Schell: Vine to table at Little Straw in West Kelowna

Cozy and quaint, the Barrel Top Restaurant offers a great menu focusing on local cuisine.

Chef Trevor Mayhew takes a break at Little Straw Vineyards on the Westside.

The Slamka family really is the shining example of a family-run winery, located on the lower slopes of Mt Boucherie in West Kelowna.

There are two generations of them involved in this bustling business—from root to bottle and from wine shop to table, you are bound to meet at least a couple of members of this friendly family while visiting.

The three Slamka brothers Pete, Ric and Tim, along with their wives Lynn, Sue and Tina, wear various hats on the vineyard/winery as well as involving their children in the mix.

There are a few non-Slamkas in the crew, including chef Trevor Mayhew who is at the helm of the Barrel Top Restaurant located on the second floor of their wine shop.

Cozy and quaint, with indoor and outdoor patio tables looking over the vineyards onto Okanagan Lake, the Barrel Top offers a great menu focusing on local cuisine.

Incidentally, Trevor recently won Best Dish served at the local Spot Prawn Festival held at Manteo Resort this spring—quite an honour, especially given the competition on site.

Chef Mayhew comes to us from Alberta and is revelling in the creative, local cooking he can produce while living amongst the farmers.  Trevor says that he loves “cooking with fire”(hence the outdoor grill at the restaurant). His new passion has been using the grapevines to smoke various meats that really gives the cuisine a vineyard spin and also provides a good use for the clipped vines.

A former stand-up comedian, this chef will also be able to provide some great entertainment while dining—if he has time.

Taking off his chef hat between cooking times, winemaker Pete Slamka keeps Trevor busy in the cellar in training as assistant winemaker.

Recently, the Slamkas were thrilled by a surprise visit from Prime Minister Stephen Harper.  The Prime Minister made only one winery stop, other than Quails’ Gate Winery where his event was being held, and that was Little Straw Vineyards.  He picked up a couple of bottles of Tapestry to take home to Ottawa.

Little Straw Vineyards is located at 2815 Ourtoland Rd. in West Kelowna. Call 250-769-0404 or visit online at http://www.littlestraw.bc.ca.

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