Business, sponsored by BDO Canada LLP); OK Environmental Waste Systems Ltd., Spider Agile Technology, Waterplay Solutions Corp (Large Business, sponsored by MacKay LLP); Big Brothers & Sisters of the Okanagan, Central Okanagan Child Development Association, Kelowna Gospel Mission, Okanagan Valley Pregnancy Care Centre (Community Impact, sponsored by Urban Systems Ltd.). For tickets to the Oct. 17 awards gala call the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce at 250-469-7350 or email

Another neat thing happening at the Maxine DeHart, United Way —Ramada Hotel Drive-Thru Breakfast on Oct. 6. Again this year, Kelowna Chrysler Dodge Jeep, 2440 Enterprise Way, is generously donating $100 for every vehicle they sell in the month of September to the drive-thru breakfast. Dealership manager Jeff Gilbert will present their cheque personally the morning of the drive-thru. Last year the company donated a whopping $7,500. Need a vehicle?

Along with all the generous sponsors that I have listed the past few of weeks, FortisBC has also agreed to stay on board this year, as has Creative Mortgage (Lesley and Shawn Pierce). Long-time sponsors London Drugs, Entertainment Publications, Sun Valley Window Cleaners, Apple Valley Promotions, Lakeland Oil, Good Earth Coffee, Perkins, Skogie’s Auto Spa, M&M Meats, Chances, Purina (bring along your pets) and Maple Leaf Directories will all be on hand to greet you. All the goodies will be in the famous Interior Savings Credit Union  breakfast bags and of course, the local lawyers organized by Ron Labossiere, will be there to do your windows. They never let us down! Don’t forget, drive, walk, blade or bike through the Ramada Hotel (enter on Enterprises Way) and start your day off right with the United Way. Stay tuned for more updates!

Sculpture/artist Jock Hildebrand and his wife Carmen have opened The Factory at 1302 St. Paul St. To celebrate the occasion, the Hildebrands will host an open house on Friday, Sept. 30, from 4 to 9 p.m. The Factory is a beautiful example of vision, design and community, housing multiple businesses to meet your home building and decorating needs. You will find everything from hardwood floors to sculptures and paintings for your art collection, along with European style windows, and the latest in home decorating and entertainment. Check out

An auction is being planned in support of  Capital News photographer Sean Connor, who is in the midst of treatment for a brain tumor. The auction is still being organized, with local photographers such as Grant Faint, of Victoria, and Roy Hancliff, of Salmon Arm, having already committed donations. The event is scheduled for Saturday, Oct.1, at Kerry Park from noon to 3 p.m. For more information, call Don Sipos at 250-448-9703.

The Okanagan College Alumni Association will bestow its highest honour on two former Okanagan College students. One of the recipients  has used his education and dedication to public service to help shape the political landscape of the province, while the other has succeeded in creating and sharing his art with the world, bringing a nation together through spoken word. George Abbott, B.C. Minister of Education, will receive the Distinguished Alumni Award and famed slam-poet Shane Koyczan will be honoured with the Young Alumni Award.

St. John’s Ambulance, based at 1941 Kent Rd., is looking to recruit dynamic individuals for their branch executive committee. For more info, call branch manager Vicki Kascak at 250-762-2840 ( Bev Kenzie is the new chair of the association (

There are still a few tickets available for the popular 6th annual Gourmet & Grapes event at the Cabana Grille on Sunday, Oct. 2. This event also hosts the unbelievable Iron Chef Competition. This year, Cabana Chef James DeLong will take on  on Chef Jeremy Luypen, of Terrafina Restaurant at Hester Creek Winery. They also invite five other chefs and pair them with five wineries to feed you. Tickets are $80 and believe me, come hungry as you will leave very satisfied. Call 250-763-1955;

Changing the World—Two Wheels at a Time is the slogan for Bicycles for Humanity, a charity organization that will host an African Dinner and Silent Auction on Saturday, Oct. 1, at St. Garnier Church, to raise money to ship bikes to Ghana, Africa. Guest speakers will be  Jim Couper, Cindy Bourne and Jan Gattrell with the Nankama African Drum Troupe and African Décor provided by TTM Events. Tickets are $35 or two for $60. Charge by phone at 250-868-8254 or pick up at Tickle Trunk or at the church.

Birthdays of the week: Linda Willms (Sept. 21); Susan Downey, TAC Mobility (Sept. 24); Doug Mills, Ramada Hotel (Sept. 25); Charlie Styles, Daily Courier (Sept. 26); Laurel D’Andrea, Beyond 50 Magazine (Sept. 21).

Maxine DeHart is a Kelowna hotelier. Phone her at 250-979-4546, fax 250-860-3173, email


Kelowna Capital News